Driving Toward Sustainability
Sometimes it’s best to take the road more traveled. That’s the route
Georgia-Pacific’s transportation professionals are following as they continue to move GP’s products more efficiently and sustainably.
GP’s building products transportation group has expanded its successful load optimization program for plywood to include other commodities such as oriented strand board (OSB) and gypsum shipments. This program creates a loading diagram that helps get the most units of product possible on a rail car, reducing the number of cars needed. Filling more space with product also cuts down on the amount of material added to the car to keep the load stable, which eliminates waste.
“Since we started using the program with other products, we’ve seen a significant improvement in our transportation productivity,” says Robert Pugh, vice president – building products transportation and logistics. “That results in real savings in fuel use and energy costs as well as helping improve air quality by reducing emissions.”
Staying the course
Since winning a U.S. EPA SmartWay® Excellence Award in 2009, GP’s Consumer Products transportation and logistics group has continued to promote sustainable transportation practices, including:
- Expanding a no-idle policy to all of GP’s consumer products mills, asking drivers to turn off their engines while waiting to be loaded or unloaded. According to the SmartWay program, idling truck engines use about one gallon of fuel per hour.
- Continuing to increase intermodal shipping (truck to rail to truck), which reduces fuel consumption. GP Consumer Products now ships more than 100,000 intermodal loads annually.
- Achieving SmartWay® participation by all of its common carriers.
Overall fuel management is a new area of emphasis for the consumer products transportation group.
“We’re managing fuel costs better by using Georgia-Pacific’s buying power in the marketplace,” says Paul Snider, vice president – transportation. “We’re also working more closely with our carriers to reduce fuel consumption by cutting down on deadhead trips, when trucks return empty, and out-of route miles, the distance drivers have to go to pick up their loads.”
The consumer products group is also testing the use of alternative fuels. It already is using two trucks that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) – a fuel that burns more cleanly than diesel and costs half as much – with plans to expand to seven trucks by the end of 2011.
“Controlling fuel costs, reducing consumption and cutting emissions associated with getting our products to our customers all add up to sustainably managing the impact of our transportation needs,” says Snider.