FREDERICTON, N. B. -New Brunswick-based carrier Sunbury Transport is giving a leg up to both its owner/operators and the environment with the latest initiative from its Sunbury Goes Green strategy. In...
HELPING OUT: Minister of Environment Roland Mache (left) and Minister of Transportation Denis Landry (right) present Sunbury's vice-president of transportation, John Murphy, with a cheque for $675,000 to fund the installation of APUs in Sunbury's owner/operator fleet and the launch of a trailer skirt pilot program.
FREDERICTON, N. B. -New Brunswick-based carrier Sunbury Transport is giving a leg up to both its owner/operators and the environment with the latest initiative from its Sunbury Goes Green strategy. In 2008, Sunbury, comprised of more than 220 owner/operators and 70 company tractors, will be installing Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) in its O/O fleet in an effort to eliminate the idle time associated with in-cab climate control. The $475,000 in funding needed to pay for the installation will be provided by the New Brunswick Climate Change Action Fund (NBCCAF) according to a report by the Telegraph-Journal.
Paul Murphy, general manager of Sunbury, says there are three main reasons why the company decided to start the program with the owner/operators: to help the O/Os to become environmentallyfriendly and more fuel efficient (the capital cost to purchase APUs was the main barrier preventing owners from installing the units); the reduction of idle time within the owner/op fleet will result in a greater reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than in the company tractors; and the move will help improve the financial health of Sunbury’s owner/operators by decreasing their fuel costs. The company’s green plan calls for the installation of APUs in the entire fleet over the next three to five years.
“It is our intention to substantially subsidize the cost to install APUs on Sunbury owner/operator tractors,” Murphy told Truck News. “It is a win-win situation for Sunbury owner/operators and the environment.”
Programs like the current APU installation initiative are nothing new for green-minded Sunbury, which has had an active fuel management program in place for both company drivers and owner/operators since the mid-90s.
“The great thing with fuel efficiency programs is that they not only reduce GHG emissions but also decrease cost,” Murphy says. “The first program we implemented was the installation of on-board fuel management systems. From there we were able to develop training and incentive programs to encourage owners and company drivers to improve fuel efficiency.”
In addition to the nearly half million dollars needed to fund the APU program, the NBCCAF will also be shelling out an extra $200,000 to help Sunbury conduct a pilot program which will explore the benefits and difficulties of operating a van trailer fleet equipped with aerodynamic skirts.
“Not only do we want to determine fuel savings, but also identify any potential operating and maintenance concerns. We will be working closely with the OEMs to resolve potential damage issues due to winter operating conditions,” Murphy says.
Sunbury is also spearheading two other environmentally-minded programs. The first, currently underway, has the company hauling about 60 long combination vehicles (LCVs) from Saint John, N. B. to Dieppe, N. B., amid discussions with the New Brunswick Department of Transportation staff to expand LCV use across the province.
Sunbury also has plans to conduct a pilot program to determine the benefits of super-single wide-base tires now that the New Brunswick government has okayed their use on a permit basis.
The carrier’s ecological pursuits have not gone unnoticed. Sunbury won the Repair the Air Award Fleet Challenge from the Canadian Department of the Environment in 2005 for its Idle Time Challenge program, which resulted in a 50% reduction in idle time with Sunbury’s owner/ operator fleet. And just last year, Sunbury was awarded the New Brunswick Minister of Environment’s Environmental Leadership Award in the business category to recognize the company’s outstanding leadership displayed in fuel management and GHG reductions. The driving factors behind that award were the LCV trials between Saint John, N. B. and Dieppe, N. B. (which resulted in the elimination of over 1,800 truck loads, with no safety incidents); the company’s use of APUs and hydrogen injection systems; and the implementation and development of an extensive fuel awareness and training program.
Sunbury’s initiatives have not only been widely praised by the community but also by Sunbury staff, both in-house and on-the-road.
“Everyone can clearly see the positive impact our strategy is having on the environment,” Murphy says. “Not only are we improving the environment for our children, we are also helping improve the financial performance of the individual owner/operators within Sunbury. We are very pleased to be able to use the resources we have within Sunbury to assist owners in becoming more environmentallyfriendly by equipping them with auxiliary power units. The cornerstone of our green strategy is to partner with government, OEMs and our on-road associates to continue testing and trialing green technologies.”