Using food waste collected from 41 stores of the German supermarket chain Lidl, McCulla will start to create fully renewable biomethane gas at its own anaerobic digester plant in Lisburn. This will power a sustainable, next-generation transport operation to deliver produce to Lidl stores across Northern Ireland – every day.

The new fleet of eight biomethane-powered trucks marks the first significant business integration between the European transport and retail sector and represents a major step forward in its collective move to slash carbon emissions.

The new compressed natural gas-powered Iveco S-WAY NP 4×2 tractor-unit trucks, supplied by local dealer NI Trucks, will deliver improved efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions on retail deliveries by up to 93% when operating on biomethane.

Conor Boyle, regional director of Lidl Northern Ireland, comments: “This partnership with McCulla underlines our commitment to developing sustainable and innovative solutions that create real impact in every area of our business. From using renewable electricity to power our stores to advancing our Plastic Pledge and introducing numerous in-store initiatives to reduce waste, Lidl Northern Ireland is leading the way.

“We’re thrilled to now be the first supermarket retailer to successfully integrate the first waste-to-energy sustainable transport model. McCulla’s fleet covers more than 2 300 road miles (more than 3 700 km) per day, ensuring the safe and timely delivery of fresh and chilled foods to more than 300 000 weekly customers across our regional store network.

“We’re proud to work alongside McCulla to pave the way for the sector and for Northern Ireland in driving a cleaner, greener economy through responsible business practices.”

With more than 50 years’ experience in the haulage industry, McCulla is one of the leading providers of ambient, chilled and frozen logistics solutions throughout the UK and Ireland, and has been working with Lidl Northern Ireland for the past five years. Remaining family-owned and operating from Lisburn and Dublin, McCulla employs 235 staff across a variety of roles, the most recent being employed to manage the company’s new Customs Clearance division.

Ashley McCulla, chairman of McCulla, adds: “Since 2017 we have been producing all of our own electricity from an anaerobic digester (AD) plant at our site in Lisburn, but our ultimate goal was always to use energy produced by the AD plant to power our logistics fleet as well. Working with Lidl Northern Ireland, we’ve realised that ambition and we’re honoured to be part of a real first for the industry, and for Northern Ireland.

“For many retailers dedicated to decarbonisation, transport and logistics can be challenging. However, with our expertise and experience – and dedicated partnership with Lidl Northern Ireland – this milestone initiative will deliver major environmental benefits for years to come.”

* This article has been adapted, with kind permission, from a piece that was published in Fleet Transport Weekly, a newsletter from Fleet Publications, the largest publisher of transport-oriented magazines in Ireland.

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