Before starting down the path of alternative fuels, commercial transportation, logistics, and supply chain management solution provider Ryder System had the benefit of a deep understanding of diesel technologies, which led them to research some alternatives.
“We wanted to make sure we were prepared to support advanced fuels as part of a broader portfolio of services to support the energy diversification that we felt was imminent,” says Scott Perry, vice president of supply management and global fuel products for the company’s fleet management solutions business segment. The result is one of the largest natural gas fleets in North America.
Perry points to the number of different duty cycles or segments that Ryder supports through this fleet, adding that “it’s that multi-use, multi-customer mix that makes our experience so unique.”
When first looking into natural gas as an option, Perry and his team focused on reliability, maintenance costs, fuel economy, durability, residual values, driver acceptance, fuel availability, fuel network accessibility, vehicle range, and safety. As a result, the company has seen a significant savings in fuel expense by introducing natural gas into their operations in most instances.
“The duty cycle and annual mileage utilization is a key determining factor in how large those savings are, so that’s a key determining factor for anyone looking at the overall value proposition,” says Perry.
When it comes to the biggest sticking point for most fleets — infratructure — Ryder continues to focus on the issue as the network continues to evolve. Every new station that opens makes the total network that much more efficient.
“We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been able to develop some very strategic relationships in the fuel infrastructure space and have been able to introduce those to our customers to help in developing the business case to build and open new stations to support those fleet deployments,” says Perry.
Ryder has also developed an expertise in pursuing local, state, and federal incentives where available. The company has been able to include those as part of the value proposition for its customers’ benefit in many cases. Ryder has also been able to use its natural gas solutions as a key element of many of its customers’ pursuit of sustainability objectives, and the company expects that trend to continue.
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