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Nicholls Transport, haulage partners for Knauf UK and Ireland has embarked on a transformative journey to exclusively use renewable fuel across its fleet of liquified natural gas (BioLNG) trucks. The shift has garnered widespread acclaim from Knauf and the wider industry, and has been recognised in multiple awards for its significant contribution towards a more carbon efficient supply chain.

The fleet of trucks, instrumental in facilitating deliveries across the UK and Ireland for Knauf, now run on Biomethane, a renewable natural gas derived from organic matter decomposition, instead of conventional diesel. In 2023 alone, Nicholls’s initiative saved 2,992 tonnes of CO2 from being produced. Carbon saving declarations are always rigorously reviewed and approved by the Department for Transport before being certified.

The journey to sustainability

Nicholls purchased its first fleet of BioLNG powered trucks in 2019 along with installing the only BioLNG refuelling station in the South East at its Sittingbourne facility. Since then, the fleet has expanded to 42 BioLNG trucks, achieving an incredible 191% saving on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) compared to its previous diesel fleet.

Rob Gearing, Head of Commercial and Business Development for Nicholls explains their route to creating a more sustainable business model: “Our vision started in 2014 with the building of a new site to include photovoltaic panels on the roofs to produce our own electricity and rainwater capture for use with the truck wash.”

In 2018, BioLNG trucks were trialled and following the success, a local refuelling site was built on the Nicholls site to accommodate the fleet as well as serving the local area. “We started with 10 trucks, now we’re up to 42. Infrastructure used to be the main barrier but as this grows, so does our fleet.”

Celebrated by the industry

The impressive move has been recognised and celebrated throughout the industry, with Nicholls winning the highly-coveted Supply Chain Excellence award in the Clean Transport category, beating major players such as Coca Cola, DPD, Jaguar Land Rover and Evri. Judges commented on the growth of Nicholls green fleet, as well as its commitment to encouraging other hauliers to follow in its footsteps.

The fleet has also been recognised with a GREENFLEET Award in the Commercial Sector Fleet of the Year category, and Nicholls’ Group chairman, Paul Nicholls is listed in GreenFleet’s 100 Most Influential 2024 list. The list is designed to highlight stand-out figures who are making big achievements in the move to decarbonise fleets and transport.



Working together for a better future

Nicholls are not only continuing to look at ways of improving sustainability within its own business model, but also aiming to encourage other hauliers to follow suit. Additionally, Nicholls has been appointed as Green Champions by motor manufacturers IVECO, to provide ongoing advice and support for improving the fleet industry’s sustainability measures.

Planning permission requested by Nicholls to build the south east’s first public BioLNG, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and refuelling station has been approved. It means that vital infrastructure can be provided for other local hauliers, with the aim of encouraging more companies to make the same move towards decarbonising fleets.

The work does not stop at the fleet for Nicholls, as other green initiatives have been introduced on site, including its own set of beehives to help pollinate local nature and produce its very own honey – Nicholls Nectar. 

Knauf’s commitment to sustainability

Similarly, Knauf is committed to a high standard of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Brian Moran, Logistics Manager at Knauf remembers creating the partnership with Nicholls: “The first priority was choosing to partner with a haulier who was committed to becoming more renewable.”

“When I met with Nicholls, I was impressed by the fact they had undertaken their green journey themselves without any pressure from customers. They were already on a committed and defined sustainability journey,” Brian recalls.

“While we do still use diesel trucks for deliveries where distance and infrastructure for BioLNG isn’t viable, we are making the move to using more BioLNG trucks for our deliveries” Brian notes.

Celebrating this achievement and commitment to both sustainability and Nicholls, Knauf unveiled the first of many new liveried trucks highlighting the CO2 savings generated by the BioLNG trucks.

“We’re extremely proud of the accomplishment by Nicholls and continue to be impressed and inspired by their green journey. With Nicholls bringing more BioLNG trucks into their fleet, this not only benefits our partnership but the industry and environment as a whole,” summarises Brian.

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