Moving Goods

Trucking: Going Greener

A permitting process that takes climate into account can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the commercial trucking industry. B.C. has facilitated the reduction of fuel use in these ways:

  • Allowing the use of long-combination vehicles (trucks with two trailers) on designated highways means less truck traffic and lower GHG emissions.
  • Providing a weight exemption, up to a maximum of 225 kg, allows vehicles to carry an auxiliary power unit (APU) – eliminating the need for engine idling to power air-conditioning and other truck cab comforts.
  • Divisible loads are those that can be arranged in such a way that a commercial vehicle can increase the amount of goods carried while still remaining within permissible limits. Expanding the divisible load permit program makes each vehicle more productive, enabling fewer trucks to haul more payload, which results in fewer GHG emissions. 


Weigh2GoBC allows commercial vehicles to bypass inspection stations using a network of Weigh-in-Motion and Automatic Vehicle Identification Transponder technologies. This provides savings in fuel use and reduces GHG emissions and costs. It is estimated that a commercial vehicle uses between 0.41 litres and 0.733 litres each time the driver reports to an inspection station.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard

B.C.'s renewable and low-carbon fuel requirement mandates a 10% reduction in the carbon content of fuels by 2020, and 5% renewable content in gasoline (4% in diesel). This reduces the environmental impacts of transportation and reduces the province’s reliance on non-renewable fuels. The use of renewable and low carbon fuel in 2012 saved 904,868 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the environment, the equivalent of about 190,499 cars being removed from the road.

Border Crossings

Working with partners in Washington State, the Province of B.C. designed and constructed new lanes to accommodate more efficient cross-border travel. Under the FAST program for commercial transport, border services scan pre-approved documents for expedited crossing, while all trade data declarations and verification are processed at a later time. The FAST program is used for an estimated 60,000 crossings each year at the Pacific Highway border, saving about 1.5 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) at Port Metro

At Port Metro Vancouver, real-time monitoring tools help port users optimize operations, reducing wait times and idling. The Province provided $560,000 to Port Metro Vancouver to equip over 1,700 trucks within the port's system with GPS units. These GPS units provide data to help track information in real-time for trucks en route to and from container terminals.

The Province also provided support for the Empty Container Information System Concept of Operation Study (ECIS). In future, this system would enable the exchange of information about container availability, optimizing transport and logistics at the port.

Canada Place

To improve air quality at Canada's busiest port, the Province invested $3 million to enable cruise ships to plug in at Port Metro Vancouver. Shore power allows ships to turn off their diesel-fueled engines and use cleaner power while docked. The number of cruise ships that have connected to the system has increased substantially in the last five years, reducing potential greenhouse gases by 8,400 tonnes – the equivalent of about 68,175 long haul airplane flights (of about 1,108 km each).

Shore power at Canada Place was the first its kind in Canada — the result of a $9-million investment on the part of Transport Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada. B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Port Metro Vancouver, Princess Cruises, Holland America and BC Hydro.

Port of Prince Rupert

The Province of British Columbia provided $100,000 to the Port of Prince Rupert to support the installation of shore power to reduce emissions from berthed container ships. Now, when cargo ships come into this port they can turn off their engines and plug into clean power. Shore power at the Port of Prince Rupert is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 4,000 tonnes annually – the equivalent of about 32,465 long haul airplane flights (of about 1,108 km each).