Saddle Creek Invests in Natural Gas Trucks

Lakeland, FL: Saddle Creek Corp is investing in alternative fuel vehicles for its for-hire fleet as part of the company's commitment to sustainability. The company has agreed to purchase 40 Freightliner natural gas trucks and plans to add 40 more in early 2012.

While they look like any other truck on the road, Freightliner's Business Class M2 112 tractors run on compressed natural gas (CNG), one of the cleanest-burning alternative fuel options available with near-zero emissions. Saddle Creek's new tractors will reduce the fleet's carbon footprint by approximately 103,000 pounds per truck each year – the equivalent of planting 85,760 trees.

The natural gas vehicles are also significantly quieter than their diesel counterparts. When idling, the entire fleet of 40 alternative fuel tractors will produce the same decibel level as just four diesel trucks – a substantial noise reduction.

"This is a significant day for us at Saddle Creek. We take pride in running our fleet efficiently and in being responsible corporate citizens," says Mike DelBovo, president, Saddle Creek Transportation. "Because the cost of natural gas is less volatile than diesel, it allows us to have more control over our fuel costs and our customers to have a more stable fuel surcharge. Using this alternative fuel also reduces our dependence on foreign oil and puts cleaner, more environmentally friendly trucks on the road."

"Freightliner Trucks is committed to providing our customers with green technologies that also offer superior productivity and efficiency," says Robert Carrick, vocational sales manager – natural gas for Freightliner Trucks. "We are pleased that Saddle Creek has selected the Freightliner M2 112 CNG for its fleet, and are excited to work with the company to fulfill its goal of reducing its carbon footprint."

Saddle Creek is expected to take delivery of the natural gas trucks by the end of the year and plans to be fully operational in early 2012. The trucks will be based at the 3PL's headquarter campus in Lakeland, FL, and will handle deliveries throughout the Florida peninsula and southern Georgia.

To provide fuel for the trucks, Saddle Creek is building a CNG fueling station at the Lakeland campus – the first such facility constructed for a for-hire fleet in Florida. The contract to build and maintain the station has been awarded to Clean Energy, the leading company for CNG site development in the country.

The station is also environmentally friendly. Since CNG is lighter than air, any gas released is immediately absorbed in the atmosphere so none will spill on the ground.

The CNG fleet is the most recent in a series of sustainability initiatives for Saddle Creek. The company's transportation division is a SmartWay(SM) Transportation Partner and has incorporated a number of programs designed to minimize the fleet's environmental footprint, including adding trailer skirts to make tractors more aerodynamic, using low resistance tires, and utilizing PeopleNet software for optimal vehicle performance.

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