'Engine' of Manitoba economy gets $11.8M incentive to green up its act

The federal and provincial governments hope to make Manitoba's trucking industry a little greener.

Feds, province invest $5.9M each in incentives for transportation industry to boost vehicle efficiency

Both governments say the trucking initiative will help drive down emissions while enhancing competitiveness in the local transportation sector. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

The federal and provincial governments hope to make Manitoba's trucking industry a little greener.

The Trudeau and Pallister governments will invest $5.9 million each to encourage the local transportation industry to make heavy-duty freight trucks more fuel efficient.

The program will provide incentives to the local industry to retrofit trucks with fuel-saving devices to lower carbon emissions and cut down on pollution.

Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires said though in general, it appears vehicle emissions are trending downward, that isn't the case in the transportation industry. Heavy-duty trucking emissions have been increasing every year since 1990 and continue to rise, she said.

"We really do want to do something to help them to transition to a low-carbon future, but we also want those trucks to continue to roll," Squires said Monday.

"That is what's the engine of our economy; there's so much of our economy that depends on the heavy-duty trucking sector."

Squires said installing the new technology across Manitoba's heavy-duty trucking sector would translate to a 70,000-tonne carbon emission cut, comparable to taking 400 vehicles off the road for good.

Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association, said the program makes it easier for companies and "fence sitters" to justify investing in greener technology.

One of the most common tools for cutting trucking emissions is anti-idling devices, or auxiliary power units.

Terry Shaw is executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association. (CBC/Radio-Canada)

Shaw said truckers essentially live out of their vehicles for long periods of time and have traditionally needed to use "hotel services" to stay warm, cool off, cook or use entertainment systems inside.

"If you don't have an anti-idling device in the truck, you have to turn the truck on so that it runs and burns as much diesel as it did when it was driving," said Shaw.

With an anti-idling device, a diver no longer has to turn the truck on to use energy, and the devices help save about 10 per cent of overall fuel consumption in a truck, Shaw said.

"For a truck that drives 100,000 miles in a year, [that's] a huge savings," he said. "It's a very welcome opportunity."

The program will cap the number of units per corporation to ensure that companies small and large can access the incentives, he said.

The federal government projects regulations in Canada's heavy-duty transportation sector will save new vehicle owners about $1.7 billion in fuel costs per year by 2030.

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With files from Radio-Canada's Patrick Foucault


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