COLUMN-Better route planning cuts fuel use in freight sector: Kemp

Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:59am EDT
 
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By John Kemp

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. distributors and freight hauliers have held down diesel consumption even as their business recovers from recession by making thousands of small changes to their operations.

Improved driver training, restrictions on idling and careful route planning to reduce deadheads (where vehicles travel empty) are all reducing consumption of expensive diesel while helping companies promote their green credentials.

"In 2011, we achieved almost 69 percent improvement in fleet efficiency over our 2005 baseline," Wal-Mart boasted in its 2012 Global Responsibility Report. "We delivered 65 million more cases, while driving 28 million fewer miles, by increasing our pallets per trailer and better managing our routes."

"Our network efficiency improvement equates to avoiding nearly 41,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent to taking 7,900 cars off the road," the company wrote.

In 2013, FedEx will have improved the fuel efficiency of its U.S vehicle fleet by 22 percent compared with 2005, Chairman Frederick Smith said at CERA Week. It has surpassed its previous goal of a 20 percent improvement by 2020 seven years early. Smith has now committed the company to an even more ambitious 30 percent target for the global vehicle fleet by the end of the decade.

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U.S. fuel consumption   Continued...