SmartWay program expands into Canada

Thousands of trucking companies across Canada and the United States are partners of the SmartWay Transport Partnership. This partnership is a public/private collaboration between Natural Resources Canada, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the freight transportation industry that helps freight shippers, carriers, and logistics companies improve fuel-efficiency and save money.  It is here, it is free, and if you have not checked it out, you should!

“In terms of the trucking sector, SmartWay gives fleet managers a sense of how their fleets compare to their competitors and how they can improve their fuel efficiency,” said Manjit Kerr-Upal, Chief, SmartWay, Natural Resources Canada.

Benefits to Canadian truck carriers registering with SmartWay are many:

– they will be able to reduce operating costs and emissions;

– attract business from SmartWay shippers;

– benchmark themselves against trucking companies with similar fleets;

– track and improve fuel efficiency;

– and make a positive contribution to corporate culture.
To register, carriers can download the SmartWay Truck Tool, complete it with data on their fleet activities and operations, and submit it to Natural Resources Canada.

SmartWay Canada is currently focusing on motor carriers, logistics providers, and shippers.  However, SmartWay will eventually include the freight transportation sector as a whole. Tools for the marine, rail and aviation sectors are planned for the future. 

The SmartWay Transport Partnership was developed with industry for industry.  This long standing tradition will continue as SmartWay expands into these new sectors, said Natural Resources Canada.

The Canadian program is the same as the U.S.’s. The only differences are that in Canada, the measurement units are metric and all material is available in English and French. The Partner List includes companies from both Canada and the U.S. regardless of which country they register in. This list is posted on both the EPA and NRCan websites.

Describing his experience with the SmartWay program, Gaétan Aubin, IT Manager and Compliance Officer with L’Express du Midi Inc., said it allows the company to make comparisons and to have a sense of their fuel consumption, and where the highs and lows occur.

It’s also become a metric that more and more clients are asking for, he said.

He wouldn’t make any modifications to the tools and makes good use of the guide in which he has underlined a lot of the information.

 “After a while we got a handle on how the program was set up and it’s pretty straightforward now,”  said Aubin.

Chad MacKay is in charge of fuel management at Seafood Express, which came to the SmartWay program via the company’s involvement with the EcoEnergy for Fleets program.

“Registering took a little longer the first time because I was still fairly green. This year it took an hour at the most. I sat in on a call with their (SmartWay’s) tech team. They were asking me similar questions regarding changes. I didn’t find the system that hard to navigate through but the only thing that threw us off was the metric system as our measurements were in feet,” he said.

Benefits of the program, he said, are increased knowledge around fuel efficiency and performance monitoring.

“SmartWay opened up a few more areas of where to look for improvements. We’re trying to implement a rewards program for idling-we started slow with gift cards and small items of clothing. Once we get it all pieced together we’re looking at the possibility of some monetary options,” said MacKay.

Having the SmartWay tools in place offers an easier way of keeping track of things, he said.

“We did have quite a few career truckers who had never been monitored before. Now we post a weekly report of miles per gallon and idle time-this has created a little bit of a culture. We’re getting a lot of feedback from drivers on things they’d like to see implemented. I’d like to see everyone get on board with it,” he said.

“Everyone seems to be talking SmartWay, fuel efficiency, idling, so it’s kind of created a culture.”

Lew Davis, Safety & Compliance, and Mike MacDonald, Operations Analyst, with Skelton Truck Lines Ltd., said that the benefit of a program like SmartWay is it’s like the ISO standard: it’s a symbol that shows what you do as a fleet and it’s recognizable to customers.

Truck Lines Ltd. has long been actively involved in environmental initiatives in order to be as efficient as possible.

“Nowadays it has also become a common question in the bidding process, whether or not the fleet is involved with SmartWay,” they said.

With a lot of long-term customer relationships already established at the company, Davis and MacDonald said that it’s important for the Skelton customer base to know when they are deciding what carrier to use who is really putting the effort into it, and “SmartWay distinguishes that you are making this effort. When you first see the info it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the webinar walks you through the tool, and the partner account managers are very helpful, and you can contact them either by phone or e-mail,” they added.

Once Skelton has implemented its new dispatch software system it will be easier to complete the tool, MacDonald added.

The company is also in the process of adding aerodynamic devices to trailers so improvements will be ongoing.

“It took about a week of gathering info and calculating it. This was perhaps a little longer because we didn’t have that info electronically available in terms of revenue/km and empty miles. If there was also a way to focus on and reward people for better maintenance of the trucks as well as cleanliness and appearance it would be good for industry as well,” he said of the SmartWay program. Each year’s submission of Skelton will demonstrate, in real numbers, the actual improvements in fuel efficiency as a result of their initiatives and investments.

“From a Canadian standpoint, SmartWay is doing a great job – it takes a bit of time to get a handle on things and roll things out correctly,” he said.

“In 2008 environmental issues took a back seat to the economic crisis, but now the concentration is back again and SmartWay is definitely something worth doing. Like with the Canada’s Best Managed Companies criteria, there’s a point where you want to drive everyone to do this. You want to make sure the standard is high in the industry,” added Davis.

Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada (now part of  The Supply Chain Management Association or SCMA), has been working with Natural Resources Canada for almost a year to generate visibility for the SmartWay program in Canada, said executive director Alison Toscano.

“Through a series of case studies and events, we have connected with many companies in transportation and 3PL.  There is a high level of adoption of technologies and focus on driver training shown by industry leaders.  These companies have not only realized substantial fuel savings, but have also reduced their GHG emissions,” she said.

If you are interested in fuel efficiency, getting your company apart from your competitors, understanding how your fleets compare, check out SmartWay.

To register or to learn more, contact the SmartWay team at:


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