SUPERVALU Unveils New Natural Gas Powered Truck Fleet And Fill Station

Food is now arriving at grocery store shelves across the East Coast with a smaller carbon footprint, thanks to the recent purchase by SUPERVALU ® INC. of 35 Class 8 Volvo trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG). The fleet, which operates out of SUPERVALU’s Mechanicsville, Va., distribution center and currently serves approximately 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, is the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.

To power the new trucks, Trillium CNG TM, a leading provider of compressed natural gas fueling solutions, built and will operate a fast-fill CNG station at SUPERVALU’s Mechanicsville distribution center. The conversion to natural gas will reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than 1 million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the environmental benefits, the new CNG fleet and fast-fill station is expected to reduce SUPERVALU’s operating costs given the lower cost of compressed natural gas.

The new trucks and fast-fill station were officially unveiled today at a ceremony attended by Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, as well as several local and company officials.

“Our decision to transition to natural-gas-powered trucks is in keeping with SUPERVALU’s long-standing commitment to do business in a sustainable manner,” said Mike Lech, vice president of logistics for SUPERVALU’s Eastern Region. “This project is not only good for the environment, but also for the bottom line, as each natural-gas-powered truck will cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce fuel usage for our fleet. We’re proud of this effort and the many great partners who helped make it a reality.”

Utilizing Trillium’s high-performance fast-fill hydraulic intensifier, the new station can fuel trucks at a rate of 8-to-10 gallons per minute.

The fill station is the first of two Trillium stations planned in the Richmond, Va., area. The second is under construction at GRTC Transit System, the public transit agency jointly owned by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, and is expected to be operational in three to four months. By the end of the second quarter 2014, Trillium CNG will be operating 81 CNG stations nationwide, with 54 of them having public access.

“The CNG station we built at the SUPERVALU distribution center in Mechanicsville, Va., is a turnkey fueling solution that allows SUPERVALU to focus on converting its fleet while Trillium focuses on the necessary fueling infrastructure to help SUPERVALU meet its transportation goals,” said Mary Boettcher, president, Trillium CNG. “We welcome SUPERVALU as a customer and applaud its commitment to CNG vehicle fueling for its Eastern Region fleet.”

In addition to serving hundreds of independently owned grocery stores, the Mechanicsville distribution center supplies SUPERVALU’s Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy banner, which operates 42 stores primarily in Virginia, as well as more than 50 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

Volvo Trucks designed the new trucks specifically to meet SUPERVALU’s grocery hauling needs, and each features the latest innovations in clean-burning compressed natural gas. The trucks were all built at Volvo’s Dublin, Va., plant, where all of the company's North American vehicles are constructed.

"We're pleased to partner with SUPERVALU to deliver the latest in natural gas-powered vehicle technology," said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. "Grocery distribution provides an excellent opportunity for environmentally conscious companies like SUPERVALU to utilize the clean-burning, domestically abundant fuel."

SUPERVALU operates 20 distribution centers across the United States and has slightly more than 400 trucks in its national company-owned fleet, excluding its Save-A-Lot network that operates separately. The Mechanicsville distribution center has a total of 105 tractors in its fleet, and has set a goal of converting approximately 65 percent of its total fleet to natural gas by 2015.

About SUPERVALU INC. SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the United States with annual sales of approximately $17 billion. SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of approximately 3,420 stores composed of 1,900 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s food distribution business, 1,334 Save-A-Lot stores, of which 957 are operated by licensee owners; and 191 traditional retail grocery stores. Headquartered in Minnesota, SUPERVALU has approximately 35,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU, visit www.supervalu.com.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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