How green is green when it comes to enviromental issues and dedication to those issues? Is the size of that so-called carbon foot print what it appears? While it can be a mixed bag, what is certain is that truckers are being affected by changes and polices.
For example, one of the biggest changes coming sooner than we may think is noted by Doug Stoiber, vice president of L&M Transportation Services, based in Raliegh, NC.
The LMTS executive states, “Within the next couple of years we’re going to see a whole lot more trucks switching from diesel fuel to liquid natural gas and compressed natural gas. That is going to have an impact on the environment and sustainability and fuel costs.”
Currently the fuel delivery industry in playing catch up, he notes, in developing the infrastructure to service natural gas trucks. Stoiber points out truck manufacturers are lining up to purchase the the new 12 liter Cummins natural gas engine.
Jimmy DeMatteis, president of Des Moines Truck in Norwalk, IA agrees.
“I’m seeing more natural gas trucks, It’s supposed to burn cleaner than diesel engines that are five years and older,” he says, “and are certainly burning cleaner than the seven years before that.”
But there’s another side to the “green” issue that often doesn’t receive the attention.
As the president of Cool Runnings LLC in Kenosha, WI, Fred Plosky makes an observation about the produce industry and how it sometimes approaches transportation from an envirnomental stand point.
“…their (produce) buying intiative isn’t nessarily in agreement with their corporate initiative,” Plotsky observes.
For example, he had a couple of customers that requires Cool Runnings to be a part of Smartway, a voluntary environmental program for trucking.
“While they are saying you need to be a part of Smartway and you need to watch your carbon foot print, they don’t run their business that way,” Plotsky relates.
A Cool Runnings hired truck has had to run an extra 100 miles out of route to pick up nine packages of fruit, because the buyer was wanting to buy the fruit direct (from the shipper) and save money.
“The buyer won’t consolidate this to two pick ups in the same town and then buy those nine boxes off the street (from a wholesaler) in Chicago for an extra $3 a box, as opposed to routing the truck and paying $255 for going up (to the shed) , $55 for the pick up and paying $310 more for those nine boxes. What does that do for your carbon foot print?” Plotsky asks.
Kenny Lund, vice president of the Allen Lund Co. in LaCanada, CA says another anti-environmental policy relates to each state having a different fuel blend. He says this is “killing the refineries” and there needs to be a national fuel blend when the conversion is made twice a year for summer and winter weather.
“There is something like 28 different fuel blends across the U.S.,” Lund states. “You have got refineries serving multiple states. They have to shut down production and reformulate it. That just drives up the cost for everyone.”
Lund recalls a trucker who said it best when it comes to the rules and regulations affecting transportation.
“You have got a lot of people making regulations for the trucks that have never been inside a truck.”