- THE MAGAZINE
Ryder System Inc. has announced that Blu., an operator of liquefied natural gas (LNG) refueling stations and provider of LNG technology solutions, has selected Ryder to provide LNG vehicles for Blu. fleets in Utah and Georgia. This represents the first time Ryder has partnered with a fuel station operator to launch a natural gas vehicle offering.
“This unique partnership demonstrates Ryder’s commitment to finding innovative ways to increase adoption of natural gas vehicle technology among commercial fleets,” stated Dennis Cooke, president, global fleet management solutions for Ryder. “We have successfully implemented a number of different models for launching natural gas vehicle projects — from public/private partnerships to working directly with private fleets. Collaborating with a fuel station operator like Blu. is one more way we are helping customers overcome entry barriers, test the technology, understand the economics, and experience the cost saving and environmental benefits of running a natural gas fleet.”
Blu. has signed a Full Service Lease agreement with Ryder for 30 LNG tractors in Salt Lake City and 25 LNG tractors in Atlanta as part of an effort to increase adoption of natural gas vehicles among commercial fleets in those markets. These are Ryder’s first natural gas vehicle projects in Utah and Georgia.
Blu. began to take delivery of vehicles in September for its Salt Lake City fleet and will take delivery of vehicles for its Atlanta fleet in January. Blu. will make natural gas vehicles available to companies in these markets that are interested in testing the LNG trucks in their fleets for a first-hand opportunity to measure the results and savings that come from adopting a lower-cost fuel.
Ryder is making investments to upgrade its existing maintenance facilities, one in Salt Lake City and one at its Fulton Industrial Center location outside of Atlanta, to meet the unique specifications required to service natural gas vehicles.
Ryder and Blu. have also entered into an agreement to jointly provide LNG fueling infrastructure at key Ryder facilities. The Fulton Industrial Center location will be the first of these co-located stations, supporting Ryder’s contract customers and will accept all major fleet cards.
Ryder System also announced that it has been selected by Saddle Creek Logistics Services for a natural gas vehicle solution in two markets. With the agreement, Saddle Creek will lease 31 heavy duty compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles from Ryder.
Thirty of the CNG vehicles will run in the Dallas/Fort Worth region and be maintained by Ryder at its Fort Worth service facility, which is being upgraded to meet the unique compliance requirements for natural gas. One vehicle will operate in Saddle Creek’s Shreveport, La., delivery fleet and be maintained at Ryder’s existing natural gas vehicle maintenance facility in that city.
With natural gas vehicles already available for lease and rent in California, Arizona, Michigan, New York, and Louisiana, Ryder now adds Texas as its newest market with a natural gas vehicle maintenance capability.
“Ryder is leveraging its leadership in natural gas to make it as easy as possible for customers to implement sustainable transportation solutions that also enable them to realize meaningful cost-savings and efficiencies,” said Ryder President of Global Fleet Management Solutions, Dennis Cooke. “When businesses want the most experience, knowledge, and expertise in natural gas vehicle solutions, they turn to Ryder.”
Saddle Creek will take delivery of the new CNG vehicles during the first quarter of 2014. The CNG vehicles are part of a strategic initiative by Saddle Creek to reduce its carbon footprint and control fuel costs. The company already has more than 100 CNG tractors in its fleet of 430 vehicles, making it one of the largest CNG over the road tractor fleet in operation in the country. Saddle Creek also invested in its own fueling station at its Lakeland, Florida headquarters.
“Saddle Creek’s environmentally friendly CNG program has enabled us to be extremely successful in supporting our customers’ sustainability efforts. We are excited to expand our CNG capabilities to the Dallas/Ft. Worth market with the help of leased tractors and maintenance from Ryder,” said Saddle Creek President, Mike DelBovo. “Because this is such a leading-edge technology, relationships like the one we have established with Ryder are critical to our success.”
The natural gas vehicles are being made available through Ryder’s participation in the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program (TNGVGP), funded by the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) initiatives and administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).