Con-way Freight, Schneider National, others win EPA SmartWay awards

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Several carriers announced today, Oct. 7, that they received the 2008 Environmental Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Transport Partnership for their leadership in conserving energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Con-way Freight, Schneider National, Celadon, Covenant Transport and Watkins & Shepard Trucking were five of 27 organizations from among the partnership’s more than 1,000 partners to receive this distinction. The awards were announced at the annual conference of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals in Denver.

SmartWay was introduced by EPA in 2004 as an innovative market-based partnership to reduce fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants from the freight sector. Today, companies of all sizes – from Fortune 500 companies to family-owned businesses – all are working to improve their environmental performance.

Con-way Freight – an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based freight carrier – achieved its fuel conservation and environmental improvements through initiatives including utilization of special aerodynamic fairings to reduce wind resistance and improve fuel efficiency, specification of engine and drivetrain combinations that maximize fuel mileage, and the use of engine and transmission lubricants that improve operating efficiency. These efforts and others resulted in 2007 diesel fuel savings of 3,594,377 gallons, as well as reductions in carbon dioxide emissions of 601,928 tons, particulate matter emissions of 32.09 tons and nitrogen oxide emissions of 1,185 tons. Con-way Freight’s 8,400-tractor fleet traveled nearly 600 million miles during 2007. The company anticipates an increase in fuel savings for 2008, after lowering the speed governors on its fleet’s engines from 65 to 62 mph in March.

“Our participation in the SmartWay Transport Partnership is a key element of our enterprise-wide sustainability mission,” says John G. Labrie, president of Con-way Freight. “This important program has helped us identify and adopt practices and technologies that support our strong commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of our business. Through SmartWay, we have also been able to achieve significant fuel savings, which benefits both the environment and our bottom-line results.”

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Schneider National has pledged to integrate fuel-saving and pollution-control technologies and strategies into its fleet and intermodal operations. To that end, Schneider says it continues to search for operating enhancements and new technologies to further improve its carbon footprint and environmental performance. In 2008, Schneider once again led the industry’s sustainability efforts by voluntarily slowing its fleet to 60 mph; this effort is the equivalent of taking 7,259 cars off the nation’s highways, saving an additional 3.75 million gallons of diesel fuel and eliminating 83.25 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually. The company also utilizes intermodal transport whenever feasible to further reduce fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

“Today Schneider has the most energy-efficient fleet on the road and works with the most energy-efficient rail providers,” says Steve Matheys, executive vice president of global commercial services for Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider National. “Our long and progressive environmental performance record is due in large part to our enterprise-wide commitment to innovation, testing and building equipment for the greatest energy efficiency. Our emission reduction results lead the industry, and our efforts not only reduce our carbon footprint but also help us remain competitive in the marketplace.”

Since joining the SmartWay program in 2005, Celadon says it has improved its fuel efficiency by 25 percent and reduced carbon dioxide emissions per truck by 40 percent; the CO2 reduction was made in spite of the fact that Celadon’s fleet actually grew by 520 trucks during that time. “In a challenging operating environment, we have invested heavily in our business to reduce fuel consumption and air pollutants,” says Steve Russell, chairman and chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon. “We are proud to see that this effort has been recognized by SmartWay.”

Celadon, which in April earned the top score awarded by EPA for freight carriers that participate in the SmartWay program, says its SmartWay initiatives include the following equipment changes:

  • Installation of auxiliary air heaters on trucks to eliminate the engine’s need to idle in cold weather;
  • Equipping trucks and trailers with the most fuel-efficient tires available on the market;
  • Accelerating new truck purchases planned for the next two years, all of which include EPA-compliant engines in SmartWay-certified trucks;
  • Recalibrating new engines to produce less than 30 grams of nitrogen oxide at an idle;
  • Shortening trailer-to-tractor gaps to minimize aerodynamic drag;
  • Use of synthetic lubricants in all transmissions and differentials to minimize friction; and
  • Reduction in maximum road speed for the entire fleet.
  • Covenant Transport says it adopted several fuel-saving technologies, including the use of the latest aerodynamic and engine packages, auxiliary power units and speed management to save 3,415,289 gallons of fuel, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 310,173 tons, and generate $9,836,032 in savings.

    “Covenant Transport is pleased to receive a SmartWay Excellence Award,” says Joey Hogan, president of the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company. “Our associates and drivers deserve a great deal of credit for being innovative and committed to this important program. Through adopting best practices in technology, equipment and procedures, as well as enthusiastic advocacy of the SmartWay program through our marketing efforts, Covenant is committed for the long term to the mission of SmartWay.”

    Watkins & Shepard Trucking says it adopted several fuel-saving technologies; purchased newer, more efficient equipment; and developed strategies and driver incentive programs that function in synergy to save fuel, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and generate savings. “Improving fleet mileage is just good business,” says Jim Lewis, director of truckload operations. “It is not only important to the environment, but important to the bottom line. Watkins & Shepard wants to be a successful trucking company and also a good neighbor concerned about the health and well-being of our population. We are proud to be an industry leader in emission and fuel efficiency study and implementation, and hope to leave a healthy environment for our employees’ children and grandchildren. We are proud to be a SmartWay partner.”

    Ray Kuntz, Watkins & Shepard Trucking CEO and and current chairman of the American Trucking Associations, says the company has invested in the latest fuel-saving technologies, including auxiliary power units and super single tires, and also has cooperated and asked for its drivers’ input. “Driver habits have a huge impact on improving MPG, and our drivers have stepped up to the plate,” Kuntz says. “We also invest considerable time with new drivers in our driver training program in Missoula, Montana, teaching fuel-saving driver techniques. New drivers that understand the importance of fuel efficiency from the moment they take the wheel are more likely to conserve fuel and reduce carbon emissions. I am proud of our success in the EPA SmartWay program and encourage more businesses to join. Together we can reduce carbon emissions, burn less fuel and reduce our impact on the environment for future generations.”

    Through the SmartWay Partnership, companies are conserving almost 600 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, saving the trucking industry at least $2.5 billion in annual fuel and maintenance costs and eliminating an estimated 6.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. By 2012, the SmartWay program, with full industry participation, estimates that it will achieve nationwide annual fuel savings of 3.3 to 6.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel, eliminating 33 to 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and up to 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions.

    The 23 other 2008 Environmental Excellence Award winners:

    Freight carriers:
    American Central Transport Inc.
    Challenger Motor Freight Inc.
    Dillon Transport Inc.
    Gordon Trucking Inc.
    J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
    Pacific Harbor Line Inc.
    Roehl Transport Inc.
    Stan Koch & Sons Trucking
    Swift Transportation Co.
    Trailer Bridge Inc.

    Kohl’s Department Stores
    Kimberly-Clark Corp.
    Lowe’s Cos. Inc.
    Sharp Electronics Corp.

    Logistics companies:
    APL Logistics
    Hub Group Inc.

    Cascade Sierra Solutions