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September 30, 2020 1:45 PM, EDT

Knight-Swift Sets Goal to Cut Emissions in Half by 2035

Knight-Swift Transportation trucksKnight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. via PowerPoint

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Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc., North America’s largest truckload carrier, announced a goal to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2035.

The Phoenix-based company anticipates meeting this goal with alternative vehicles, engines and aerodynamic components, including:

  •  Utilizing next-generation clean diesel engines.
  •  Implementing next-generation tractor and trailer aerodynamic solutions.
  •  Continuing deployment of advanced idle reduction technologies.
  •  Operating zero-emission vehicles, including battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology.
  •  Executing various other strategies as technology is developed and introduced to the market.

Roeth

Roeth

“First, excellent to see these announcements on commitments. It is key to the continued acceleration of many technologies,” said Mike Roeth, North American Council for Freight Efficiency executive director.

Knight-Swift’s Sept. 29 announcement followed one Sept. 21 from Walmart Inc., which announced it is targeting eliminating emissions in global operations by 2040. That includes completely electrifying its longhaul trucks and other vehicles by that year.

“Like Walmart,” Roeth added, “most of Knight-Swift’s trucks are out for many days at a time with unpredictable routes and freight, making it difficult for battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell-electric adoption. For Knight-Swift and other for-hire carriers, aggressive use of efficiencies for lowering diesel fuel consumption is critical to meeting these goals.”

Knight-Swift ranks No. 7 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Walmart Inc. ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

Dave Jackson

Jackson

“While we have made significant strides in improving our environmental footprint over the years,” Knight-Swift CEO Dave Jackson said in a release, “we believe that setting an ambitious public goal to reduce carbon emissions generated by our fleet by 50% over the next 15 years quantifies our commitment.”

The company did not immediately identify the percentage of improvement with the various individual initiatives, calling the planned reduction a process rather than an event.

“Like every other challenge that we have faced in our history, we will approach this very methodically, with very high expectations,” said Dave Williams, Knight-Swift’s senior vice president of equipment and government relations. “We will likely have to take some risk; we believe that being environmentally responsible and being profitable are not mutually exclusive. We expect these technologies to reduce emissions and to be cost-effective.”

Meanwhile, the company has begun testing a pre-production version of the eCascadia heavy-duty truck from Daimler Trucks North America as part of the truck maker’s customer experience fleet.

The day cab tractor, with a battery-electric drivetrain, will be used in the greater Los Angeles area.

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