FedEx raises the bar, and increases sustainable targets by 50%

As if to prove how easy it is to become energy-efficient, one of the leading package delivery companies in the world has recently increased its former sustainability target by 50%, after having made significant movement in a “greener” direction over the past eight years.

For the past few years FedEx has been trying to live up to a “20 by 20”, mantra reports Commercial Appeal, targeting 20% improvements by 2020 over 2005 benchmarks for both fuel efficiency and aircraft emissions. Eight years down the road, the company has increased efficiency by 22% and has decided to raise the goal to 30% by 2020, a brave move and a clear message that others in the industry that fuel-efficiency is not an impossible feat.

Greening the fleet on the ground

A number of initiatives have been taken by FedEx in order to fuel the drive to creating a sustainable fleet. For example, the company now ensures that vehicles are equipped with the “right sized” engines, or, in other words, the smallest engine that can do the job, making them 70-100% more fuel efficient than the truck they replace. 10,000 trucks outfitted with smaller engines are now in service.

According to Green Biz, FedEx also focuses on matching the right vehicle to each route, and as a result is expected to cut fuel use by 20 million gallons this year alone. The company is currently looking at composite bodies that will lower a vehicle’s weight, which, when combined with the smaller engine should cut fuel use by 35%.

When it comes to the actual make-up of FedEx’s delivery fleet, a number of changes have been made to improve efficiency in all directions. According to Environment News Service, 360 hybrid-electric and 200 electric delivery vehicles have been introduced to the fleet, alongside 10,000 fuel-saving Mercedes-Benz, and 200 light-body Reach vehicles which, in addition to the 35% of older diesel engines that have recently been converted to meet EPA standards, will lead to approximately 20 million gallons of fuel savings this year.

Freight and FedEx Ground are also testing new technologies with efficiency-boosting features, like skirts and fairings for trucks, tractors and trailers.

Sustainability takes to the skies

According to Yahoo News, FedEx is making just as many changes to its air fleet as it is to its fleet on the ground. In June 2012, the company announced a purchase of 19 Boeings that will slowly replace an older fleet of MD-10 and A31-200, which less efficient and in need of replacement parts.

In reference to the FedEx Express fleet and the efforts of the company to reach its target, Dennis Beal, the Vice-President of Global Vehicles says: “FedEx Express follows a three-tiered strategy to improve the fuel efficiency of its fleet: Reduce, Replace and Revolutionize. This holistic approach to fleet management allows us to develop vehicle technologies for the future while maximizing the conventional vehicles we operate today.”

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