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Maritime Fleets Tackle Fuel Consumption, GHG Emissions

SUMMERSIDE, P. E. I. - 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 Associa...


FOCUS ON FUEL: East Coast fleet managers gathered recently for the first Fuel Management Workshop hosted by an environmental group.
FOCUS ON FUEL: East Coast fleet managers gathered recently for the first Fuel Management Workshop hosted by an environmental group.

SUMMERSIDE, P. E. I. –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 its very first Fuel Management Workshop and discuss ways trucking companies can reduce their environmental footprint.

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 emissions. Speakers included: Oscar Telechea of Shaw Tracking who discussed how to use technology to measure the impact of fuel-saving devices and driver training; Jeff Bryan of Jeff Bryan Transport, Tom Easson of Easson’s Transport and Jean St. Onge of Midland Transport, who all took part in a panel discussion on reducing idle-time and speed; Yvonne Mallet of Midland Transport, who along with Easson and Mike Hopper of Armour Transportation, talked about driver training; and Bryan, St. Onge, John Brown of J. E. Brown Trucking and Hopper, who helped navigate the maze of add-on equipment and technology that’s available.

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 fuel-saving techniques and technologies themselves.

“This was our first foray into trucking,” Sue Doiran, HDDV fleet management coordinator with BBEMA, told Truck News. “It’s not a great time for the trucking industry, we know that. But it was a great fit and we had great partners, including all the mentor companies that worked on the project and were willing to take time out of their busy days and were more than willing to share their experiences.”

Smaller fleets in attendance benefited from the real-world advice shared by industry powerhouses, Doiran pointed out.

“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.

The event also featured a small trade show -or Technology Showcase -highlighting fuel-saving devices. However, Doiran pointed out “We didn’t want to push the technology, we wanted to focus on education and first-hand experiences.”

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 have 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 that is going to decide and control how efficiently he is going to operate the tool.”

The event was deemed a success, and the BBEMA says it plans to continue working with the trucking industry to promote environmentally-friendly transportation.

“We hope to do it again,” said Doiran. More info is available online on the Fleet Managers Workshop page of www.bbema.ca.Doiran says the Web site will receive continuous updates.


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