Blogs, topical advice, and thoughts from experienced logistics industry advisers

Delegates at FTA’s series of Transport Manager conferences have been given food for thought by Martin Flach, Product Director of the events’ headline sponsor Iveco, when he claimed that running an HGV on natural gas could save them up to 40 per cent in fuel costs.

Revealing that 40 per cent of the total cost of fleet ownership is fuel and AdBlue, Flach said, “Everybody worries about purchasing and financing but really you should be worrying about fuel and AdBlue.”

He argued that the annual average fuel costs for a truck to cover 100,000 miles is £44,000, based on the assumption of nine miles per gallon and a contract price of 87 pence per litre for diesel. Flach said, “If you can save one per cent on fuel that’s £440. If the fuel price goes up that’s fuel savings of £500 a year.”

Iveco has spent a lot of time and effort on saving fuel. This includes reducing friction in the engine, low viscosity oils and anti-idling functions. Other features include an alternator, air compressor and steering pump that only run when they need to.

Together with smart EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) for improved combustion, Flach claimed that all of these modifications can give you anything up to a 5.4 per cent saving on fuel.

Iveco has also installed a predictive driving system called High Cruise, linking GPS to cruise control. Flach said smaller engines working harder could achieve much faster rear axle ratios to keep the engine revs down, while on tyres the key point was to fit quality.

With all the technology they had, Flach maintained that with the right operation, you can save 10 per cent on your fuel, worth around £4,400.

Fuelling change
Taking delegates through a history of fuel, from wood in the 1700s to diesel in the 1930, Flach said, “In more recent years, natural gas is a fuel which has become available for commercial vehicles, and now we’re looking at not just natural gas but biomethane as well.”

Arguing that the replacement fuel has to be something that is as good as diesel, Flach said Iveco has examined all the alternatives: hybrids, hydrogen, CNG, biodiesel, ethanol and electric.

Fuel efficiency? It’s a gas
The one that really works for Iveco is natural gas, partly because of its diverse applications. “We can use it in urban environments, regional environments, light off road, and with Liquid Natural Gas long-haul,” Flach said.

While not new technology, Flach said the beauty of natural gas as a fuel is not only cost, but its air quality benefits too. He said, “NOx particulates are way better than diesel and CO2 emissions using fossil natural gas are about 10 per cent better than diesel. If you use a biomethane then you’re getting up to 80-90 per cent better.”

Iveco offers a nine-litre natural gas engine with 400 horsepower, the same power and torque that you get with a diesel engine. Flach said, “We’ve optimised the layout to get as much gas on as possible so you get the longest range possible. We can do LNG we can do CNG, we can do a mixture of the two where that works.”

The other advantage with natural gas is the simplicity of the technology, which Flach contrasted favourably with “the huge chemistry set” of a Euro VI diesel engine. He said, “The argument is natural gas, no EGR, no SCR, no AdBlue, no particulate filter, no post injection, really simple technology. It gives a very clean solution, a very economic solution and a very safe solution.”

And the cost savings? Assuming the contract price of a litre of diesel is 87 pence and the price of a kilo of natural gas is 64 pence, you achieve a 25 per cent saving on a kilo of gas compared to a litre of diesel, and you save about 15 per cent in kilos against litres. Flach concluded, “You end up with something in the region of 30-40 per cent of fuel saving costs against the diesel vehicle.”
Read more insights from Matt Harrington, Editor of our monthly magazine, Freight & Logistics. The magazine is free to FTA members or available to purchase via subscription to non-members.

Posted: 09/01/2017 13:45:21 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Freight Carbon Review

As 2016 draws to a close, FTA awaits the Department for Transport's Freight Carbon Review response. Earlier this year, Government conducted an in-depth study into how the freight sector can contribute to reducing carbon emissions by 2032. FTA was heavily involved in the review and submitted a detailed response to officials which relied on crucial evidence from the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme. The scheme shows that year on year, companies that join the LCRS perform better when it comes to carbon reduction than industry as a whole. We look forward to seeing the recommendations from Government and hope that we can continue to work with the Department on boosting opportunities for freight to decarbonise.

Funding for greener trucks

The Low Carbon Truck Trial drew to a close this year and we await the final report from the trial which will examine the results and conclude what carbon savings were made from utilising gas and used cooking oil in trucks. The trial supported thirteen projects helping to fund over 350 trucks and around 20 refuelling stations.
In order to invest in greener fuels and technologies our sector needs support due to higher costs and lack of infrastructure. In early 2017, we will see the announcement of winning applications for grants from a 24 million fund for low emission logistics projects.

New Government Emissions Reduction Plan

We await a new Emissions Reduction Plan from Government by the end of the year. This will replace the Carbon Plan of 2011. This plan covers every sector and all Government departments and brings together policy thinking on how the UK will meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets. It will certainly make interesting reading and will give us a good indication of what is expected from the freight sector.


FTA continues to promote the LCRS supported by Industry Partner: Bridgestone UK Ltd. It is a free voluntary initiative to record, report and reduce carbon emissions. If you have not already joined, find out more.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 06/12/2016 14:03:47 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Helping industry decarbonise

Never has there been more pressure on the road freight industry to focus on reducing carbon emissions and helping to improve air quality. The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (SRF) is a unique collaboration between Cambridge and Heriot Watt Universities and the freight industry to help make road freight economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Set up in 2012 with a major five-year grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Centre has developed a comprehensive research programme.

FTA is a consortium member of the SRF and recently took part in the Centre’s first press briefing alongside other partners to publicise the success of the programme to date. The event provided an insight into the Centre’s research and its impact on helping industry to decarbonise. As research is set by consortium members, the Centre seeks to answer the relevant questions that industry needs to know. Projects have focused on aerodynamics, dual-fuel HGV research and eco-driver training to name but a few.

The SRF has also launched a web-based support tool to help operators decide on the best measures to save fuel and carbon emissions within their fleet. Known as the SRF Optimiser, it is free to use and models the effects of 29 carbon reduction measures including driver behaviour, use of aerodynamics and using alternative fuels. The tool aims to give tailored advice to operators whatever their size of fleet. It will also complement FTA's Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme.

As the Department for Transport (DfT) plans to publish its Freight Carbon Review by the end of the year, it is great to have a research centre exclusively focused on projects to assess how freight can decarbonise.

Find out more information about the SRF
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 22/11/2016 14:28:15 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Monthly engineering blog sponsored by Texaco.

While ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) has yet to publish its next level specification requirements, future legislation is likely to demand better fuel efficiency to meet more stringent emissions controls. One way to make an engine more fuel efficient is to make it more thermally efficient, but what are the potential issues surrounding this development?

When an engine runs at a hotter temperature, so does the oil lubricating it, making protection more challenging. To combat this, next generation lower High Temp High Shear products will need to tread a fine line between the legislator’s desire for improvements in fuel economy and the levels of component protection and long engine life expected by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and operators.

In addition, oils with lower High Temp High Shear viscosity, open up concerns about backwards compatibility in older engines.

With PC-11 coming into force in North America at the end of 2016 are we likely to see the introduction of two diesel engine oil standards at the same time as per API CK-4 and FA-4? Commercial Marketing Manager at Chevron, Dave Spence, thinks that is unlikely but a new lower High Temp High Shear specification will be added. “Oil compatibility issues will require fleet managers to be more knowledgeable than with past categories. We are likely to see an increased fragmentation of oil types, necessitating stricter adherence to OEM recommendations than in previous generations.”

But, says Spence, “while this may appear confusing initially, it brings with it greater opportunities than ever before to lower costs and emissions by sourcing the right product for individual applications.”

To find out more on Texaco visit
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 12/09/2016 14:50:12 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

LCRS receives endorsement from Transport Minister

Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP has expressed support for FTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS). The scheme is a great way for members to reduce both fuel and carbon. The Minister notes that “LCRS members are making significantly better progress in reducing emissions than the industry as a whole.” Over the last few months, FTA has been responding to Government’s Freight Carbon Review which is assessing how our industry is reducing carbon emissions. The Minister added that “we remain committed to working with the sector to identify industry-led solutions to reducing carbon emissions” which is great news for members. Read the letter here.

The Minister was writing in response to receiving the FTA’s Logistics Carbon Review 2016 (incorporating the sixth annual report of the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme).

If you haven’t joined the LCRS and are looking to reduce fuel and carbon, you can find out more here. 

HGV Accreditation Scheme to help save fuel and carbon

Adopting operational efficiency measures is crucial for any operator to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon. FTA is supporting a new programme developed by LowCVP that can boost the introduction of lower carbon, fuel saving commercial vehicle technology.

The initiative aims to help operators that currently don’t have a ‘go-to’ source of reliable and impartial information about low carbon, fuel saving retrofit technologies.

An accurate and representative procedure has been developed so that equipment manufacturers or vehicle operators can conduct independent tests to validate the impact on fuel consumption and emissions of their retrofit technology for hgvs and vans – such as low rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic additions, or engine efficiency technology.

It’s been developed with support from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Department for Transport and key partners include Horiba Mira, Millbrook, TRL, Michelin, Stobart Group, Mercedes Truck, Transport for London and Transport KTN.

By giving our members confidence to invest in technologies that have been independently tested and proven to deliver fuel savings, the accreditation scheme has the potential to help the sector to contribute to climate change targets and reduce air pollutants.

RiverRidge Recycling, NI's First Organisation commits to Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme

Waste management company, RiverRidge Recycling, has become Northern Ireland's first company to join FTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS) demonstrating its commitment to reducing carbon from road freight.

Stephen Thompson, Transport Manager at RiverRidge Recycling comments, ‘RiverRidge Recycling is extremely proud to be the first Northern Ireland company to join the LCRS. Not only is this a great achievement, but it is a great testament to how strongly we value our Corporate Social Responsibility. Our fleet covers most of Northern Ireland and we acknowledge the carbon emissions created by our road vehicles. This initiative will help us to achieve carbon reduction in the most innovative and efficient way possible.'

It’s great to have RiverRidge Recycling’s support for the LCRS and I would encourage other organisations to join the scheme. This will help them to manage their freight carbon emissions whilst ensuring that we can continue to take a voluntary approach to carbon reduction without the need for Government regulation.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 02/09/2016 15:05:20 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments