The United States faces a huge gap in the coming years between the amount of freight that needs to be hauled and the amount that can be hauled given current constraints, and longer combination vehicles could help meet the challenge, a top executive of Volvo Trucks North America said Friday, May 8.
“The challenge is to safely deliver more freight, more efficiently in support of current and future demands,” said Scott Kress, senior vice president-sales & marketing. Speaking in Boston at a seminar on climate change policy hosted by Volvo Group North America, Kress said the trucking industry estimates the total amount of freight tonnage in the U.S. will increase 26 percent between 2006 and 2020, requiring a similar increase in available trucks to meet the challenge.
But a big increase in the number of trucks will burn more fuel, increase carbon dioxide emissions, exacerbate congestion and increase accident risk exposure, Kress noted, saying the time is right to rethink the current approach.
“Perhaps the best strategy is the ability to use longer combination vehicles,” Kress said, arguing that LCVs could reduce congestion, emissions, fuel consumption, transportation costs and dependence on foreign energy. And while infrastructure improvements would be needed, they would be modest compared to those that would be needed to support the current approach in the decades to come, he said.
Contrary to the claims of trucking’s critics, larger trucks likely would increase safety due to the lower accident risk exposure from fewer trucks, Kress said. In any event, safety “was Volvo’s first core value and is the bedrock of the company