Saltchuk, one of the largest privately-held companies in Washington, employs approximately 7500 people. Through its family of companies, Saltchuk provides air cargo, domestic and international shipping and logistics, marine services, nationwide and Alaska trucking & logistics, and petroleum distribution.
Like all Washington companies, Saltchuk is committed to operating in a way that minimizes impacts to the environment. Specifically, they’ve promoted clean technology and alternative fuels that have set new standards in reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality in the transportation industry. These are the types of investments that are driving low-carbon innovation in every industry sector.
Here are a couple of examples:
TOTE, one of Saltchuk’s companies, is operating the first two natural-gas powered containerships in the U.S. maritime industry. The new vessels are the most advanced and environmentally responsible of their kind, reducing vessel sulfur emissions (SOx) by 97 percent, particulate matter (PM) by 98 percent, nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 60 percent, and carbon dioxide (CO2) by 72 percent, while providing safe, reliable cargo deliveries. The carbon reductions from one of these vessels is equivalent to removing 7,850 cars from the road.
In addition to new ships, TOTE is converting its existing fleet to run on natural gas. TOTE’s two Orca Class vessels serving the Alaska trade will be converted with minimal time out of service and return as the most environmentally sophisticated ships in the nation. As a result of the conversion, the Orcas will set new standards for environmental responsibility by reducing SOx emission by 100 percent, PM by 91 percent, NOx by 90 percent, and CO2 by 35 percent.
On land, Saltchuk is reducing emissions through Interstate Distributor, a trucking company it operates. Interstate made history in August 2014 when it became the first national freight carrier based in the Pacific Northwest to “go green,” adding 20 new liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors to its fleet. An EPA SmartWay member since the programs’ inception in 2004, Interstate consistently monitors and improves fuel efficiency and the environmental performance of its fleet.
While Washington regulators continue to focus on top-down, one-size-fits-all regulatory regimes for reducing carbon, our companies continue the leadership they’ve been showing for a long time. Business owners share Washington’s values of environmental protection and are committed to finding ways to reduce emissions. That’s why Washington’s combined carbon emissions from the commercial and industrial sector are now below the levels they were in 1990, despite a doubling of the state’s economy.
If regulators were interested in joining them in this effort, they could learn a lot about how innovation and efficiencies are already reducing Washington’s carbon dioxide emissions.