Brown Line's fleet, part of the Lynden family of companies, is among the most efficient fleets in the nation and the company has once again earned the SmartWay High Performer Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to the SmartWay Transport Partnership, just over two percent of all SmartWay carriers operate fleets so clean and efficient that they make the SmartWay High Performer list for all metrics. Whether its carbon, particulate matter or nitrogen oxide, high-performing SmartWay carriers drive cleaner, emit fewer of these pollutants – and burn less fuel – for every mile they travel and for every ton of freight they move, as compared to their SmartWay peers.
"Our team is proud to receive this award two years in a row," says Brown Line President Bill Johansen. "We continue to work with our drivers on improving driving habits to minimize idle time, sudden starts and stops and to improve mileage. This recognition is shared with the entire Brown Line team."
Since 2007, Brown Line has invested in new aerodynamic tractors and trailers, wide-base super single tires and high efficiency engines, dramatically improving miles per gallon (MPG), reducing idle time and lowering carbon emissions.
In the last five years, Brown Line has improved its fuel economy by nearly 40 percent as reported to the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership. Most of Brown Lines’ fleet is less than 5 years old. The new tractors are equipped with modern emissions control systems that significantly reduce air pollution. Since 2012, Brown Line’s fleet has reduced its nitrous oxide and particulate matter emissions per ton mile by 44 percent and 62 percent respectively.
Over 75 percent of Brown Line reefer units are plug-in and have contributed to a nearly 90 percent decrease in idle time since 2010. "As new trailers are purchased our goal is 100 percent," Bill says. "This year we will be testing a new aerodynamic system in place of trailer tails that is designed to reduce the low pressure drag behind the trailer. The new system is expected to increase fuel economy and durability while reducing weight."
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Brown Line's fleet, part of the Lynden family of companies, is among the most efficient fleets in the nation and the company has once again earned the SmartWay High Performer Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Alaska West Express truly walks the talk when it comes to handling and transporting hazardous materials over challenging terrain with the utmost respect for safety, pollution prevention and the environment. Over the last five years, Alaska West has transported an average of 14 million gallons of fuel annually with no accidents. This year alone, drivers have traveled nearly 5 million miles without a recordable accident. Since joining the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership in 2012, Alaska West has increased fuel efficiency by 25 percent while increasing the average payload by 10 percent. This means moving freight with less fuel and an overall 26 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per ton mile.
"Over the last several years, we have continued to make Alaska West Express’s trailering equipment more efficient," explains Alaska West Express President Eric Badger. "Our 406 and 407 tanker fleet is predominantly 5-axle, leading to a dramatically increased payload while reducing fuel consumption and number of trips. We have also purchased eight DOT 407 chemical tanks to allow us to haul over 2,000 gallons more per load."
Earlier this year, Alaska West Express took delivery of 10 Wilson aluminum 53-foot 5-axle flatbed trailers providing a 72,000-pound payload. They also feature a tire inflation system with heat-sensing devices that will alert the driver to an elevated wheel-end temperature. Alaska West drivers helped test the system from prototype to production.
According to Director of Maintenance Tommy Douthit, auxiliary power units provide heat and power to the cab when the truck is turned off and have helped reduce idle time by over 40 percent. Tire pressure monitoring equipment and laser alignment of tires reduces tire wear and also contributes to fuel efficiency. Newer, more efficient engines, combined with the improved fuel economy and payload, have led to a 39 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions and an 83 percent reduction in nitrous oxide emissions. "This contributes to better air quality in places like Anchorage and Fairbanks where winter inversions can trap pollution," Tommy says.
The Fairbanks line haul fleet is equipped with an onboard oil filtration system that allows maintenance to stretch out oil changes from 750 hours to around 2,500 hours or more. "We are only performing full oil changes on an annual basis now," Tommy says. "This translates to about a 75 percent reduction in engine oil use. Nothing goes to waste, as used oil from the trucks is then used to heat the parts warehouse in Fairbanks." The company is also testing a disc brake pad free of copper and other metals to meet an upcoming EPA requirement to preserve sea life in the Pacific Ocean.
Efficiency is not limited to equipment. Over the last several years, Alaska West’s Fairbanks facility has converted nearly 90 percent of its lights to LEDs which have dramatically improved lighting quality and led to a savings of $50,000 per year in electricity costs. "This year, we also upgraded our primary heating system boilers to improve efficiency and added propane fired air exchangers to augment our floor heat. This gives us faster recovery time and quicker thaw cycles for our equipment to allow us to haul freight in snowy conditions," Tommy says.
Lynden Air Cargo’s fleet of L382G aircraft now include fuel-efficient Microvanes that allow for energy savings as well as increased speed. Engineered by Lockheed and licensed to Metro Aerospace, the Microvanes are small aerodynamic components that are surface mounted to the aft fuselage, effectively reshaping the air flow around the cargo door and tail. They reduce total drag on the aircraft while reducing fuel and thrust requirements. The Microvanes are expected to result in fuel savings of up to 4 percent (up to 34,000 gallons of fuel saved per aircraft per year) depending on flight length on the Lynden fleet.
"This project supports our ongoing efforts to support Lynden’s overall green initiative," says Ethan Bradford, head of Technical Services for Lynden Air Cargo. "We assisted Metro Aerospace to acquire FAA approval for installation and now we have the first set of Microvanes installed on N405LC. We hope to install them on the remaining fleet by the end of 2019."
The first long-range mission to prove the effectiveness of the Microvanes was to Antarctica via Christchurch, New Zealand, to support an Italian research group. The Microvanes provide a margin of safety for these long flights.
Brown Line, LLC, an industry leader in temperature-controlled truck transport, earned a SmartWay Transport Partner 'High Performer' Status ranking from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this month. Among the hundreds of fleets partnering with the EPA through SmartWay, Brown Line is among the select few that have earned SmartWay High Performer status for all performance metrics.
According to the SmartWay Transport Partnership, just over 2 percent of all SmartWay carriers operate fleets so clean and efficient that they make the High Performer list. "These companies are a step ahead in meeting the challenges of sustainable goods movement and have achieved significant shipping and freight efficiencies that merit special attention," says Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator. "Compared to their SmartWay peers, High Performer carriers drive cleaner, emit fewer pollutants and burn less fuel for every mile they travel and for every ton of freight they move."
Over the past seven years, Brown Line has decreased its idle hours by 87 percent, its Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions by 43 percent, its Particulate Matter emissions (PM) by 52 percent and its Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions per ton mile by 27 percent. The company has also improved its mile per gallon (MPG) by 44 percent. "The Brown Line team is extremely proud of this award and this recognition. To be in the top 2 percent of all trucking companies is affirmation that our efforts to improve freight efficiency are paying off," says Brown Line President Bill Johansen. "We will continue to adopt programs and practices that improve productivity and reduce our carbon footprint on the road and in our operations."
Brown Line uses highly efficient engines, lightweight equipment with enhanced aerodynamics, automatic tire inflation systems and onboard computers to manage highway speed, progressive shifting, best routing options and idle times. Other efficiency measures include:
- Cab design, with roof fairing, side skirts, integrated sleeper, and aerodynamic mirrors and bumper, reduces drag. Ultra-lightweight 53' trailers use side skirts and trailer tails.
- Fleet includes 53-foot trailers with California Air Resources Board (CARB) complaint reefer units.
- Team drivers and new high-efficiency plug-in electric refrigerated trailers minimize the need to idle the truck's engine. All reefers are electric.
- Efficient engines – DT-12 Transmission Program, Carb Emission Certification-Clean Idle.
- Gearing – DT-12, heavy duty 12-speed overdrive automated manual transmission increases miles per gallon.
- All trucks and trailers use wide-base, low-rolling resistant single tires and have an automatic system to keep tires properly inflated for optimum fuel economy and to reduce tire wear.
- PeopleNet tool is used to measure engine/driver performance in decreasing idle time and increasing miles per gallon with an average of 7.6 MPG for the entire fleet and an overall reduction in fuel use.
- Event Recorders are installed in all tractors to ensure improved safety and reduce cost.
Brown Line became a SmartWay Transportation Partner in 2010. Sister company Lynden Transport became the first Alaska trucking company to join SmartWay in 2008, followed by LTI, Inc./Milky Way – a three-time winner of SmartWay's Excellence Award – and Alaska West Express in 2012.
The EPA launched SmartWay in 2004 to help businesses improve the sustainability of their freight supply chains. Today, the partnership consists of 3,000 companies representing a cross section of the freight supply chain.
Brown Line is one of the Lynden family of companies whose combined capabilities include: shipping to Alaska, truckload and less-than-truckload transportation, barge service to Hawaii and Alaska, charter barges, worldwide air and ocean forwarding, third-party logistics, trade show shipping, intermodal bulk chemical hauls, scheduled and chartered Hercules L-382 cargo aircraft and multi-modal logistics. Lynden companies are repeat winners in the annual Quest for Quality customer service awards presented by Logistics Management magazine.
LTI, Inc./Milky Way drivers are rolling down the road in new tractors this fall, the result of a large-scale major equipment acquisition. According to Dave Seaman, Director of Equipment and Maintenance, LTI invested in new power units this year which replaced some of the high-mileage tractors. "The new equipment is allowing us to lower our operating cost by reducing maintenance and improving fuel economy while maintaining payload," he explains. "The new units also provide a much better driving experience for our employees." LTI, Inc. has purchased 74 2018 Kenworth T680 tractors, the same tractor that Lynden Transport Driver John Schank drove across the country to deliver the Capitol Christmas Tree in 2015.
As of early September, 16 new tractors were in service with another 58 to be delivered this fall. The allocation of new equipment is based on demand, according to Dave. "We relocate power units between terminals in an effort to improve utilization and customer service. Since our power units are each assigned to a terminal and activity, we basically do a direct replacement," he says.
LTI, Inc. Equipment Maintenance Manager Jerry Crisp in Sunnyside and the team at Kenworth Northwest in Yakima work together on new equipment "UPFIT" which includes installation of the milk pump box, Peoplenet system, Lynden green vinyl wrap/door decal and equipment numbers, etc. Jerry and his maintenance team, along with Jeff Harris of Sunnyside operations, test run each tractor prior to delivery to LTI, Inc. Service Centers. "Our goal is delivering each tractor ready to work," Dave explains. "This is a major task for all of LTI, Inc., including administration, operations, HSSE, maintenance and specifically the Sunnyside maintenance/operations teams as they continue with day to day operations and the beginning of our harvest season. They get this done while maintaining excellent customer service." Utilization is considered along with a life cycle target of 800,000 miles, although some units run close to 1 million miles prior to replacement. "Today's engines and emissions systems are very expensive to repair and replace so at LTI, Inc., we really don't want to overhaul engines nor replace emissions systems during the life cycle unless absolutely necessary," Jerry explains.
The allocation of LTI/Milky Way's used tractors is also carefully considered. "Our first priority is making sure we have a One Lynden approach regarding the disposal of an asset," Dave says. "Recently we have supported Alaska Marine Lines, Alaska Marine Trucking and Lynden Transport by transferring used tractors to each operation. We also sell direct, through a broker or auctions and we sometimes consider dealer trade-in values."
Milky Way Drivers like Gene Staal of Lynden, WA and Anthony Platas-Tremont of Moses Lake, WA are enjoying the new equipment. "The truck is very comfortable, rides smooth and quiet and has great visibility," Gene says. "This is a quality truck to match Milky Way's quality standards," Anthony adds. "There has been a noticeable mileage increase on my normal route."
Alaska West Express is testing an on-board oil filtration system on six of its tractors that is allowing the company to operate even more clean and green. The trucks can now run as many as 145,000 miles between oil changes, eliminating around 56 oil changes and saving 657 gallons of oil.
A six-micron filter removes debris from the oil and has a heating element to eliminate moisture. "The removal of moisture from the oil keeps the acidity of the oil in check and almost completely removes sludge," says Steve Nolan of Alaska West Express in Fairbanks. Rather than changing the oil every 25,000 miles, oil is tested and changed only when necessary which lowers maintenance costs.
Alaska Marine Lines has been using similar units to filter hydraulic fluid and oil on its equipment. "These units require a change in thinking from routine oil changes to sampling and changing based on actual need," says Les Candee, Equipment Maintenance and Procurement Manager at Alaska Marine Lines. "It requires that sampling becomes part of the maintenance culture, as opposed to automatically draining and disposing of all fluids on a time-based program".
These maintenance programs are part of Lynden's ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.
The Lynden companies are continually looking for ways to save fuel and operate more efficiently. Lynden's Equipment Team is testing new fuel-saving technology from aerodynamics to tires to idle-reduction equipment.
Improving aerodynamics of tractors and trailers has great potential to save fuel. Brown Line can attribute at least 5 percent of its 25 percent fuel economy gains over the last three years to the use of trailer side skirts, and Lynden Transport has seen similar gains with side skirt tests in Edmonton, California, Texas and Alaska.
"In theory, every 2 percent reduction in trailer drag results in a 1 percent fuel economy gain," says Lynden Tank Company General Manager Len Kilmer. Last year, Lynden Tank worked with Western Washington University's Computational Fluid Dynamics program using digital drawings to simulate Milky Way tankers and identify areas to reduce drag. Lynden Tank is now developing the most cost-effective options that were identified with the computer model. Milky Way is also testing a prototype tanker to determine the actual benefits of side skirts, air flow tabs, and a new smooth seam on the tank (see photo).
Experimenting with tires provides another opportunity to save fuel. Lynden Transport, Brown Line and Alaska West Express have been testing "super single" wide-base tires (pictured below). According to Charlie Mottern of Lynden Transport, the wide-base tires are lighter by about 1,000 pounds per 5-axle set. "They are giving us much better tire life at a slightly lower cost and better fuel economy than a typical set of doubles." Lynden companies are also testing automatic tire inflation systems that maintain proper tire pressure to optimize fuel economy and reduce tire wear.
For the past three years, Alaska West Express has been testing auxiliary power units (APUs) on 13 of its units. The small generators provide electricity and heat to the cab and keep the engine warm. This allows the driver to shut down the engine during winter downtime rather than idling the truck's engine. They burn about one-quarter of the fuel as an idling truck and have so far saved Alaska West about 16,000 gallons of fuel and 25 oil changes.
LTI, Inc. is currently running "head to head" testing on its Alexco ore haul between Seattle and Trail, B.C. Fuel and other operating costs are being carefully monitored and compared between Freightliner’s DD13 engine and Paccar’s MX engine. So far, data has been collected and analyzed for nearly 800 trips.
Over the last three years, Brown Line has implemented a number of changes resulting in a radical improvement in fuel economy. The company recently added 18 new tractor-trailer combinations that are achieving over 7 mpg on average. “With the new equipment fuel economy increased by 23 percent, trailer cubic foot capacity by 16 percent, and improved payload capacity by 6 percent,” says Brown Line President Jason Jansen.
Driver behavior has also contributed to fuel savings, with PeopleNet onboard computing systems enabling drivers to assess their fuel consumption and compete to be the best. Maximum truck speed was reduced from 68 mph to 64 mph for eastbound routes and to 62 mph for all other routes. “We adjusted the gearing to match the lower speeds, and we set low idle time standards for drivers,” Jason says. “PeopleNet also gives us the tools to improve routing, monitor tractor performance and idle time.”
As a fleet, Brown Line's average fuel economy has improved from 5.4 mpg in 2008 to 5.84 mpg in 2011. All new tractors have roof farings and new trailers have side skirts to improve aerodynamics. The side skirts are estimated to save about 5 percent in fuel economy. Brown Line now has 30 new 53-foot trailers with side skirts that have replaced the older 48-foot trailers, and will be exploring retrofit options for the older equipment.
The new 53-foot trailers are 1,900 pounds lighter than the older 48-foot trailers they replaced and compliant with California Air Resources Board (CARB) rules for reefers units. All new trucks and trailers use wide-base, low-rolling resistant single tires and have an automatic system to keep tires properly inflated for optimum fuel economy and to reduce tire wear.
Lynden celebrated the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day this month by continuing its environmental sustainability efforts. The Lynden family of transportation companies has been an industry leader in reducing its carbon footprint including recent design changes in its truck fleet that have improved fuel economy by 23 percent.
"Earth Day is a perfect time to reflect on the many ways Lynden is committed to protecting the environments where we do business. We were working 'green' before it became so popular," says Alex McKallor, Chief Operating Officer for Lynden Inc. "From innovative containers to equipment that requires less fuel and reduces harmful pollutants, we are constantly searching for ways to save energy and use resources efficiently. Our culture of innovation and efficiency is in harmony with our commitment to reduce waste and be a model of environmental stewardship."
Lynden was the first transportation company in Alaska to gain SmartWay certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to earn the state's Green Star Award. It is on the list of Inbound Logistics' Green Supply Chain Partners and, in 2008, Lynden launched a Green Initiative stating its goals and asking employees for ideas on how to operate 'leaner and greener.' Many of these suggestions have been implemented.
Most recently, Lynden company Brown Line LLC introduced an aerodynamic tractor-trailer design with side skirts and roof fairings that improved fuel economy. The design, plus other changes such as driver training, reducing speeds and new engines and tires, has helped Brown Line drastically reduce fuel consumption and emissions by nearly 25 percent.
In addition to its own green efforts, Lynden supports local organizations in their environmental programs. Lynden transports recyclable paper from Anchorage to Seattle for Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR) and moves aluminum cans from Cordova to Anchorage for recycling in support of Cordova High School's fundraising program. Lynden Air Cargo participates in a back haul program for the Yukon River Tribal Watershed Council to help clean up Alaska's village communities and Alaska Marine Lines transports gillnets for recycling in Cordova.
For more information on Lynden's environmental policy and programs, visit www.lynden.com/about/green/stewardship.html. Lynden is a family of companies offering truckload and less-than-truckload freight to Alaska, charter barges, rail barges, intermodal bulk chemical hauls, scheduled and chartered air freighters, domestic and international shipping via air and ocean forwarding, customs brokerage, trade show shipping, remote site construction, sanitary bulk commodities hauling and multi-modal logistics. Lynden companies are repeat winners in the annual Quest for Quality customer service awards presented by Logistics Management magazine.
The Lynden family of companies was named to Inbound Logistics’ 2011 Green Supply Chain Partners list for its commitment to the environment. The list appeared in an issue of Inbound Logistics magazine in late 2011.
"The companies selected as this year's 75 Green Supply Chain Partners have a long-standing history of efficiency and an internal commitment to be as lean and green as possible," says Felecia Stratton, Inbound Logistics Editor.
According to Lynden Inc. Executive Vice President of Operations Alex McKallor, Lynden’s culture of innovation and efficiency is completely in harmony with protecting the environment. “Lynden’s people, equipment, processes and technology are focused on the efficient use of resources and sustainable operations. Better fuel economy, better routes and higher payloads together have greatly reduced our fuel consumption per ton of freight moved while at the same time providing our customers with improved service,” he says.