Ryder System, Inc., a provider of commercial transportation and supply chain management solutions, has secured lease agreements for 87 heavy-duty natural gas trucks from customers looking to take advantage of the fuel cost savings and environmental benefits of alternative fuel powered vehicles. 65 of those vehicles are part of Ryder’s natural gas fleet in Southern California, made available through the Ryder/San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) Natural Gas Vehicle project.
As the fleet partner of the SANBAG project, the Company has also been able to expand its alternative fuel program outside of California and has already secured a lease agreement with customer, Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc., for 22 natural gas vehicles in Arizona. The vehicles, scheduled for delivery before year-end, are part of a strategic alternative fuel program at Golden Eagle focused on reducing transportation-generated emissions and reducing fuel costs.
“This initial order is a first step in converting our entire fleet to natural gas,” said Bill Osteen, Senior Vice President of Business Operations for Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. “After evaluating a number of different alternative fuels, we determined that compressed natural gas made the most sense for our operation. Not only is it a cleaner fuel, but we also expect to see real fuel cost savings over time.”
“We are hearing from many customers who are interested in taking advantage of the cost-saving and environmental benefits of natural of gas,” said Ryder’s Sanchez. “We are committed to being a leader in providing flexible solutions that enable companies to successfully implement alternative fuel programs in their commercial truck operations – it is sustainability made simple.”
Three more customers who have already exercised that choice are Dean Foods, Mohawk Industries and CEVA:
Deans Foods is a dairy processor and owner of one of the largest refrigerated direct-store delivery distribution networks in the food and beverage industry. It was also the first customer to take up leased vehicles as part of the Ryder-SANBAG agreement. The company has leased five natural gas fuelled delivery trucks, the first trucks of this type in its fleet of 3,000 refrigerated delivery trucks and 2,000 delivery tractors. Dean Foods has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 20% by 2013.
Mohawk Industries, a flooring supplier for residential and commercial applications with one of the largest fleets in the U.S., has leased five liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors to support its day-to-day customer delivery operations in Southern California. The vehicles, to be delivered in July, will be serviced out of Ryder’s maintenance facility in Fontana, CA.
Stan Brooks, director of Transportation for Mohawk Industries said, “We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and with diesel fuel prices continuing to rise, the timing was right to start testing the value of natural gas vehicles in our fleet.”
CEVA, a supply chain company, will be taking delivery of two LNG tractors. The vehicles will be used to support a customer operation in Southern California.
“Our lease and maintenance offering makes it easy for customers to incorporate new vehicle technologies, like natural gas, into their fleets,” stated Robert Sanchez, president of Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder.
The Ryder/SANBAG project is part of a joint public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments, Southern California Association of Governments, and Ryder. The $38.7 million project includes a total of 202 natural gas vehicles available for lease or rent, three strategically located natural gas compliant maintenance shops in Rancho Dominguez, Orange, and Fontana, and two fueling stations. Ryder took delivery of 70 vehicles in May and is expected to have the balance of the full 202 SANBAG natural gas vehicle order in its fleet by the end of 2011.
This article compiled using information from a Ryder System, Inc., press release.