Fleets say SmartWay boosts fleet efficiency, can be selling point to customers

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Updated May 7, 2014

sec-sw-wideFor 10 years now, EPA’s SmartWay has been looking for ways to save fuel, reduce costs and emissions for both carriers and shippers, and it has seen explosive growth since inception.

In 2003 SmartWay had 15 partner companies and launched in 2004 with 50 partners, which has helped push innovations and technologies led by shippers and carriers.

“It isn’t just EPA saying ‘You should do these things.’,” Tracie Jackson Hall, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said Tuesday at a panel discussion at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

Since 2004, SmartWay has added 3,000 partners, including the Top 100 U.S. truck carriers, and has saved 51 million metric tons of CO2 — the equivalent of 10 million cars being pulled off the road for a year, Hall says.

Drew Cullen, Vice President Fuels and Environmental Affairs for Penske, says his company serves as somewhat of an ambassador for SmartWay, helping its customers who are looking to integrate green technologies, having recently consulted with a customer to help them reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to electricity usage of 20 homes for a year.

Benefits of SmartWay partnership are two kinds of green: Reducing a fleet’s carbon footprint and providing a sales tool to win new business.

“(SmartWay partnership) gives you the ability to be recognized as a company who is taking these (environmental) issues seriously, and be recognized by shippers as a company who is taking these issues seriously,” Hall says.

Chip Dorger, General Manager for Letica Resources, oversees 500 trucks with nearly 30,000 deliveries annually and says his company integrated a SmartWay partnership in 2013 as part of its overall green initiative.

“When our sales folks (go out on sales calls), they’re actually showing up in a hybrid car,” he says. “That’s how far we take it.”

Letica used its SmartWay partnership in the field as a sales tool and won business to a supplier with the nation’s largest retailer by developing a lightweight square container to replace an inefficient round container, which allowed 33 percent more product on a 53 foot trailer.

The switch in shipping containers saved more than 42,000 miles of transportation and 70 tons of CO2 emissions.

Blair Chikasuye, Global Logistics Environment Manager for Hewlett-Packard, says the company has set a goal of 20 percent emission reduction by 2020 and, as part of that plan, will only use carriers who are SmartWay partners to ship its more than one million products globally to more than 170 counties daily.

Internally, HP is working to reduce the size and weight of shipments, decrease the distance products travel by looking at warehousing and location, and shift toward environmentally friendly transport modes.

Chikasuye says every 60 seconds, HP ships 105 PCs, 88 printers, 880 ink and toner cartridges and seven servers. With that kind of volume, Chikasuye says it was critically important to HP to partner with SmartWay fleets to stand out in the PC marketplace.

Since 2008, HP has used only SmartWay carriers. It’s also moving in the direction of natural gas trucks on West Coast hubs and has joined similar initiatives in Europe and Asia.

And just as fleets use their green efforts to win business from shippers, HP has used its SmartWay partnership to sell itself to potential customers.

“It’s really been a differentiating in the marketplace for HP,” he says of using SmartWay carriers. Chikasuye says customers often see HP products as mostly similar to its peers and can make a buying decision based on how green the company is in manufacturing the product and getting it to the end user.

The future for SmartWay, according to Hall, will include multimodal, full supply chain accounting, global leadership and integration into business decision making.

“Our next frontier is looking at the complete supply chain,” Hall says. “The key to us doing that is really engaging…with other countries who have learned about SmartWay and see it as the short way to address these issues abroad.”