Multinational transport and logistics provider AsstrA Associated Traffic AG has completed initial testing of its brand new methane-powered Scania G340 truck. During its first two weeks on the job, the truck carried shipments for the AsstrA’s largest customer between Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Between March 3 and 15 of this year, the eco-friendly truck covered 700 km per day for a total of 9,071 km and 6 roundtrips. Testing results showed efficient fuel economy that cut costs by 50%. Rated ecologic class Euro-6, the Scania OC09 102 engine runs on methane and emits 31% less CO2 and 36% less CO. Particulate matter emissions are 5 times lower, and in comparison with the diesel-powered Euro-5 Scania DC13 103, NOx levels are an impressive 11 times lower.
“AsstrA is actively working to reduce pollution. There is a company-wide plan to implement special environmental care initiatives. One of these initiatives is the acquisition of safe and eco-friendly transport vehicles. Our policy will help us respond to the needs of clients who make environmental care a key consideration when choosing distributors,” says Oleg Grebenko, transport general manager at AsstrA.
The new, eco-friendly truck was tested around the clock, 24/7. The average trip length was 700 km one-way and lasted approximately 10-11 hours, or up to 13 hours in case of traffic jams. For a driver it takes almost 6 hours at each terminal to load and unload the truck. The entire roundtrip takes between 36-40 hours. Allowing 3 days a month for any necessary repairs or maintenance and factoring in bank holidays and time for loading, it is possible to make an estimated 13 roundtrips per month from Moscow to Saint Petersburg and back again.
In recent years, environmental protection has become a hot issue in the retail and supply sector. Global corporations have taken significant steps toward making the industry more environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and sustainable. For those who care about the planet’s future, compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vehicles are more than an investment in lower fuel costs – they are also a first step towards greener processes at every step of the supply chain, from manufacturer to carrier and retailer to customer. It will take eco-aware policies from all players to achieve meaningful, industry-wide results.
Along with proven fuel economy and eco-friendliness, the use of CNG-powered vehicles also entails certain risks. For example, unexpected delays may arise while locating gas stations, few of which are equipped to serve methane-powered trucks. Normally, the truck gets around 400 km to a full tank. For one roundtrip between Moscow and Saint Petersburg it is therefore necessary to plan 6 stops for gas. In case of force-majeure situations like gas shortages or power outages at any of the pre-chosen gas stations, the truck driver’s only resort would be to wait until the station’s problem is solved.
For improved efficiency, a methane-powered truck’s range can be improved to 700 – 800 km by fitting an additional 700 liter gas tank, thereby allowing completion of the Moscow – Saint Petersburg route with only one fuel stop.
Heavy lift transport presents another challenge to the eco-friendly truck, as 20-22 tons of cargo would be too much for its G340 power engine.
Cost-efficiency over time
Purchase price is a key factor when choosing logistics vehicles, and as of March 2017 the methane-powered truck costs up to 20.000 - 25.000 EUR more than a diesel-powered equivalent. Superior fuel economy, however, makes it possible to recoup the difference in only one year of effective use, with more profits accruing in later years.
Europe leads the way in sustainability
AsstrA’s research suggests that heightened European demand is driving a shift toward methane-powered trucks in logistics, as Western companies are establishing best practices for sustainability. Thus, eco-innovation has been one of the key priorities designated for the use of European Union Structural and Investment Funds, and an initiative called Europe 2020 promotes eco-friendly business processes. AsstrA’s success with a methane-powered truck in Russia could easily be replicated in any other European country. More easily, in fact, due to the greater number of gas stations serving methane-powered vehicles.
In Europe there are more than 3,064 CNG stations, with 1,046 in Italy, 867 in Germany, 154 in Sweden, 165 in Austria, 148 in the Czech Republic, 136 in Switzerland, 130 in the Netherlands, and 115 in Bulgaria. Full listings are available on an interactive map located here.
Green logistics are expanding rapidly within Western Europe, mainly in response to customer demand. A growing number of heavyweight logistics service consumers with green policies aim to work with appropriately eco-conscious providers. AsstrA is proud to be among the first such global logistics suppliers offering its customers modern and eco-innovative ways to cut fuel costs and reduce harmful emissions.