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UPS Freight expands LNG-powered truck line-up

UPS adds 64 new LNG trucks to its growing alternative fuel fleet in the US


Global freight mover UPS Freight has announced an additional 64 liquified natural gas (LNG) trucks to its American fleet, pushing its number of worldwide natural gas vehicles past 2,500.

Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the new Freightliner Cascadia prime movers will replace older diesel-powered vehicles on designated routes in the company’s less-than-truckload operations, according to UPS Freight vice president-fleet, Willie Rivero.

“Even though UPS has used LNG tractors in package operations for more than a decade, it’s still a relatively new fuel for trucking,” Rivero says.

“By adding these tractors to the UPS Freight fleet, we are aligning ourselves with the enterprise’s commitment to use natural gas as a reliable alternative to traditional fuel.”  

The commitment from UPS is for its alternative fuel vehicles to drive one billion miles (1.6 billion kilometres) by the end of 2017.

The milestone is being chased by the 5,500 vehicles that UPS use globally that are all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas (CNG), LNG, propane, biomethane and light-weight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.

While Australia has an abundance of LNG, the trucking industry has been hesitant to dive in.

In 2013, Shell targeted the market with a plan to build eight LNG service stations between Melbourne and Sydney, hoping the cheaper and more environmentally-friendly fuel would make headway in Australia but paused the idea in February last year.

UPS has more than doubled its global alternative fuel vehicles in the last two years and has recently committed to build 15 CNG fuelling stations across the US to power a planned 1,400 new CNG vehicles set to launch in the next twelve months.  

A proportion of those will be from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp (FCCC), who announced a new 600-vehicle chassis deal at the end of April with UPS.

“Both FCCC and UPS have long been leaders – as well as partners – in the development and deployment of products powered by alternative fuels,” director of sales and marketing for FCCC, Tony Sippel says.

“This is another exciting day and important milestone in that partnership, and we are honored (sic) to help UPS continue to expand and grow its alternative-fuel fleet with the order of these CNG chassis.”

Made up of CNG-powered MT-45 and MT-55 chassises, the deal is expected to be fullfilled by the end of the year.

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