Arla boosts sustainability with road mile-slashing trucks

Arla: 14 more hybrid collection-and-delivery trucks

Arla is accelerating its bid to become the UK’s “most sustainable dairy company” by adding 14 more hybrid collection-and-delivery trucks to its fleet by the end of this year.

Arla trialled its first combination truck - which can collect raw milk from farms as well as delivering bottled milk to stores, thereby reducing food miles - in autumn 2012. It currently has a fleet of six lorries operating out of its Stourton and Frome transport hubs as well as its Lockerbie dairy.

Each truck reduces Arla’s fuel consumption by 60,000 litres per annum, amounting to a yearly carbon saving of 155 tonnes. Once all 20 vehicles were operational, the total projected fuel saving and carbon reduction would be 1.2 million litres and 3,100 tonnes per annum, respectively, Arla said.

It would not reveal how much it was paying for the vehicles, but group fleet director Gordon Irvine claimed: “The operational costs - fuel, maintenance, labour, depreciation etc - will be sufficient to pay back the investment made in the trailers within two to three years.”

There was no fixed timetable for the rollout the trucks were being introduced when they came off the production line, with allocation based on analysis of transport routes, he said.

Arla hoped to roll out combination trucks to its operations in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany, and was talking to suppliers about reducing the trucks’ height to meet regulations on the Continent, he added. “We are confident that we will be able to trial a prototype in both Denmark and Sweden in the future.”

The trailers were developed after Arla realised it was sometimes sending out a vehicle full of finished product and later sending out an empty milk tanker to collect milk along the same route.