May 15, 2006

Freight sustainability projects test innovative GHG reduction tools, technologies

Five projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the freight transportation sector will receive approximately $582,000 in federal support through Transport Canada's Freight Sustainability demonstration program. The initiatives range from enhancing the fuel efficiency of aircraft engines to the management of fuel consumption by trucking companies using a satellite tracking system. Companies receiving the funding include Freight Wing, Sunbury Transport, Jazz Air Limited Partnership, Polymer Distribution and Ronald A Chisholm.

"The companies awarded funding under this program have shown innovation and a willingness to experiment," said Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon. "The results have the potential to enhance not only our environment, but also the processes and equipment that we use in freight transportation every day."

Freight Wing is receiving $70,000 for a fleet trial program designed to demonstrate to Canadian trucking fleets the potential of aerodynamic trailer attachments to reduce fuel consumption. The attachments consist of two wind deflectors attached to the underside of trailers to prevent wind from hitting the rear wheels and one mounted on the front of the trailer that deflects the air around the trailer's flat face. Successful trials may lead to large-scale installations on participating fleets. The project will be carried out across Canada.

In Fredericton, New Brunswick, Sunbury Transport will use its $97,000 allocation to demonstrate the company's fuel efficiency on-line tool, a system designed to help its on-road fleet manage fuel consumption. Sunbury uses satellite tracking to gather data from the engine computer on each specially-equipped truck. Miles per gallon, idling time, inter-trip idling and other captured information is sent each week to a secure Web site where drivers can access personal performance data and compare that to the divisional averages and the top 25% of each fleet. The program aims to monitor fuel consumption, reduce GHG emissions and increase profitability by reducing fuel costs.

Jazz Air, working out of Halifax International Airport, will receive $115,000 to demonstrate the fuel efficiency potential of the Safe Flight Auto-Thrust system on two CRJ 200 aircraft. This technology will continually monitor the aircraft's thrust settings to ensure optimum performance and fuel savings. The demonstration expects to realize savings of 2% from Jazz Air's annual fuel operating budget. This represents a reduction of nearly ten million litres of fuel. If the demonstration is successful, Jazz intends to install this technology on 72 Jazz CRJ 200 aircraft.

Polymer Distribution (PDI), in Guelph, Ontario, will direct its $250,000 in funding toward a demonstration facility for intermodal rail shipping of food processing chemicals (e.g. vegetable oils, hydrochloric acid, food additives and food processing alcohol). The company aims to show shippers of food-grade chemicals that short-haul railways are an efficient, effective option for carrying cargo traditionally moved by truck. PDI calculates that its demonstration will take 7,200 trucks off Highway 401 with a corresponding reduction of approximately 3,500 tonnes of GHG emissions. The demonstration facility will be set up at the recently closed 14-acre Huntsman plant in Guelph. If the project is successful and shippers are willing to transfer products from truck transportation to rail cars on a long-term basis, a larger intermodal operation could be established in Guelph.

Ronald A Chisholm, a Toronto company, will receive $50,000 to demonstrate a Web-based traffic document system designed to generate shipping documents and associated logs so as to expedite the movement of food products among third-party truck, rail and ocean carriers, and storage, cross-dock and customs operators. The goal is to improve shipping documentation (i.e. bills of lading, various food quality and food safety procedures, and intermodal transit restrictions) to align as many part-loads of commodities as possible into each transporting unit and reduce fuel consumption and GHG emissions. Once implemented, this system would reduce transport border delays, ocean trips, and dead runs by 20% each, with corresponding reductions in fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.

These projects represent the eighth round of funding under the Freight Sustainability demonstration program, which supports the demonstration and evaluation of innovative tools, technologies and practices that have the potential to reduce the growth of GHG emissions from the freight transportation sector in Canada. To date, the program has provided some $4.7 million for 34 projects across Canada. Through it, the federal government contributes up to 50% of eligible project expenses, to a maximum of $250,000, with applicants and their partners contributing the remainder.

More information is available on the Transport Canada Web site, www.tc.gc.ca/FSDP.

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