Schneider National working to create diesel fuel supply chain

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Schneider National announced Tuesday, Sept. 6 that it is working with FEMA, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Navy to create a critical diesel supply chain needed to fuel emergency vehicles and generators being used for hurricane rescue and relief efforts in the greater New Orleans area.

Diesel is essential for running emergency vehicles, heavy-duty trucks and generators that are providing power to command posts, hospitals and nursing homes. All are critical to the ongoing rescue and relief efforts.

On Sunday, Sept. 4, three Schneider National bulk tanker trucks were part of a police-led caravan to the Port of New Orleans, where a U.S. tanker containing diesel fuel is docked. Crews are siphoning diesel fuel from the freighter, then transporting loads to nine to 12 base camps in and around the greater New Orleans area. Government agencies have asked Schneider to provide drivers, supervision and dispatch for this effort for the next 30 days, with possible extensions.

The operation is unique for Schneider as the company doesn’t typically transport fuel. According to company spokesperson Janet Bonkowski, 75 percent of the company’s bulk volume is classified as nonhazardous.

“It is safe to say we have not done anything like this in recent memory, including some of the more recent (9-11, Hurricane Ivan) disaster efforts we’ve been involved in,” Bonkowski said. “The magnitude of this disaster and desire to do what we can to support rescue and relief efforts motivated our associates to figure out how we could logistically do this and then made it happen.”

According to Schneider personnel on the ground in Louisiana, the real heroes of this effort are the company drivers who volunteered for the assignment. “All we could tell them was bring water and clean socks, and be prepared to be out for up to two weeks,” Bowkowski said. “Their response? ‘Sign me up.'”

Schneider was contacted by the federal agencies late last week to assist in creating a diesel fuel supply chain in the impacted areas. The mission is a two-phased operation: The first leg was to supply bulk trucks, tankers and drivers to transport fuel from the Port of Louisiana to base camps. The second leg of the mission was for Schneider to secure as many diesel storage containers as possible to accept the diesel being delivered to the base camps.

Schneider was able to secure 24 450-gallon stainless steel totes to meet this request, borrowing the totes from Nalco Company in Garyville, La., one of Schneider’s largest bulk customers.