Commercial transportation, logistics and supply chain management solutions company Ryder System, Inc., has finalized an agreement to lease 25 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, a leading grocery retailer. The CNG vehicles are the first of their kind in the Fresh & Easy fleet and have been made available through Ryder’s agreement with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) in Southern California.
The $38.7 million Ryder/SANBAG project is part of a public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the Southern California Association of Governments Clean Cities Coalition, and Ryder System, Inc. The project includes 202 heavy duty natural gas vehicles, upgrades to three maintenance facilities for the proper servicing of natural gas vehicles, and the construction of two fueling stations.
Fresh & Easy operates 176 grocery stores in California, Arizona and Nevada and relies on a total fleet of 71 vehicles managed by Ryder to support store deliveries from its Riverside, California distribution center. The first 15 CNG vehicles, using Freightliner M2-112 tractors, were delivered to Fresh & Easy in July and the balance will be delivered in October. On completion of delivery more than a third of the fleet will operate on CNG.
“We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment, and incorporating natural gas vehicles into our fleet is a natural step to help us reduce emissions even further,” said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. “Ryder has been an excellent partner in this effort, supporting our efforts to save our customers money and to be a good neighbor.”
Natural gas vehicles produce 20 to 30 percent less emissions than comparable diesel vehicles. In addition, natural gas costs as much as 42 percent less per equivalent gallon of diesel based on current diesel fuel prices.
“When we can reduce our operating costs through more efficient transportation technologies like natural gas, we can pass those savings on to our customers,” continued Mr. Mason. “This natural gas vehicle initiative directly supports our efforts to offer fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices.”
“Offering a natural gas vehicle solution to our logistics customers is an innovative and efficient option to execute their supply chain movements. It enables them to not only lower transportation costs and increase efficiency, but also has clear and measurable benefits for reduced emissions,” stated John Sonia, Ryder’s senior vice president of operations for Dedicated Contract Carriage solutions. “Today’s complex supply chains require unwavering operational excellence, and this new vehicle technology enables our clients to transition their fleets without compromising that in any way, with the added environmental benefits of natural gas.”
(This article compiled using information from a Ryder System, Inc. press release.)