Theatre Green Book PRODUCTIONS Toolkit – Touring and Co-production


Guidance on Freight

With thanks to Complicité and the members of the Touring Committee for producing this guidance.


Freight emissions calculator

Keuhne + Nagel have a sea-freight carbon calculator:

•        Intro page

•         Tool

Gallery Climate Coalition have quite a few resources on their website (as part of their Sustainable Sea Freight Campaign):

Sea Freight

  • Although sea freight is a fraction of the carbon footprint of air freight, it requires a minimum volume of a shipping container or half size container
  • However, you don’t have to fill a whole container.  You can take half or just a small part of a shared container*. Consider combining loads with other companies traveling to the same event or festival.  This will save cost and reduce your carbon footprint.

*requires a single carnet for whole container

  • Develop networks with similar companies who do similar touring models.
  • Discuss route with freighting agent.  Can you minimise road travel at either end?
  • Be aware that sea freight requires large lead-in time, movement is slower, and customs clearance can cause delays.
  • When on a tight timeline between two shows, consider creating two versions of the show to be slow-shipped to two different countries rather than air freighting between them.  On long tours, the leapfrogging of sets can reduce cost and emissions. However NB you also need to consider the impact of building two sets.

Road Freight

  • Ensure you (or your freight company) are using the latest compliant Euro 6 trucks.   
  • If possible, ask your freight company for their sustainability policy, and maintenance schedules. Are their drivers trained in fuel efficiency? Talking to them about your values and green plans will encourage them to take action.  Look for companies that have already started to electrify their fleet.    Even if they don’t have enough trucks for you to use, you are supporting their ambition. 
  • Can you investigate sharing the load with another company or using back loads to save CO2 and money.  This involves developing networks with similar companies.
  • Long term planning helps to ensure that journeys between venues are direct and logical rather than backwards and forwards over the same territory. Can the venue take hold of the set early to avoid unnecessary trips to storage?
  • Touring your own loads by road mean you don’t need to invest in a large amount of packing and are in control of the safety of your own kit.

  • Since Brexit, many restrictions have been placed on UK companies transporting goods into the EU.  There is a limit to how many moves you can make and length of stay (cabotage), amongst other restrictions.

Many freight companies have got around this by creating branches in the EU. 

  • Be aware that there will be more customs checks to go through as you travel through continents and therefore more time may need to be built into the schedule to allow for this. 
  • Loads leaving the UK can either travel under an ATA Carnet or be subject to import/export charges. 
  • Grouped loads (freight forwarding), although slower than a dedicated vehicle can reduce footprint. Be aware that it is not possible to have only part of a load travel under an ATA carnet.

Guidance on traveling in EU post Brexit  

Driving/hiring your own vehicle

  • Always use the smallest van possible.  The footprint of a vehicle can rise substantially as you get larger.
  • Use an electric or hybrid vehicle if possible.  It is becoming easier to find hybrid vehicles to hire.
  • Ensure your drivers have done fuel efficiency training – this has been proven to save money and emissions.   
  • Reduce idling time.
  • Plan your journeys in advance and make sure you are taking the most direct routes.
  • Keep weight to a minimum – if possible, obtain heavy objects locally.
  • Plan ahead to design a lightweight set which is easy to pack down.
  • Ensure you maintain the vehicle well.  Properly inflated tyres can save fuel and increase mileage.
  • If traveling outside of UK ,a lot of the restrictions above apply even with a self-drive van of 3.5T (transit size). Any vehicle bigger requires an operator’s license.