‘Green’ truckers have a new home on the Web

by Adam Ledlow

LONDON, Ont. – After reading a recent article in The Economist about the book, The 100-Mile Diet, Chris Henry found that a hunger to be socially conscious had started inside him. The book talks about the pressure on retailers to buy locally (within a 100-mile radius to be exact) and it got Henry thinking about what kind of impact such environmentally-friendly actions would have on the transportation industry.

As general manger for London, Ont.-based NAL Path Insurance, a broker that caters specifically to truckers, Henry has a heightened awareness of the plight of the average truck driver, including the constant pressure for drivers to drive “green.” But when scouring the Web for a centralized source for such environmentally-friendly information for truckers, Henry came up empty-handed. From government regulations to emission standards to fuel saving tips, the information was certainly out there, but it just couldn’t be found all in one spot. So organizers at NAL Path decided to fill the gap with greentrucker.com.

“The mandate is to get as much information as possible about new technologies (and) government standards. Basically, it’s not just the big fleets that can get a hold of this information; all the little guys can get it too, so they can kind of have a leg up on the competition,” Henry says.

The Web site boasts content from a number of sources, including government agencies, manufacturers and links to trade magazine Web sites, like trucknews.com. Henry says a number of manufacturers have said they will be looking to provide more customized material for the site, “so they can get into more details instead of just regurgitating what they have.”

By accumulating information from a variety of sources, Henry says greentrucker.com is aiming to be an unbiased resource for truckers.

In the future, Henry says the site will be introducing a discussion forum and a blog area and is also hoping to provide industry commentary from various trucking associations and environmentalists. As well, the site is currently working to create a comparison spreadsheet between recently or soon-to-be released technologies. For example, one comparison chart will explore hybrid technology and outline the potential return on investment and payback time.

With environmental issues on the lips of numerous political and industry-related figures, Henry says the timing of greentrucker.com couldn’t be better.

“We’ve always prided ourselves in being proactive when it comes to industry issues that we can affect,” he says. “The goal for the site is to get larger and (increase) awareness in Canada regarding these issues that we will be facing. I don’t think it’s a question of ‘if,’ it’s going to be ‘when.’ Our goal is for everyone to be aware.”

But Henry stresses that it’s important for drivers to not only be aware of the issues, but also adapt appropriately to them in the hopes of benefiting both the environment and the bottom line.

“Right now, you hear a lot of customers for the trucking companies saying, ‘We’re doing our part to be green.’ One of the things that these truckers or these fleets can do is call them on that (and) say, ‘Well, we’re adapting new technology and it’s not going to be about price per mile anymore; it’s going to be about doing the right social thing.’ So they can actually say, ‘We’re different from our competitors in the fact that we’re offering this new socially responsible form of transportation which could be these hybrid models. So let’s stop talking about pricing; let’s actually profit from this by being the first ones to adapt,'” Henry says.

For more information visit greentrucker.com.

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