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Food service distributor Sysco Corp. and Daimler Truck North America jointly announced Sysco’s letter of intent to deploy 800 battery-electric Freightliner eCascadia Class 8 tractors by 2026.
DTNA called it the largest order through a letter of intent for electric vehicles it has announced to date. The first eCascadia delivery is expected to arrive at Sysco’s Riverside, Calif., site later this year.
Sysco Corp. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America. It operates about 8,700 tractors.
We are excited to announce our plan to provide up to 800 @freightliner #eCascadia battery electric trucks to our friends @Sysco by 2026. We’re moving together toward a brighter future for us all. Learn more: https://t.co/sSSA9cappR #WeAreDaimlerTruck #electric #sustainability pic.twitter.com/ZSVa3q0VJy— Daimler Truck NA (@DaimlerTruckNA) May 19, 2022
“Sysco is committed to making meaningful investments to support achievement of our climate goals, including those that encourage the development of electric tractors and trailers. We are eager to partner with a like-minded industry leader like Daimler Truck North America to deploy battery-electric trucks nationwide,” Marie Robinson, Sysco’s chief supply chain officer, said in a release.
“This investment shows our commitment to sustainability and growing responsibly and will ultimately help us meet our goal of reducing our direct carbon emissions by 27.5% by 2030,” she said.
Sysco reported it aims to achieve its science-based climate goal to electrify 35% of its U.S. fleet by 2030. Sysco Riverside is building its charging infrastructure to support additional battery-electric truck deployments, including additional solar capacity, according to the Houston-based company. DTNA recently unveiled its all-electric Freightliner eCascadia at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, Calif.
“Industry transformation requires leadership and collaboration, and a shared vision for the future of the supply chain,” said David Carson, senior vice president of sales at DTNA.
Also at ACT Expo earlier in May, Robinson noted what’s needed is an electrical grid that is secure, stable, efficient and clean that carriers can depend upon.
“[A grid] where we don’t have to worry about it when there is a 110-degree heat wave in Texas,” she said. “Working together and making sure that — with our regulatory partners and elected officials — we understand the plans. Everything falls apart if we don’t have that clean, safe electric grid to depend upon.”
Robinson urged regulators to create a “smooth, welcoming” on-ramp for EVs in trucking and a “graceful” offramp for the diesel vehicles so that carriers, from a commercial perspective, “are not put in a position where we are having to over-invest on the diesel side, which frankly limits your ability to invest on the electric or alternative side.”
Sysco CEO Kevin Hourican said during the company’s most recent earnings call that Sysco is the first and only U.S. food service distributor with a science-based climate goal.
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“Research from the World Economic Forum suggests that companies who make progress in these important areas drive improved corporate social responsibility over time compared to their peers,” he said. “To ensure that we walk the walk, our board is prepared to incorporate environmental, social and governance criteria as a part of our executive compensation program beginning next year. The work we are doing is the right thing to do, and we strongly believe that it is also good for our business and our investors.”
In a transitional period some have called the messy middle, Sysco reported it hedged 80% of its forecasted bulk fuel volume through fiscal 2023 in the United States and Europe.
And with the global supply chain interrupted in various ways, “access to parts is a challenge, and access to new equipment is a challenge,” Hourican said.
Sysco reported it operates 343 distribution facilities worldwide and serves more than 650,000 customer locations. For fiscal 2021 ending July 3, 2021, the company generated sales of more than $51 billion.