Continental Tire North America, Inc. (“Continental”) has officially exceeded its goal of increased compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership in only its first year of participation.
Continental first joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership in June 2008 as a Shipper Partner, committing to reduce its environmental impacts from ground freight transportation. In joining the partnership, Continental agreed to use the Freight Logistics Environmental and Energy Tracking (FLEET) Performance Model for Shippers to quantify its environmental performance level. Continental was then required to maintain a score of at least 0.5 within the FLEET Performance Model.
Continental’s initial goal within the partnership was to achieve a FLEET Performance Model score of at least 0.95 within three years of joining the SmartWay Transport Partnership, said Dominique Lacroix, director of supply chain operations. However, Continental found that at the end of its first year of partnership, after shipping more than 24 million tires to NAFTA countries, it had already achieved a score of 1.14 out of a maximum of 1.25. The score was verified by the EPA in June 2009.
“Exceeding our compliance goal with the SmartWay Transport Partnership means that Continental is doing its part to reduce air pollution and the environmental impacts from our supply chain operations,” Lacroix said.
“We made it a consideration of the carrier selection process that fleets operate as SmartWay Transport Carriers when considering bids, and encouraged carriers within our existing base who were not already a part of the SmartWay program to join. In doing so, we have achieved our goal to have the majority of our tire products shipped within these environmentally sensitive guidelines.”
Lacroix said Continental makes an effort to spread the word to its carriers about the environmental impacts of reducing greenhouse gases as part of its corporate social responsibility principles. Its largest carrier, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. of Thomasville, N.C., joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership as a Transport Carrier in 2008.
“As a progressive leader in the LTL industry and a SmartWay partner we considered it our duty to align ourselves with SmartWay. The SmartWay guidelines have given us a path to follow to improve the efficiency of our fleet while making the environment cleaner for our customers, employees and their families,” said Ed Richardson, Old Dominion Freight Line’s vice president of equipment and maintenance.
The SmartWay Transport Partnership aims to save between 3.3 and 6.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year by 2012, which is the equivalent of removing 12 million passenger cars from the road. In order to achieve this reduction, SmartWay Transport Carriers pledge to implement idle reduction strategies, improve aerodynamics, use advanced freight logistics practices, reduce vehicle and equipment weights, implement driver training and use SmartWay verified fuel efficient technologies including wide base and low rolling resistant tires.
Continental complements its goals as a shipper partner as a manufacturer of SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires, including the HSL2 steer tire, the HDL Eco Plus drive tire and the HTL Eco Plus trailer tire. Its new HTL1 super single trailer tire has been submitted to SmartWay for inclusion on the list of low rolling resistance tires and is awaiting official verification.
“When you combine Continental’s commitments to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions within our own supply chain with our advances in engineering that produce our low rolling resistance tires, we are truly proud of our achievements in reducing our environmental footprint,” said Clif Armstrong, director of commercial vehicle tire marketing for Continental – The Americas.
“Our responsibility for minimizing our impact on the environment is an important part of our corporate values. It extends over the entire lifecycle of a tire, from sourcing our rubber through renewable raw materials to engineering a more fuel-efficient truck tire product, then using shipping partners who have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gases and air pollution,” Armstrong said.