Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gas Powered Freight Trucks Make Road Haulage Logistics Cleaner and Efficient

Another Major Order to Clean Up the Urban Environment
Shipping News Feature
US – Slowly but surely the intention to present an environmental face to the world is becoming ever more important to most mainstream companies. Logistics and road haulage providers have made strides to reduce emission levels and goods producers also feel the need to go green, as the latest move from Manhattan Beer Distributors shows, with the company’s purchase of 35 more compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered Volvo VNM 200 model tractors for its New York City fleet. The model was chosen due to having the durability of a Class 8 model paired with the manoeuvrability necessary for urban deliveries.

Founded in 1978 by CEO Simon Bergson, who also served as the company’s first salesman and truck driver, Manhattan Beer Distributors delivers beer and other beverages throughout New York City. Manhattan Beer bought its first trucks powered by CNG in 2002. Today, the company operates 110 CNG-powered trucks in a total fleet of more than 500, which are predominantly medium-duty straight trucks. Juan Corcino, director of fleet operations for Manhattan Beer commented on the latest additions saying:

“Drivers love them, our Volvo dealer (the Milea Truck Group) is very reliable, and we have a very good relationship [and] we are doing what we think is the right thing to do, CNG is the biggest part of our efforts in going green.”

Manhattan Beer has however taken other steps to be environmentally friendly, including installing solar panels on buildings at its Bronx headquarters, LED lighting in its facilities and by eliminating almost all paper in daily operations. Meanwhile Volvo offers a website guide to its alternative fuel solutions.

Corcino pointed out that his company’s New York neighbourhood is home to the Hunts Point Produce Market, the world’s largest wholesale produce market. Due to heavy truck traffic related to the market, various government agencies have focused on improving air quality in the Hunts Point area. Keeping the air clean and healthy in the South Bronx is one reason Manhattan Beer has been so committed to environmental care.

Other factors in the choice of vehicle were the quietness of the ride and the reduced workload for drivers. CNG vehicles free the operator from the operation and maintenance of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems. While productivity benefits of the new VNM 200 models are not related to CNG power, they do help Manhattan Beer to reduce traffic whilst ‘going green’. Corcino said the company can replace two diesel-powered straight trucks with each CNG-powered tractor it buys.

Manhattan Beer’s new Volvo models do therefore improve the company’s freight efficiency. The company is using its single rear axle Volvo VNM 200 tractors with trailers that have 16 beverage bays to replace straight trucks with 10 beverage bays. In New York City, straight trucks are limited to 35 feet in length while combinations can run 55 feet. Manhattan Beer cannot cover a typical route with a single straight truck, but it can with a combination. The company specified the tractors with single rear axles to provide maximum manoeuvrability in challenging New York City distribution routes.

Although the benefits of natural gas were enough to justify the investment in CNG, Juan Corcino said financial incentives have helped with the transition. Manhattan Beer has received funding in the past through the Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program. The purchase of the 35 Volvo VNM 200 models was supported by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s New York Truck - Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP), a partnership between NYSERDA, the New York State Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Transportation and CALSTART, a not-for-profit organization that promotes clean transportation technology and administers the NYT-VIP program. NYT-VIP helped cover the incremental costs of the first 25 of the 35 Volvo VNM 200 models.