DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has altered the way it ships engines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, David Shepps, a manager of material planning and logistics at Ford, told attendees at a recent seminar on measuring greenhouse gas emissions.
The changes show how emissions monitoring can alter the way automakers operate.
Ford ships engines from a plant in Germany to two North American assembly plants, one in the South and one in the Midwest.
"Distance is going to be a big driver of emissions," Shepps says. The initial decision to source the engines from Germany automatically meant substantial greenhouse gas emissions from transporting the engines.
To reduce those emissions, Ford made two changes in how the engines were shipped. The engines formerly went by truck from the engine plant to the German port. It was the shortest distance, but carting the heavy engines burned a lot of fuel. So Ford switched to putting the engines on a barge down the Rhine river to the port.
But that raised another level of variables to manage. "If the barge doesn't arrive at just the right time, you're missing the weekly sailing," Shepps says.
Then, when the engines arrived at the port of Montreal, Ford would take them by truck to a warehouse in Michigan before sending them to the assembly plants. Those trucks also produced significant greenhouse gas emissions.
Now Ford sends the engines by rail from Montreal to a staging yard close to the warehouse and by truck just for a short, final leg of the trip.
Says Shepps: "We took out cost, fuel, and CO2 equivalents."