One logistics company is leading the way on environmental performance, reducing emissions by up to 60 per cent operating dual fuel vehicles, running on biogas
If the UK is to meet its European carbon reduction targets, Howard Tenens believes the logistics sector has a vital role to play. Setting out to lead the industry in environmental best practice – specifically in low-carbon transport – the family-owned logistics firm argues that cutting emissions makes financial sense, too.
Focusing on fuel efficiency, Howard Tenens has long been at the forefront of technical innovation, implementing initiatives such as telematics, aerodynamics and double-deck trailers. But in order to transform environmental performance, they realised that rather more radical thinking was required. Namely, the vehicles themselves, or the fuel their engines run on – or both – would have to change.
Research was carried out into all road transport fuels, such as biodiesel, hybrid, hydrogen and fuel cell and it was soon confirmed that natural gas was the only readily available lower carbon alternative suitable for HGVs. In 2009, working closely with manufacturers, the company began rolling out the first of the 24 (so far) dual fuel vehicles across their fleet.
The vehicles burn a mixture of diesel and compressed natural gas but the ambition of replacing natural gas with bio-methane (a renewable gas produced from organic waste), will slash emissions by an impressive 60 per cent. Carbon monoxide will be reduced by 98 per cent and exhaust noise cut by three decibels. The company expects to save 650 tonnes of carbon in the first full year of operating these vehicles.
A solution that offered payback within the operational life of the vehicle was imperative. The lower rate of duty means that the price of compressed natural gas (CNG) is currently lower than diesel, providing a return on investment within the three to five year life of the trucks. Howard Tenens also installed gas- refuelling stations at their Andover, Boston and London depots (the latter two are grid-connected), with access to them now being offered so that others can purchase or lease gas vehicles without the high cost of refuelling infrastructure.
“It is a real honour to be here not only in the frontline of the haulage industry but to hear about the innovations in fuel and vehicle technology,” said Mike Penning, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, on a recent visit to one of the company’s sites. “Howard Tenens is clearly setting the trends for the way forward.”
In business for more than half a century, Howard Tenens also won the Coca-Cola Enterprises’ corporate responsibility and sustainability supplier award in 2009. Presenting the award, John Brock, CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, said: “This recognises Howard Tenens’ considerable achievements in helping us to reduce our CO2 emissions, through trialling gas-fuelled vehicles, and also in developing a new sustainable warehouse.”
Managing logistics contracts across various market segments including food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, retail, automotive, clothing, paper products and irregular freight, Howard Tenens has long developed an understanding of the unique pressures their customers face – particularly in the current economic climate. That’s why improving environmental performance makes sense, as it drives efficiencies in managing cost and therefore delivers tangible financial benefits.
Passion for excellence
“Freeing up our customers’ time to concentrate on their business, leaving the management of their supply chain to us, has delivered cost savings of up to 25 per cent for some,” says Ben Morris, managing director of operations at Howard Tenens.
“Our passion for excellence and an uncompromising commitment to delivering outstanding customer service and a sustainable environmental performance are the driving forces behind everything we do.”
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