Haulier is first in Ireland to use gas-fuelled trucks
Cavan haulier Virginia International Logistics has become the first in Ireland to introduce environmentally friendly CNG fuel to its fleet.
The family-owned firm in Maghera, Co Cavan, has taken possession of five trucks powered with compressed natural gas. Fifteen more on order are expected by the end of 2019.
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According to Gas Networks Ireland, which is developing the technology here, CNG trucks emit 99pc less particulate matter, 80pc less sulphur dioxide, 70pc less nitrogen oxide and a fifth less carbon dioxide than conventionally fuelled vehicles. While millions of CNG-powered vehicles are already on the road worldwide - from Egypt to Singapore - Virginia Logistics is the first operator in Ireland.
This required the company to invest in two CNG fuelling stations at its Maghera headquarters off the M3 and at its Dublin depot.
Virginia Logistics' transport director Ray Cole said the company fleet covers 12 million kilometres annually in Ireland, the UK and continental Europe, where CNG refuelling networks are growing, allowing the new trucks to operate without the risk of becoming stranded.
Mr Cole said Virginia Logistics wanted to improve "the negative impact our business was having on the natural environment. We started to look at meaningful ways of reducing our carbon footprint. These 20 CNG trucks represent the biggest leap forward yet for our company in achieving that goal."
The investment received support from Ulster Bank's asset-finance division, Lombard Ireland.
Its head of asset and invoice finance, Colm Furlong, said it was "a great source of pride to be involved with a company leading the way in Ireland with new technology that will ultimately benefit us all".
He said Lombard "stands ready to support any company willing to make the leap towards a greener future".
The CNG-powered trucks will replace older vehicles in Virginia Logistics' 120-truck fleet.
The business won Environmental Haulier of the Year at the Fleet Transport Awards in 2015 and the Transport Award at this year's Green Awards.