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UPS Goes All-In on Sustainable Fuel With This $450 Million Investment

UPS is advancing its truck fleet sustainability efforts with plans to purchase more than 6,000 natural gas-powered trucks beginning next year and running through 2022.

The commitment represents a $450 million investment to grow the company’s alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle fleet and support infrastructure. The new vehicles will be equipped with compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel systems provided under an exclusive agreement with Agility Fuel Solutions, a business of Hexagon Composites.

The investment in CNG fuel systems will help reduce UPS’s carbon footprint and is expected to have a positive influence on national CNG market growth. The CNG fleet expansion also offers additional capacity for expanding the use of renewable natural gas (RNG).

“UPS continues to expand and improve our smart logistics network by implementing new technologies and creating a highly flexible, data-driven, and sustainable network,” Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer for UPS, said. “That is why we intend for 25 percent of our vehicles purchased in 2020 to run on alternative fuels.”

Vehicles equipped with CNG fuel systems can interchangeably use RNG and conventional natural gas, UPS noted. RNG is produced from landfills, dairy farms and other bio sources, and yields up to a 90 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional diesel. As of this month, UPS has agreed to purchase 230 million gallon equivalents of RNG over the next seven years, making the company the largest consumer of RNG in the transportation industry.

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Since 2016, Agility Fuel Solutions has provided natural gas fuel storage and delivery systems for more than 1,700 UPS trucks. As part of the new agreement, Agility will provide complete end-to-end natural gas systems for heavy-duty gas trucks, terminal tractors and medium-duty walk-in vans–UPS’s familiar brown delivery trucks. These will include on-board CNG fuel storage and management and Agility’s certified natural gas engine fuel systems.

“With our range of proven and reliable clean fuel technologies and aftermarket support capabilities, we will assist UPS in reaching its sustainability targets,” Seung Baik, president of Agility Fuel Solutions, said.

Over the past decade, UPS has invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations to help meet its target of reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions 12 percent across its global ground operations by 2025. UPS has also continued its relationship with TruStar Energy to design, manufacture and install five new CNG fueling stations in Lathrop, Visalia and Moreno Valley, Calif., Houston and Cleveland.

By the end of 2019, UPS will be operating 61 natural gas fueling stations strategically located across the U.S., and outside the U.S. in Vancouver, Canada, and Tamworth, U.K.

Under its “Rolling Laboratory” approach, UPS deploys more than 10,000 low-emissions vehicles based on the technologies that work best for the needs of each delivery route. From pedal-powered and electric-assisted bicycles in dense urban areas like London and Hamburg to electric and hybrid-electric vehicles in the U.S., and natural gas, renewable natural gas and propane globally, UPS puts sustainability innovation into action, all over the world.

Adding efficiency in another area, UPS announced a collaboration last week with shipping technology company Shippo to offer UPS marketplace shipping rates to the more than 35,000 small and medium-sized businesses that use Shippo’s platform. With this new collaboration, Shippo will offer its users seamless UPS account creation and discounted UPS shipping rates.

With Shippo’s network of partners, merchants can connect multiple sales channels, including Wix, Magento, eBay and Amazon, to manage all of their orders in one place. Businesses that use Shippo will now have access to UPS marketplace shipping rates with a discount of up to 55 percent off, including various waived surcharges. Services including UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS Ground are also available to give merchants the flexibility and speed needed to meet e-commerce customer expectations.