Sunday, May 11, 2008

Green Logistics: Easier Than You Think

From Logistics Management:

Green logistics: Con-way Truckload turns back speed governors

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor -- Logistics Management, 5/8/2008

JOPLIN, Mo.—As part of a company-wide sustainability initiative, Con-way Inc. subsidiary Con-way Truckload announced it has turned back speed governors on its 2,700-tractor fleet from 70 to 65 miles per hour.
This news follows a March announcement made by Con-way Freight, Con-way’s less-than-truckload (LTL) unit, when the company said it turned back the speed governors on its 8,400-tractor fleet from 65 to 62 miles per hour.
Con-way said that lowering its maximum highway speed has the potential to save the company 2.8 million tons of diesel fuel per year and reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 62 million pounds. It added that this savings represents the equivalent of removing 6,300 passenger cars from U.S. highways.
Con-way Director of Corporate Communications Gary Frantz told LM that fuel conservation and reduction of carbon footprint are the main drivers for this endeavor.
“This is the single most [significant] operational change we can make that will reduce carbon emissions from the fleet,” said Frantz. “It's in line with our overall corporate sustainability initiative.”
He noted that Con-way Truckload started this process in January. And given the nature of the operation, with trucks out on the road weeks at a time, he explained that it took several months for the company to cycle tractors back into its maintenance facilities to make the change to the trucks.
Con-way Truckload completed the speed governor change for all 2,700 trucks in its fleet on April 30. Frantz commented that Con-way Freight was able to make the change in this fleet quicker, because their trucks come back to a service center daily.
And at a time when reducing carbon footprints and fuel conservation are becoming more and more important, Frantz said that reducing truck speed is vital for shippers—as well as something that shippers are requesting.
“Leveraging a transportation partner that is actively taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint and conserve fuel [is key for shippers],” said Frantz. “We are part of their supply chain; the services we provide in moving their goods contribute to their carbon footprint. Where we can take steps that reduce our carbon footprint, our customers can apply that to carbon footprint calculations of their supply chain as well, for their goods which we move on their behalf. Also, fuel is the biggest component of operating costs for Truckload carriers. Where we can reduce and more effectively manager this cost it helps improve the financial stability and viability of the carrier. That's a plus for the shipper as well.”
While Frantz disclosed that this endeavor will help Con-way Truckload better manage its fuel costs by improving fuel economy by about three-tenths of a mile per gallon, he could not say that it will have an impact on its overall rate base, given the extraordinary and unprecedented rise in fuel prices.
“In most cases with customers rates are negotiated at a specific level and include a particular ‘ceiling’ for price of fuel,” said Frantz. “When fuel prices exceed that ceiling a fuel surcharge kicks in. Carriers cannot absorb these escalating fuel costs.”

Green is good for your bottom line: Driving slower saves fuel, saving fuel prevents pollution and saves money. If only there was leadership that would reduce the speed limit to 55 MPH like the previous energy crisis.

Con-way owns a 76,400 SF building at 13364 Marlay in Fontana.

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