Icon Logistics uses fuel efficiency drives a culture change

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Icon Logistics used a fuel efficiency programme to put safety first and lift pride in the company, creating savings and efficiencies as an added bonus.

Icon Logistics uses fuel efficiency drives a culture change [pdf 126 KB]


The Dunedin-based container transport specialist and general cartage operator teamed up with EECA and fuel management advisor Steve Hammond to implement the Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Programme in 2014.

“We wanted to make the drivers more aware of the value of their vehicles and also that the standard of their conduct whilst in the vehicle was a direct reflection upon the company. They are in effect a mobile billboard for the company, therefore we set a high standard because image is everything to us”, says General Manager Tony Gare.

“Tony was extremely honest and up front with his people about the reasons behind the implementation of the programme within Icon Logistics”, says fuel management advisor Steve Hammond. “He took the drivers out to breakfast and told them that he wanted to make the company the best in Dunedin as well as the safest and most fuel efficient.”

Steve Hammond believes that clear message of intent was behind the programme’s immediate success – by the third month Icon Logistics had made 11% fuel savings. Even after a move from Fuso 6x4 units to Volvo 8x4 HPMV in the container transport fleet, the company made fuel savings despite the heavier containers. The fleet is now getting through the same amount of work as before, but with fewer incidences of overspeed and less fuel burn.

The drivers are self-monitoring their road speed, knowing that the results are posted daily on a noticeboard at the depot for all to see, and Gare says that any poor performers soon get the message from their fellow drivers. With a 98% drop in overspeeds in just six months, the message is certainly getting through.

“We’ve found that utilising technology is key to greater business efficiency. Fuel efficiency is not just about efficient and safe driving, it’s also about efficient communications to the drivers, and efficient scheduling of freight movements through better use of technology – for example all jobs are dispatched to a tablet inside the cab of the trucks.”

Gare says that once the programme was underway there was a dramatic drop in “silly incidents” because drivers became so much more aware of their behaviour. He’s especially proud of one driver with more than 37 years’ experience, who didn’t have an incident for many months after a bit of a bad run - he recently received a $50 grocery voucher as recognition for his effort towards improved health and safety. All 14 drivers were rewarded with $50 grocery vouchers for their initial efforts and the top three fuel saving drivers are rewarded monthly.

Tony Gare wants the journey to continue for Icon Logistics and its drivers long after EECA’s 12 months of funding and support finishes in March 2015. He says training will remain a big focus of the company, and it will have its own SAFEDNZ driver trainer to ensure continuity of performance.

Key results

  • 11% fuel savings by the third month, event with heavier containers
  • Effective communication with drivers and a fuel efficient driving training programme delivered  a 98% drop in overspeeds in just six months
  • Ongoing, Big Chill posts individual driver results monthly, and rewards top-achieving drivers

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