By Letícia Fucuchima
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - JBS SA announced on Tuesday the creation of a business unit for renting electric trucks to distribute refrigerated cargo to retailers, helping the Brazilian meatpacker advance on its carbon emissions reduction plan and reducing logistics costs in the medium- and long-term.
No Carbon, the new company, is already operating, with a fleet of 31 electric urban cargo vehicles. Initially, they are being rented to transport companies that provide services to JBS, but the company hopes to expand operations in the future to other firms interested in emissions-free transportation.
The vehicles, produced by China's JAC Motors, already are being used to distribute Friboi, Seara, and Swift products. They will replace part of the diesel-powered trucks currently used by the group's logistics service providers.
The urban cargo vehicles are capable of carrying up to 4 tonnes of cargo and can travel up to 150 km (93 miles) per day, which makes them ideal for urban centers, Armando Volpe, No Carbon's executive director, told Reuters.
The electric fleet is operating in some parts of the Brazilian states of Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, and the country's federal capital region, where recharge points are also available at JBS distribution centers.
In the future, Volpe says the company may expand the fleet and even open the leasing of vehicles to other market players with high demand for logistics services, such as retail and e-commerce chains.
The company calculates that each electric urban cargo vehicle will prevent 30 tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide gas from entering the atmosphere per year.
They also will save money because of their lower maintenance costs compared to conventional trucks, Volpe said.
(Reporting by Letícia Fucuchima; Editing by Leslie Adler and Paul Simao)