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Saturday, February 27, 2021

CTA Heralds Manufacturing Standard for Fuel Economy/GHG Technology

Boat-tail regulation published by Transport Canada; key enviroTruck plank

When the Canadian Trucking Alliance launched its enviroTruck campaign a few years back, one of its chief goals was to change the regulatory landscape in Canada so that it accommodated fuel economy/GHG reduction technologies and devices that would enable the industry to enhance its standing as the most innovative “green” mode of freight transport.

One of the technologies promoted by enviroTruck is boat-tails — rear mounted trailer panels that reduce aerodynamic drag and can improve fuel efficiency by up to six per cent in certain highway applications. However, there was one big stumbling block toward greater installation of boat-tails – the absence of a manufacturing standard. This had Transport Canada concerned about the impact boat-tails could have in the event of other vehicles striking the rear of a truck in crash situations.

Persistence has paid off. This past weekend, after extensive consultation and testing to confirm the environmental and safety impacts of the devices, the federal government published a proposed regulation that when passed will allow for the manufacture and installation of extended length boat-tail designs on commercial trailers in Canada. The proposed regulation can be found in the Canada Gazette Pt. I. (Click here to access). The official comment period is 75 days.

CTA applauds the move as well as Transport Canada’s efforts to date. “It was a long time coming, but we are very satisfied with the outcome,” says CTA’s president and CEO, David Bradley. “Indications from the boat-tail manufacturers are that the proposed standard should meet everyone’s objectives and allow carriers access to another proven technology for improving fuel efficiency and reducing GHG.”

However, because boat-tails extend beyond the rear of the trailer, the extended length designs technically may run afoul of existing provincial weights and dimensions standards for boat tails (designs currently allowed do not produce GHG reductions). But now that there will soon be a manufacturing standard for extended length boat-tails in Canada, Bradley says he is hopeful the provincial governments will come on-board and allow the new designs that will produce quantifiable GHG reductions. To be sure, CTA and the provincial trucking associations will be renewing their call that provincial governments take whatever steps they need to in order to accommodate the technology in provincial regulations so it can be used coast-to-coast.

“We desperately need to avoid the kind of roadblocks that continue to be thrown up in some provinces to nation-wide use, for example, of wide-base single tires,” says Bradley. “The industry wants to reduce its carbon footprint through proven, currently available technologies and should not continue to be stymied by a lack of provincial regulatory harmonization or willingness to work with industry to find solutions that take into account environmental, safety and infrastructure considerations in a balanced approach.”

CTA is also hopeful the standard developed in Canada could become the basis for a North American boat-tail manufacturing standard or, at a minimum, create the conditions for a reciprocity agreement between the Canada and the United States to allow boat-tails to be utilized on both sides of the border.