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Move Over! Helena Company Finds a Smarter Way to Transport Freight

Release Date: 10/07/2008
Contact Information: Suzanne Ackerman, EPA, 202 564-4355; Rebecca Russo, EPA, 303 312-6757; Richard Mylott, EPA, 303 312-6654; Curt Weidner, Watkins and Shepard Trucking, 800 548-8895

Watkins and Shepard Trucking burns less fuel, reduces greenhouse gas emissions

(Denver, Colo. -- Oct. 7, 2008) If your truck fleet could haul the same load while burning less fuel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, wouldn’t that be smart? Helena, Montana-based Watkins and Shepard Trucking agrees, which is why the company has been recognized as an industry leader by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Watkins and Shepard Trucking received an Environmental Excellence Award today from EPA's SmartWay program for leadership in conserving energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions from its transportation and freight activities. The company has adopted several fuel-saving technologies, purchased newer, more efficient equipment, and developed strategies and driver incentive programs that work together to save fuel, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and improve the company's bottom-line. Watkins and Shepard Trucking employs over 1,000 people at 19 locations across the country in truckload dry van, flatbed, less-than truckload (LTL), and warehouse operations.

"When it comes to sustainable practices in the trucking industry, Watkins and Shepard is more than hauling its own weight," said Rebecca Russo, EPA's Mobile Sources Program Manager in Denver. "The company's fuel-saving strategies are an example for others, and are leading to a cleaner environment and a more secure energy supply."

Watkins and Shepard is among 27 SmartWay Excellence award winners recognized today at the annual conference of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals in Denver. These awards recognize companies for superior efforts to reduce fuel use and lower carbon emissions from freight transport. This year’s recipients have integrated a broad range of innovative fuel-saving strategies into their freight and fleet operations, moving the nation toward cleaner air and greater energy security.

"We have invested in the latest fuel-saving technologies, including auxiliary power units and super single tires, and most importantly, we have cooperated and asked for our drivers input," said Ray Kuntz, Watkins and Shepard CEO and current chairman of the American Trucking Association. "Driver habits have a huge impact on improving MPG and our drivers have stepped up to the plate. We also invest considerable time with new drivers in our driver-training program in Missoula teaching fuel-saving techniques. I am proud of our success in the EPA SmartWay program and encourage more businesses to join. Together we can reduce carbon emissions, burn less fuel, and reduce our impact on the environment for future generations."

Many of the awardees recognized today have invested in trucks that qualify for the EPA's SmartWay Certified mark, the cleanest, most fuel-efficient standard available today. Eight major truck manufacturers are now offering at least one long-haul model that meets EPA SmartWay specifications. Awardees also optimized delivery routes and provided more flexible shipping and receiving practices to reduce unnecessary idling. Using these and other strategies based on three-year commitments to upgrade fleets and improve freight operations, SmartWay partners are collectively saving more than 595 million gallons of diesel fuel each year – slashing fuel costs by at least $2.5 billion annually – and eliminating 6.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

EPA launched SmartWay in early 2004 to address the environmental and economic challenges surrounding growth in the freight industry. Through SmartWay, EPA is now working with over 1,000 businesses to improve both their bottom line and the environment. SmartWay offers tools for evaluating opportunities to lower fuel use and emissions and help in locating financing for the purchase of environmental and fuel-saving technology.

More information on the SmartWay Transport Partnership and the achievements of its awardees:

More information on the 2008 SmartWay Excellence Awardees: