Packaging design, fill rate and road freight decarbonisation: a literature review and a future research agenda

Salman Ahmad*, Dhanan Sarwo Utomo, Pratyush Dadhich, Philip Greening

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


With growing concerns about freight transport emissions, it has become imperative to find ways to improve packaging fill rate that increases vehicle utilisation efficiency. The purpose of this review is to identify and evaluate interventions aimed to improve space utilisation at various levels of packaging in freight transport operations. A systematic literature review is conducted covering publications in peer-reviewed academic journals. A critical analysis explores each intervention, its application domain, along with economic, environmental and logistics implications. There is a lack of research focusing on interventions to improve the packaging fill rate in academic journals. The retail sector undertakes more packaging-related improvements compared to the industrial sector. Of the three packaging levels, more focus is given to the secondary (distribution) level design improvements in comparison to the other two. Primary (customer) level packaging is predisposed to marketing function whereas tertiary (transport) level is inclined towards the use of standardised packaging items. Our study presents a library of interventions that packaging practitioners could use to improve the packaging and vehicle fill efficiency. Our work is the first attempt to systematically identify, evaluate and categorise packaging intervention to improve fill rate that can reduce the economic and environmental impact of logistics operations. Also, this study provides recommendations for future research in the field of packaging design and logistics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100066
JournalCleaner Logistics and Supply Chain
Early online date24 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022


  • logistics
  • load factor
  • packaging redesign
  • sustainable packaging
  • carbon emissions


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