Saddle Creek, Clean Energy ink ten-year strategic partnership agreement
March 26, 2012 - LM Editorial
Third-party logistics (3PL) services provider Saddle Creek Corp. and Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America, announced late last week they have inked a ten-year strategic partnership agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Clean Energy will build natural gas fueling stations at existing Saddle Creek locations that will fuel Saddle Creek’s natural gas-powered motor fleet.
Saddle Creek is very active on the natural gas and sustainability front. In March, it completed construction on a $2.2 million compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at its Lakeland, Fla.-based headquarters, which will be used to power its CNG fleet.
This station, said Clean Energy, is designed to fuel up to 120 CNG trucks per day and it is equipped with four fast-fill pumps and 20 time-fill hoses. Clean Energy added that other filling station sites under consideration for development include locations in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Dallas.
And in September Saddle Creek announced it invested in 40 Freightliner natural gas trucks for its for-hire fleet. These Freightliner Business Class M2 112 tractors run on CNG and are expected to reduce Saddle Creek’s for-hire fleet by roughly 103,000 pounds per truck. And the company said it plans to have 120 CNG tractors in its fleet by 2013.
“The station will provide the fuel needed to help us put cleaner, safer, quieter trucks on the road,” said Mike DelBovo, Saddle Creek Transportation president, in a recent interview. “As a result, we can help our customers support their own corporate sustainability initiatives while being a good environmental citizen ourselves. Using this alternative fuel will also help us to stabilize transportation costs since the cost of natural gas is less volatile than diesel.”
DelBovo added that when the CNG fleet is expanded to 120 trucks, the “vast majority” of Saddle Creek’s trucks will run on alternative fuel.
“We are proud to partner with Saddle Creek, an environmental leader within the freight community, on this natural gas station development effort,” said James Harger, Chief Marketing Officer, Clean Energy, in a statement. “Investing in natural gas vehicles for its fleets, and the fuel stations to supply them, is clear evidence of Saddle Creek’s commitment to help the supply chain trucking industry lower fuel costs, curtail harmful emissions, and reduce dependence on imported oil.”
Clean Energy also pointed out that natural gas is priced up to $1.50 or more per gallon less than diesel fuel and significantly reduces costs for vehicle and fleet owners.
T. Boone Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, and Clean Energy Chairman Emeritus, said at the 2011 Transplace Shipper Symposium that the U.S. currently has 4,000 trillion gallons of natural gas—a 100-year supply—available. And other nations including China and several in Europe, are already turning to it, because it is cleaner and cheaper and abundant.
The swing from OPEC controlling transportation fuels for the last 20 years is coming to an end, but how quickly that process takes is directly up to America, as it consumes 25 percent of the entire world’s oil, said Pickens.
“The quicker we can get over to our other resources, the quicker we can get rid of the threat of our enemies selling us oil,” said Pickens. “If there is a global energy table, the U.S. does not have a seat at it. If we don’t take advantage of our natural gas resources, we are going to go down as the dumbest crowd that ever showed up.
What’s more, he explained if the 8 million Class 8 vehicles on the road today in the U.S. switched from diesel to natural gas, that would represent a reduction of 2.5 million barrels in imported oil per day and cut down on the 35 billion gallons of diesel consumed per day by the trucking industry, with a $1-$2 dollar per gallon decrease, too.
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