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Waste not, go green

Just this month we reported that Quebec is increasing the tax on diesel fuel sold in the province by 0.9 cents per litre as part of its plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. The so-called green tax...


Just this month we reported that Quebec is increasing the tax on diesel fuel sold in the province by 0.9 cents per litre as part of its plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. The so-called green tax is aimed at helping the province meet its Kyoto targets.

Expect more provinces to follow Quebec’s example with similar or other initiatives.

Even in the US, which refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol, states and municipalities fed up with president George Bush’s inept handling of the global warming issue are pressing ahead with their own greenhouse gas reduction initiatives.

The result over time will be a carbon-constrained economy and transportation will be a focal point.

Not only will there be pressure from government to reduce trucking’s GHG emissions but also from shippers. Energy efficiency and environmental impact are hot topics in the marketplace and will start to have an impact on the bottom line.

Companies who get aggressive with their “green” plans, get noticed.

A growing number of companies, however, are coming to realize that to achieve their environmental goals they need to look beyond their own facilities and analyze their environmental management in terms of the entire supply chain.

And, of course, the transport of raw materials and finished products to market, has too significant an impact on a supply chain’s footprint to be ignored.

This month Wal-Mart’s much-publicized supply chain scorecard, which will rate its supply chain suppliers according to their environmental impact, with poor performers at risk from being dropped by the world’s largest retailer, goes into effect.

It was only about a year ago that Wal-Mart and shipping supplier SCM, looking to reduce carbon emissions, changed how many products were delivered to 10 stores in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, from road to rail.

Trucking’s growth over the past two decades has been phenomenal. From 1990 to 2003, the amount of freight carried by the for-hire trucking industry grew nearly three times faster (75%) than all other modes combined. But its future growth will be jeopardized unless the industry can get a handle on its GHG emissions.

The first and easiest thing that can be addressed across the industry is idling. As Dr. James J. Eberhardt, director of the US Department of Energy, once said: “Idling a 500 hp engine to keep the cab warm or cool is tantamount to swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.”

Considering all the benefits and cost efficiencies provided by the anti-idling devices on the market (which we’ve written about at length for a few years now), it’s baffling to me why so many fleets and owner/operators continue to idle needlessly. (For an in-depth look at anti-idling equipment, see pg. 28).

Fleets and owner/operators that don’t start addressing their emissions not only are putting themselves at risk in a carbon- constrained marketplace, they’re giving the industry a black eye it does not deserve.

– Lou Smyrlis can be reached by phone at (416) 510-6881 or by e-mail at lou@TransportationMedia.ca.


Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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