With an objective to tackle climate change, it's little wonder the trucking industry caught the attention of environmental group the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association (BBEMA). However, rather than condemning the industry for its contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the organization decided to work with the industry to host the very first Fuel Management Workshop.
With the help of the P. E. I. Trucking Sector Council, the group staged a full-day workshop May 7 to explore various ways truck fleets can reduce their fuel consumption, thus lessening their carbon footprint.
In many cases, it was an instance of the big, successful motor carriers sharing their best practices with smaller truck fleets which may not have the resources to test all fuel-saving techniques and technologies themselves.
Smaller fleets in attendance benefited from the real-world advice shared by industry powerhouses, said Sue Doiran, HDDV fleet management coordinator with BBEMA.
"These companies provided truthful accounts of real-life experiences, information that companies greatly valued and needed before making the decision of implementing costly changes into their businesses," she said.
The entire spectrum of the trucking industry was represented, from the giants like Armour Transportation right on down to individual drivers and owner/operators. Participants came from across the Maritimes and even as far west as Ontario, according to organizers.
Central to the Technology Showcase was a demonstration of EPA2010-compliant trucks and engines, which are virtually smog-free. At the end of the day, however, Doiran said the main message was that driver education is the most effective way of improving fuel economy and reducing emissions.
"The biggest factor in relation to the whole fuel management issue was unanimous and repeated itself throughout the day, and this was educating the driver," she said. "As great as technology is, the greatest impact we can make is to make the driver more efficient. The truck that he drives is just the tool that he uses. It is the operator at the end of the day who is going to decide and control how efficiently he is going to operate the tool."