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Pall-Ex is focusing firmly on the future of road transport, after becoming the first pallet network to trial a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) powered truck within its fleet.

The pallet network is driving its green credentials forward as it tests a Volvo FM LNG tractor unit, which combines LNG with a traditional diesel engine to create greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

The unit emits 20% less CO than its diesel counterpart and if rolled out across its whole fleet would help Pall-Ex reach the Department for Transport’s Road to Zero target to reduce HGV emissions by 15% against 2015 levels by 2025.

Pall-Ex has already upgraded its fleet of forklift trucks with a £250,000 investment in 45 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicles to improve efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

Head of Operations at Pall-Ex, Paul Pegg, comments: “As pressure mounts on all road users to reduce their carbon footprint, Pall-Ex wants to be at the forefront of this change, so we’re investigating how to power our fleet of vehicles for a cleaner future.

“An important part of this move towards low emissions vehicles is ensuring that the driving experience and performance do not suffer as a result of the alternative fuel source. Electric lorries are currently not an option for many logistics companies. The battery technology limits driving distance, causing too many delays in a world where consumers expect the fastest possible delivery.”

Darren Newman, LNG account manager at Volvo Group UK Ltd, comments: “Pall-Ex recently trialled our LNG technology and discovered that sustainability needn’t bring additional cost or complication to heavy transport operations, quite the contrary in fact. The Volvo LNG solution offers uncompromised performance as it drives exactly like a diesel engine vehicle. Our LNG engine saves over 20% CO2 in comparison to diesel and LNG attracts a £0.40p per litre reduction in fuel duty relative to diesel.”

Pall-Ex driver, Mahesh Patel has been trialling the LNG truck, collecting and delivering palletised freight within the Midlands.

He comments: “I’ve been with Pall-Ex for four years and was excited to get the opportunity to try this out. I liked the LNG truck, although it was a little slower than the current 500 hp diesel we usually drive, it’s best to drive it more steadily for better fuel economy anyway.

“The performance is virtually the same as the traditional diesel trucks I’m used to, and the fact it is environmentally friendly is a big positive. All drivers need to drive as economically as possible to save fuel, money and to reduce emissions and this new kind of power is another tool to help us reduce our emissions.”

The Pall-Ex team is impressed with the new technology and keen to work towards a cleaner logistics industry, which is why they have extended the trial of their Volvo FM LNG.

Head of Operations, Paul Pegg adds: “We are learning and gaining as much as possible from the trial. This truck is a new opportunity that can benefit our operation and the environment, so we are very keen to understand how it can fit our model, so we can utilise it within the Pall-Ex network.

“Since we started using the vehicle, the fuel cost savings are remarkable, just with one vehicle. We are due to meet with our vehicle supplier, MRS and Volvo to discuss the opportunities for the future, which is exciting.”

As a result of the successful trial, the operations team is now set to test another low emissions vehicle, a new LNG model from Scania.

The Scania truck does not use a diesel engine at all, running purely on liquefied gas to drastically reduce running costs and emissions.