Bringing our products from our processing plants to store shelves around the country gives us another opportunity to reduce environmental impacts.
Our transportation and logistics operations are an intricate network of distribution centers, trucks, rail, and intermodal vehicles—all of which need energy and fuel as well as materials for regular maintenance and repair.
Ideally, we want to minimize the distance that products travel before they reach our customers’ stores, as well as minimize the total number of vehicles used to transport our products. For example, most mileage from our distribution center to a retailer is less than 350 miles. We can cut down on energy use and air and noise emissions, while also saving money.
Transplace, our provider of transportation management services and logistics technology solutions, announced that Del Monte Foods and other leading shippers have successfully completed 2016 emissions reporting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership.
SmartWay is a voluntary and cost-free program that supports companies’ initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from freight supply chain transportation activities. In order to join the SmartWay program, Transplace worked with our Transportation team to collect, monitor and report transportation emissions performance data.
Reducing Total Network Miles
We track “total network miles” as a way to determine the success of our efforts to reduce the distance our finished products travel between processing plant and store. Since 2015, we have eliminated 2.3 million miles (the equivalent of approximately 390,000 gallons of diesel fuel) from our distribution network through a variety of initiatives. These include:
- Optimizing networks. We serve each customer from a source location that minimizes miles travelled. We have multiple distribution centers across the country with each one strategically placed at a location close to the final delivery point. The preference is to utilize rail, intermodal before trucking to effectively minimize the associated emissions with each transportation mode.
- Expanding production capabilities. We carefully evaluate the best placement for our production facilities so that finished goods travel the shortest distance possible to their final destination. We also shift production or expand plant capacity if demand for finished products increases in areas located near existing plants.
- Maximizing Utilization of Rail. Shipping our transfer freight via rail eliminates 80% of the carbon footprint that a truck produces. Since 2015, we have increased our railcar utilization by 500 cars (the equivalent of 2000 trucks) which has taken an additional two million truckload miles off the road.