Kuehne+Nagel puts first LNG trucks on the road

Global logistics provider Kuehne+Nagel has put eight new Volvo FH Globetrotter LNG (liquified natural gas) tractor units into 24/7 operation as part of a drive to reduce emissions and improve the sustainability of its transport operations.

The Volvos are the first from the Swedish marque to enter Kuehne+Nagel’s UK fleet, following the firm’s participation in the Innovate UK-funded ‘Dedicated to Gas’ project. They will work on two major contracts with Whitbread and Costa.

Supplied by Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia, the 6×2 pusher-axle tractors feature 155 kg LNG tanks and have 12-speed I-Shift automated transmission. The specification also includes the latest generation I-See predictive cruise control system, which analyses the topography to optimise speed and gear changes.

The new trucks will pull temperature-controlled double-deck trailers on national trunking routes from the customer’s Wellingborough regional distribution centre (RDC) to sites in Avonmouth, London and Manchester. Each vehicle is expected to cover 125,000 miles per year, with refuelling taking place using an on-site facility operated by Air Liquide.

Andrew Blake, Kuehne+Nagel’s national distribution manager said: “We’d previously run dual fuel trucks for seven years, but it was our involvement in the Dedicated to Gas trials which confirmed that LNG was the right approach to take. We’re projecting an initial 20% reduction in CO2 emissions on these routes using standard LNG, with the intention of moving quickly to bio-LNG to increase this reduction to at least 80% in the near future.”

Volvo’s uses compression-ignition technology which relies upon small amounts of diesel to initiate ignition of the air-fuel mixture. This enables the Volvo G13C engine to deliver the same 460hp and 2,300Nm of torque as its diesel-only counterpart, with matching service intervals and reliability. These engines also provide secondary vehicle retardation thanks to the patented Volvo Engine Brake.

“From an engineering perspective we have absolute confidence in Volvo’s natural gas powertrain to deliver the performance we need in an intensive around-the-clock, 44-tonne application,” explained Blake. “We looked at the spark ignition options available in other vehicles, but we didn’t want any trade off in terms of performance or fuel efficiency.

“The arrival of the Volvo marque into our fleet has been really well received. When we told our drivers we’d opted for the premium FH Globetrotter cab, there were some huge smiles amongst the team!”

All scheduled servicing and maintenance will be carried out at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia’s Wellingborough dealership, located less than five miles from the customer’s RDC.

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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