21 September, 2012
Launch of the Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Programme
First, I’d like to acknowledge the importance of road transport to our economy.
Our size, and the significant distances between our towns, cities and ports, mean the roading network is vital for us all.
From roofing iron and aggregate to ice-cream and i-phones, heavy vehicles (or trucks as most of us call them!), play a part in moving nearly everything we need.
The cost of freight is built into the retail price of goods, so the amount of fuel used by the heavy vehicle fleet affects everyone.
Collectively heavy vehicle fleets spend a huge $1.3 billion per annum on fuel, so fuel economy is critical for the industry. Road freight is also crucial for our exporters to get their goods to market.
Improving the performance of this cornerstone of the supply chain has a number of benefits for fleet operators and the country as a whole.
Transport uses nearly half of New Zealand’s energy and is the biggest user of oil – which is mostly imported.
Improving the efficiency of our heavy vehicle fleets helps to reduce New Zealand’s exposure to international fuel price volatility and price rises.
The Government has made improved fuel efficiency in transport one of the goals of the New Zealand Energy Strategy, which sets the strategic direction for the energy sector.
It has a strong focus on reliable and competitive energy as a crucial element of our economic growth.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is one of the core agencies responsible for delivering this strategy and I am delighted to see that it is taking an active role in road freight.
Many of you here today are aware how competitive the road-freight industry is. It’s a tough game to be in. For many operators, profit margins can be as little as one to four per cent and fleets are always looking for ways to improve performance.
Well, here’s an easy one: you will save 10 per cent on your fuel bill by taking part in this initiative.
The great thing about fuel efficiency in the trucking business is that it delivers on so many fronts. It means better returns for operators, improved driver safety . . . it delivers for the economy and the environment.
EECA tell me that modern trucks are equipped with technology that can assist operators improve fuel efficiency. I can believe it - driving a Freightliner Argosy around the TR Group yard this morning, it seemed to me it could pretty much drive itself.
Achieving the kind of savings on fuel I’m talking about in heavy vehicle fleets is about getting the right information to the right people in the right way. That’s EECA’s job – the challenge for them is to help operators of all sizes, from all sectors, to make fuel efficiency work for their fleet.
If EECA achieves the ambitious target they have set for themselves, the industry will soon be saving at least 7.5 million litres of fuel annually.
This is around $10 million every year, so it’s not small change in anyone’s language. And these are immediate savings that go straight to the bottom line.
It’s great to see representatives from some of the companies that are involved in the programme - the likes of AF Logistics, Z Energy, BP and TR Group, here today.
I am very pleased to launch this programme. And now I will hand over to the experts at EECA to give you some more detail on how it all works!