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23 April 2019

Electric lorry for Meulenberg Transport

"As an established company, we like to set a good example"

Electric freight traffic is technically possible. The vehicles are currently still in the experimental phase, but progress has been promising. In July, Meulenberg Transport in Urmond will be the second company in the Euregio to receive an electric lorry via the electric Green Last Mile (eGLM) partnership. This is a fantastic development that will result in significant CO2 reductions.

At Meulenberg Transport, many journeys are made from the home base in Urmond to Sappi, Chemelot, the port in Stein, and the port in Genk. These are shorter distances for which electric freight traffic is perfect. 

Environmentally friendly

Meulenberg Transport is a family business that was founded in 1921. The business has a fleet of 40 lorries and has access to a port and a rail terminal. The company wants to do business in a socially and environmentally responsible way and is already making various efforts to achieve this, such as using rail and inland shipping as much as possible (bulk and sea containers) and paying close attention to driving as few 'unloaded' kilometres as possible. ‘The trick is to always find a suitable return freight,’ says director Wil Meulenberg. ‘But no matter how optimally we use freight traffic, it's still relatively bad for the environment. Even the cleanest lorry uses one litre of fuel for every three kilometres.’

Electric Green Last Mile partnership

Logistics broker Mark Luikens of Maastricht Bereikbaar came up with the idea to participate in electric Green Last Mile (eGLM) via the Limburg Electric Foundation. This is project set up by the European Union and focuses on freight traffic in Venlo and Duisburg both regional logistics hotspots. It wants to take an important step in making the transport sector more sustainable. The seven 100% electric lorries with their quick chargers minimize CO2 emissions, particulate matter pollution, and noise. The German transport company Köppen was the first participating company to receive an electric lorry in May. In July, Meulenberg will receive the second converted 44-tonne lorry. 

Setting a good example

For Wil, participating in the project is a given. ‘It’s because we, as an established company, want to set a good example. The entire procedure takes time and effort and also carries risks. Electric freight traffic is not a proven method of transport, which makes us a test case. We are very aware of this and decided to participate anyway in the hope that other companies will follow our example.’

Smartly setting up loading points

The electric vehicle is suitable for driving about 50,000 kilometres per year and runs an average of 150 kilometres on a full battery. ‘We plan to drive about 40,000 kilometres per year,’ says Wil. ‘We're going to start with standard chargers, as fast chargers are a major investment. We are currently consulting with the companies where we load and unload to set up the charging points. We want to be able to charge the lorries at Sappi while we are loading the containers for inland shipping. But if that is not possible, we will have to move to other loading points in the vicinity. It won't be optimal in July and it will be a case of trial and error in the beginning, but if all parties cooperate a bit, it will turn out all right. We are ready for the future!’

FIER Automotive, the Province of Limburg, and LIOF provided support for this project. 

Mark Luikens
Projectleider Logistiek