In addition to a comprehensive nationwide logistics infrastructure program, the Canadian government is pushing a wide-ranging menu of environmental technology incentive programs for the country's transportation sector.
Transport Canada calls it the ecoTransport Strategy, part of an agenda to "protect our environment and the health of Canadians and to further economic prosperity."
It has six components -- ecoFreight, ecoMobility, ecoAuto, ecoEnergy for Fleets, ecoTechnology for Vehicles and ecoEnergy for Personal Vehicles.
The mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging greater use of public transit and sustainable transportation options, and the demonstration and purchase of advanced transportation technologies. It also provides rebates of up to C$2,000 (US$1,871) toward the purchase of more fuel-efficient automobiles, and workshops, training and data sharing to help trucking companies and other commercial fleet operations cut fuel costs and reduce emissions.
The ecoFreight program, a centerpiece of the strategy, will make seed money available for various cost-shared projects to reduce the environmental effects of freight transportation through the use of technology, both new and "underused."
It was launched in May with C$2.4 million (US$2.2 million) from Transport Canada's Freight Technology Demonstration Fund available for eight projects. Another 15 projects will receive C$3.7 million (US$3.5 million) under the Freight Technology Incentives Program. Funds are allocated to help companies acquire available technology in the marine, rail, truck and air modes.
Transport Canada also recently invited its port authorities and terminal operators to submit applications to put them in line to receive funds available under the country's Marine Shore Power program.
About C$6 million (US$5.6 million) was allocated over four years for this program, which aims to improve air quality by enabling ships to turn off their diesel engines while docked, a practice known as cold-ironing. Ships plug into electric power outlets from specially designed transformers at port facilities.
Eligible recipients under the shore-power program can use the funds they receive to help purchase equipment such as the special transformers needed to power ships at dock. Port authorities and terminal operators located in Canada are eligible to apply for the funding.
There's much more happening on the technology-ecology front beyond shore power for ships. A major focus is on the wider use of auxiliary power units for trucks and locomotives.
Companies involved in the freight technology demonstration program include:
-- Compagnie de Gestion de Matane: A contribution of up to C$337,000 toward the demonstration of a common fuel-injection system for railroads to be retrofitted on the diesel engine of a 1970s-era ferry.
-- DP World: Up to C$250,000 to demonstrate variable-speed generator technology on three rubber-tire gantry cranes at Port Metro Vancouver terminals.
-- CP Rail: Up to C$500,000 toward the demonstration of ultra-low-emitting gen-set locomotives for yard and road switching in a heavy-traffic corridor. With this technology, up to three smaller common industrial diesel engines replace a typical 2,100-horsepower locomotive engine, and they can work independently or in concert, depending on load requirements. Viterra Inc. will receive up to C$490,750 toward the purchase of one of these units under the freight incentives program.
-- The Canadian Trucking Alliance: Up to C$95,000 toward the demonstration of multiple truck technologies that can reduce fuel consumption, including aerodynamic trailer skirts, base flaps, auxiliary power units and single wide-base tires.
-- Bison Transport: Up to C$500,000 toward a large-scale, fleet-wide demonstration of the operational effectiveness of aerodynamic trailer fairings, which attach to the undercarriage of standard van semi-trailers and are designed to reduce fuel consumption by reducing the aerodynamic drag caused by the trailer's wheels and axle components.
-- Group Robert Inc.: Up to $390,279 toward the large-scale, fleet-wide demonstration of the operational effectiveness of composite trailer skirts on long-haul, two- and three-axle tractor-trailers. These particular skirts, which attach to the undercarriage, are made of a composite material that is believed to offer incremental advantages in the Canadian climate, where snow and ice buildup can reduce the effectiveness of aerodynamic equipment.
-- Paradise Island Foods Inc.: Up to $104,835 to demonstrate on-board truck computers and hybrid reefer technology.
-- Teleflex Canada Ltd.: Up to $296,910 toward the demonstration of an engineless (non-petroleum) system that can supply heating, ventilation and air conditioning to trucks while they are parked, so that the main vehicle engine does not have to idle.
Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway Ltd. will receive up to C$72,146 toward the purchase of four diesel auxiliary power units (APUs), which allow locomotives to be shut down during extreme temperatures by keeping the engine oil warm and batteries charged to ensure a reliable engine startup.
Goderich-Exeter Railway Co. will receive up to C$198,401 toward the purchase of 11 APUs, Ottawa Valley-RaiLink Canada Ltd. will receive up to C$36,073 toward the purchase of two APUs, and Southern?Ontario Railway-RaiLink Canada Ltd. is getting C$126,255 toward the purchase of seven APUs.
In addition, Manitoulin Transportation Inc. will get up to C$376,695 for the purchase and installation of 60 APUs and sleeper climate-control systems that can be connected to an electrical outlet at Manitoulin facilities.
Petro-Canada will receive up to C$210,840 to help purchase a light railcar switcher to move railcars between Port Metro Vancouver and the railyard in Coquitlam, British Columbia. This new 150- to 200-horsepower switcher can replace an older 1,500- to 2,000-horsepower diesel locomotive, greatly reducing emissions.