|Transportation Initiative Delivers Vast Savings Potential|
|Written by Jim Azumano|
|Monday, 21 June 2010 14:40|
Catalyst Article: Transportation Initiative Delivers Vast Savings Potential
By Jim Azumano
NWFPA research shows that about 20 percent of its members’ truck miles are either LTLs (partial loads) or empty backhauls. A 10 percent reduction in these non-optimized truck loads would save Northwest food processing companies $160 million per year in transportation costs – the monetary equivalent of 64 million gallons of diesel fuel or 1.4 billion pounds of atmospheric carbon.
NWFPA is a nationally-recognized leader in energy efficiency. In March 2009, NWFPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Energy, committing Northwest food processors, as an industry, to a 25 percent reduction in energy intensity over the next 10 years.
As part of that effort, after a nationwide search for the best-qualified provider, NWFPA has initiated a partnership with Flow Logistics to create a logistics research program by and for food manufacturers to minimize empty backhauls and maximize LTL consolidations. The end product will be a simple-to-use online tool that will connect shipping managers at member companies with partners that can help them fill out partial loads, and to fill trucks that would otherwise be empty on their return trips.
The goal of the Transportation Initiative is simple: to respond to the membership’s desire to reduce their transportation costs by developing a program that will improve processors’ control over transportation costs, save energy, and be consistent with the industry’s goal of reducing food transportation energy intensity – the amount of transportation energy expended per pound of product made – by 25 percent over the next 10 years.
The Transportation Initiative also includes a substantial research component, exploring further ways to reduce our members’ transportation energy intensity. One of the most promising areas of study is truck idling. The average long-haul truck idles 5.9 hours per day – 34 percent of total engine run time – and uses 1,600 gallons of fuel per year while idling, primarily because the engine needs to be on to maintain cabin temperature and amenities while the driver rests. This project will also study ways to reduce engine idling, including the feasibility of increasing the availability of “shore power” connections at truck stops and rest areas to allow drivers to plug in rather than idle.
The design process for the transportation logistics tool is currently underway. The program will be beta-tested early in 2010, and should be available to our members by summer.
The Northwest Power & Conservation Council’s Sixth Power Plan single out conservation as the crucial energy priority for the region. It notes that conservation is the most cost-effective energy resource available and that its potential to create and protect local jobs is unrivalled.