PITTSTON TWP. — The local United Parcel Service center soon will begin converting its delivery vehicles to natural gas power as part of the parent company’s business plan to improve its carbon footprint.
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, toured the UPS facility in Pittston Township on Monday and learned of the corporate decision to convert vehicles to alternative fuels, and natural gas has been chosen to be the fuel of choice for the local depot.
Cartwright was at the facility off Armstrong Road to meet with UPS officials and employees to talk about several issues, including the company’s “labor-friendly” relationship with the Teamsters Union. More than 400,000 UPS workers nationwide are union members.
“UPS has always had a great relationship with the Teamsters,” Cartwright said. “And the plan to convert the vehicles to natural gas shows that they are interested in sustainability and energy independence.”
Bob McGuire, Frank Govan and Dennis Mundt hosted Cartwright on his tour and talked about UPS and its operations.
According to the UPS officials:
• All 80-90 vehicles will be converted to natural gas. The start date for the conversion has not been announced. McGuire said UPS has begun converting its vehicles in big cities.
• The local center employs about 240 people, about 130 as drivers. McGuire said there are plans to hire an additional seven to 14 tractor-trailer drivers in 2014, adding to the 18 currently driving the big rigs. UPS is also planning to hire an additional 17 drivers for the regular routes.
• UPS, founded in 1907, employs about 395,000 people worldwide, with 96,361 package cars, vans, tractors, motorcycles, including 3,152 alternative-fuel and technology vehicles — including all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, CNG, LNG, liquid propane gas (LPG), bio-methane and light-weight, fuel-saving composite-body vehicles.
McGuire said the use of the more efficient natural gas will improve the company’s bottom line.
“UPS is concerned about its carbon footprint and the environment,” McGuire said. “If we can, we would like to have a natural gas pump station here on site.”
Setting an example
Colleen Connolly of the state Department of Environmental Protection office in Wilkes-Barre, said the regulatory agency likes to see large companies such as UPS take the initiative to convert vehicles.
“”Maybe if other companies see UPS doing it, they will consider converting vehicles as well,” Connolly said. “Everywhere you look you see a UPS truck. Companies find the alternative fuel burns cleaner and gets better mileage.”
McGuire said he was pleased have Cartwright at the UPS facility.
“It’s important that he takes the time to learn about our business and to talk to our employees,” McGuire said. “And it’s important for us to have the opportunity to let him know what we do here and what we are all about.”