Your Guide to Natural-Gas Trucking in Canada
In late January, energy-producer Encana announced that it is commissioning a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Strathmore, AB. The plant, Encana announced, “will play a key role in providing an alternative fuel to diesel for heavy-duty transportation including rail and long-haul trucking.”
Late last year, Winnipeg-based carrier Bison Transport announced its plans to run 15 LNG tractors in Alberta.
“Bison’s five-year fuel-supply agreement marks the first step in launching Shell’s LNG refueling infrastructure in the province. Shell Canada Products will fuel Bison’s new LNG-powered truck fleet between Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer.”
Bison will get the fuel from Flying J outlets in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, all of which are expected to open this year.
Then again, maybe you don’t want to buy a gas-powered truck. Maybe you’d just like to rent one.
You’re in luck. Excellence Peterbilt, based near Montreal in Ste. Julie, is making LNG-fuelled Peterbilt 386s available for rent.
That’s fitting, seeing as how the whole story of LNG class 8 trucks in Canada took off when the innovative Claude Robert ordered 180 LNG tractors from Peterbilt.
Elsewhere in La Belle Province, Gaz Metro Transport Solutions has been leading the LNG fuel supply and infrastructure push in the area, specifically for the Hwy. 401 corridor between Quebec City and Mississauga.
So it’s no surprise that Gaz Metro has partnered with Excellence on the LNG-rental initiative.
Oh, did we mention that natural gas exploration is sparking up again in Nova Scotia? And that more serious efforts are being made to market Canadian-born natural gas to that far-east avid and avaricious consumer of everything we can produce called China?
There’s little doubt natural gas is in the air. And there’s even less doubt that natural gas is not for everybody. Neither is it even close to being widely available.
Natural-gas-powered trucks are almost definitely a part of this industry’s future. After all, industry leaders like Claude Robert and Fred Zweep at B.C.’s Vedder Transport are embracing natural gas and, well, they wouldn’t be leaders if others didn’t follow them.
So on the one hand, to the vast majority of operators out there who have no more intention of buying natural-gas-powered trucks than they have of moving to Kathmandu, rest assured you’re not alone.
On the other hand, all evidence shows natural-gas power — LNG as well as the compressed variety — is around the corner. And in these days of instantaneous communication and rapid-fast competition, “the corner” is a lot closer than it used to be.
That’s why Newcom Business Media — the publishers of Today’s Trucking, Transport Routier, and Truck and Trailer wants readers to have all the information they need to adapt to their ever-changing environments. That’s why Newcom Business Media published “The Natural Choice.”
The intention is to provide working truckers with a realistic view of a highly sensationalized issue. And if natural gas isn’t a part of your operation by the time you retire, you can bet it will figure largely when the next generation is running things.