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Couriers need to band together to reduce cost of going green

TORONTO, Ont. - Transportation can have a positive impact on the environment if service providers commit to implementing new technologies and the time to start doing so is now, according to Robert Joh...


COSTLY TECHNOLOGY: Robert Johnson, president and CEO of Purolator shows off one of the company's hybrid delivery trucks.

COSTLY TECHNOLOGY: Robert Johnson, president and CEO of Purolator shows off one of the company's hybrid delivery trucks.


TORONTO, Ont. – Transportation can have a positive impact on the environment if service providers commit to implementing new technologies and the time to start doing so is now, according to Robert Johnson, president and CEO, Purolator Courier Ltd.

After analyzing the environmental impacts of its operations and services, Purolator identified fleet fuel usage and vehicle air emissions as the best way to reduce its environmental footprint.

It made a start on its stated vision to operate an entire fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles and lead the industry to a future standard of zero emissions by introducing 10 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to downtown Toronto in May of this year.

“We are proud to be the first Canadian courier company to begin the transition to hybrid electric vehicles to our fleet and are excited to deploy an additional 20 hybrid electric vehicles to other metropolitan areas throughout Canada.

“This past spring, Purolator also introduced a fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle as well as one of the first ever complete hydrogen fuel cell applications in a Canadian fleet environment, including everything from hydrogen generation and refuelling to the power module,” Johnson told the Canadian Courier and Messenger Association conference in October.

Since deploying the HEVs Purolator has already accumulated more than 30,000 kilometres of in-service mileage with the curb-side delivery vans.

“The HEVs have proven capable of eliminating up to 50 per cent of greenhouse gasses currently emitted by conventional gasoline/diesel delivery vehicles, and significantly reduce fossil fuel emissions,” Johnson said. He added that reduction of fossil fuel use is averaging about 50 per cent, a benefit which the likely volatility of future fuel prices make more and more attractive.

In fact, Purolator has been so impressed by the results, according to Johnson, it recently announced a commitment to order an additional 115 HEVs from Azure Dynamics – the largest order of its kind in the delivery industry. These will be integrated into Purolator’s fleet in major urban centres in Canada. Deliveries of the first vehicles will begin in 2006.

“Given the millions of kilometres Purolator vehicles cover each year filling customer orders, this bold and industry-leading initiative will cut dependency on fossil fuel, reduce pollutants and make a significant difference to urban areas where air pollution is a serious issue. But we don’t want to do it alone,” Johnson stressed.

He urged other couriers to invest in such or similar initiatives.

“The vehicles today have a greater capital cost than conventional gas-powered vehicles. However, the more demand, the lower the unit costs will become as production achieves economies of scale,” Johnson reasoned.

He also urged the CCMA to become involved in researching green alternatives for fleets or lobby the government to introduce incentives for environmentally-friendly fleets.

“We believe that a strong commitment to the environment is a direction that all businesses should be going in the future,” Johnson said.


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