Logistics is no easy business. Forget the current driver shortage – the industry has been battling with this issue for many years already. Think about the pace of change as far as environmental issues are concerned.  Many logistics companies are investing in alternative propulsion technology as an opportunity and others because their customers are demanding it.

As fully electric long-distance trucks are not ready yet, the only greener alternative to diesel for an operation that triple shifts their trucks is to look at fuelling the with Biomethane.

This is what JSE-listed Imperial Logistics (Imperial) has managed in adding 18 new Iveco Stralis Natural Power trucks to its fleet, powered by sustainably produced Liquified Natural Gas (Bio-LNG).

Ordered specifically for a contract with BMW Group, the new vehicles are based out of a satellite transport office that Imperial operates on the Unipart campus at MINI Plant Oxford in Cowley, Oxfordshire. The decision to make the switch to natural gas comes as part of BMW Group’s wider efforts to improve sustainability throughout all areas of the company, which includes its supply chain and logistics operations.

The LNG Truck’s Impressive Duty Cycle

The 18 AS440S46TX/P LNG Iveco Stralis NP 460 tractors are expected to cover around 3.3 million kilometres per year collectively which Imperial estimates will remove over 3,000 tonnes of CO2 from its annual emissions.

The trucks run 24 hours a day, with multiple shift drivers operating them, so an extensive training scheme was put in place during the 10 days preceding the vehicles going on the road. Delivered on-site by Roadgas personnel, all drivers and any site staff that would be fuelling vehicles were fully trained in how to safely operate the gas refuelling equipment.

Iveco NP heavy trucks are unique in the marketplace for being the only factory-built 6×2 tractors to run solely on natural gas. The 12.9-litre CURSOR 13 offers a diesel-equivalent 460hp and 2,000Nm of torque across a wide power band, ensuring that with the 12-speed HI-TRONIX automated gearbox with predictive mapping, there is no compromise to vehicle performance or driver enjoyment. The trucks run exceptionally quietly at 71dB, further minimising Imperial’s and the manufacturing plant’s environmental impact by halving engine noise pollution.

The vehicles will be maintained by local Iveco workshop, M & M Commercials via a six-year connected 3XL R&M package offering Imperial peace of mind as the proactive systems constantly monitor the vehicles to boost uptime. Iveco natural gas heavy trucks also offer industry-leading oil change intervals of up to 90,00kms.

Mark Miles, Managing Director, Imperial UK, said: “At Imperial we don’t just focus on our profitability; our people and the environment are a very important consideration. We consider it our duty as a responsible and caring member of the global business community to adopt environmental best practice whenever possible in the course of our daily activity; and so the opportunity to reduce our UK haulage operation’s environmental impact was compelling. We’re delighted to be working with our customers as part of a joint effort to improve sustainability in logistics, reconciling business efficiency with environmental protection.”

Commenting on the initiation, Iveco UK Heavy Business-line Director, Gareth Lumsdaine said “It’s great to see that Iveco Natural Power trucks are having a powerful impact beyond their own road-haulage work. Not only are our products allowing transport operators to significantly reduce their own environmental impact but are allowing partnerships with pioneering businesses to make a meaningful green change back down the line.”

Where to Refuel with Bio-LNG?

With a short turnaround from order to delivery from South West Truck & Van in Swindon, Imperial along with SWTV and Iveco UK’s Natural Power implementation specialists enlisted the expertise of Roadgas to support with fuel supply.

Iveco gas trucks lineup
Logistics company, automotive logistics and just-in-time parts distribution specialists, Imperial, switches to IVECO Natural Power to help BMW Group improve sustainability in its logistics operations.

While a permanent solution has since been completed at the Cowley site, Roadgas was able to expedite the roll-out of a temporary solution within a matter of weeks to support Imperial’s immediate need for bio-LNG deployment.

Stralis NP Logo
The 18 AS440S46TX/P LNG Iveco Stralis NP 460 tractors are expected to cover around 3.3 million kilometres per year collectively

“The timings to deliver the temporary station were very tight,” commented Becky Rix, Marketing Director for Roadgas, “the resourceful collaborative planning with the Imperial team, together with the successful implementation of driver training and the install of this bespoke Bio-LNG refuelling station has been a great start for the team in 2021 after what has been a really tough year. We’re very proud to be working with the Iveco team and Imperial in helping to deliver their decarbonisation goals.”

Iveco gas truck and trailer
Iveco NP heavy trucks are unique in the marketplace for being the only factory-built 6×2 tractors to run solely on natural gas