Greeley, CO-based JBS Carriers, a 48-state truckload carrier handling both refrigerated and non-refrigerated freight, has been named the “2013 Green Fleet of the Year” by FleetOwner and WIX Filters, the award’s co-sponsor. The award recognizes trucking companies that deploy green technologies to reduce energy consumption in their operations.

The 48-state truckload carrier, a division of JBS USA, handles both dry and reefer freight and was selected for the honor by the editors of FleetOwner for rolling out a greening program that cut fuel consumption by 16% percent in one year while also boosting driver morale and retention. JBS Carriers was also cited for its commitment to working toward further fuel efficiency gains over the long term.

“Our business goals are focused on how to optimize our fleet, improve our fleet and attract and retain drivers,” said Rodrigo Horvath, president of JBS Carriers. “We developed our fleet greening process with these goals in mind, and after one year, our fuel consumption is down and we have record lows in driver turnover.”

WIX Filters, a member of the Affinia Group family of brands, and FleetOwner, a Penton Media publication/website for owners and top executives of commercial trucking fleets, will present the award to JBS Carriers in June at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Washington, DC.

“JBS Carriers is proving that an interstate trucking fleet can see significant cost savings through the implementation of smart fuel consumption strategies,” said Mike Harvey, brand manager for WIX Filters. “JBS has also created an incentive structure for its drivers with a goal of fuel savings over the long term, making them an excellent choice as our seventh annual green fleet winner.”

As part of the award, WIX will conduct a comprehensive fleet assessment designed to reduce business costs for JBS Carriers and also supply the company with its ecoLAST oil filters, a line of heavy duty oil filters designed for over-the-road applications.

JBS Carriers’ Horvath noted that the installation of auxiliary power units (APUs) on its sleepers as a greening initiative has paid dividends for the company’s bottom line and its drivers since they were installed in 2012.

“The heating and cooling units give our drivers an opportunity to have a better environment, both in cold and hot weather,” he explained.  “As a result, the idle time of our sleeper fleet has dropped by more than 10% and the units have created a positive experience for our drivers.”

JBS Carriers outfitted 16 tractors with APUs in 2012, resulting in a 16% drop in fuel consumption by increasing MPG performance by almost a mile. These improvements in fuel economy produced savings of more than $9,400 per year per truck. Currently, 267 of the company’s 760-tractor fleet have been outfitted with APUs; more are due to come online in 2013.

“The APUs go to driver well-being, showing that you care about the driver as much as the cargo you’re shipping,” Cameron Bruett, director of sustainability and corporate communications for JBS Carriers, pointed out.

Along with improving fuel economy through the use of APUs, JBS Carriers also achieved savings by outfitting its trailers with side skirts and switching to low-rolling resistance tires. The company has also improved fuel usage through a fuel-optimization software program that chooses the best route based on mileage and fuel price. The software also enables JBS Carriers to offer drivers quarterly bonuses based on MPG savings.