Reducing emissions for the long haul
Renewed government funding to help trucking industry trim carbon footprint
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Government has refuelled a rebate program to help Manitoba’s trucking industry cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Long-haul trucks account for 11 per cent of Manitoba’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to a leader at Red River College Polytechnic’s Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre.
Three years ago, Ottawa and Manitoba jointly announced the Efficient Trucking Program, which provides rebates to trucking organizations who’ve retrofitted vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Intakes for the program ended early last year. But on Thursday, politicians announced the program’s revival with a near $7-million public sector boost.
“Reducing the carbon footprint of the trucking sector is crucial to successfully attaining Manitoba’s carbon reduction goals,” Manitoba Environment and Climate Minister Kevin Klein said in a news release.
Successful applicants are reimbursed up to 50 per cent of their retrofitting costs through the program.
They might have switched their tires, added aerodynamic technology (like side skirts on trucks), or invested in anti-idling devices.
Over the course of two years, Jojo Delos Reyes and his team at the Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre approved 366 applications.
The research team administers the program. They distributed around $10 million in rebates between 2020, when the initiative launched, and 2022, Delos Reyes said.
Each organization submitting an application could seek reimbursement for a maximum 30 units. Overall, Delos Reyes’ crew greenlit compensation for 1,934 trucks and 1,693 trailers.
They estimate the changes have reduced up to 13,583 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions already.
“If you count the small contributions, it’ll add up,” Delos Reyes said.
By 2030, the number could reach 120,000 tonnes — it’s like taking 36,000 internal combustion engine cars off the road, Delos Reyes calculated.
“Freight is something we all need… so it’s very important that we reduce the emissions for the long haul,” he said.
Manitoba’s trucking industry directly and indirectly employs around 4.6 per cent of the province’s workforce and contributes more than $2 billion to the province’s gross domestic product, according to a provincial government news release.
In a few years’ time, electric and hydrogen internal combustion engine trucks might be more prevalent, Delos Reyes noted.
Currently, an electric truck could cost 10 times its used diesel-powered alternative, said Aaron Dolyniuk, the Manitoba Trucking Association’s executive director.
“Until the price comes down, or there’s some sort of scale of economy of production, it’s just not feasible,” he said.
Manitoba doesn’t have the infrastructure to support fleets of such vehicles, he added. The Manitoba Trucking Association would like to partner with federal and provincial governments to pilot battery electric trucks, evaluating their readiness for Manitoba’s wide-ranging temperatures.
“A lot of these trucks are designed in the United States for the United States, in warm climates and reduced weight capacity than what we have here in Canada,” Dolyniuk said.
Meantime, the industry is aiming for “incremental change” to reduce emissions, he said.
“We’re fortunate to have a program like (the Efficient Trucking Program) in Manitoba,” Dolyniuk stated. “It reduces greenhouse gas emissions (and) it helps show industry that there are ways to utilize equipment that has less of an impact.”
The latest application intake will be open on the Efficient Trucking Program’s website Monday. It will close in August, and a second intake will open in October.
Telematics systems, which help track fuel consumption and plan fuel efficient routes, are now reimbursed through the program.
“Sometimes driver behaviour is influenced when they see data… in real time,” Delos Reyes said.
Past options, like anti-idling devices — which can heat or cool a truck while the engine is off — are also up for rebates.
Manitoba is spending up to $3.3 million on the Efficient Trucking Program’s latest intakes, while Ottawa is shouldering $3.6 million.
The two governments announced upwards of $31 million to a merit-based program which funds Manitoba projects reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting clean growth and green job creation.
The provincial government will post an expression of interest form on its grants online portal, and more information, on June 1, a spokesperson wrote in an email.
Applications for the Efficient Trucking Program will be available at efficienttrucking.ca. Retrofits must have been installed on or after April 1, 2023.
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.