LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ — A program that reduces the number of shipping trailers that travel empty on return routes has saved Macy's thousands of dollars while also cutting diesel fuel consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions.

Macy's partnered with trucking firm Schneider National for the Empty Miles Service, launched earlier this year and developed by the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association, GS1 Canada and GS1 US. The organizations today announced  results from a case study on the new service, which helps VICS members pair their empty trailers with pre-qualified carriers that can utilize the space for shipments, called backhaul loads.

Macy's predicts the service has allowed it to enjoy 30 additional backhaul loads per week, or roughly 1,500 loads annually. The company saves about $25,000 in annualized transportation costs for each initial lane opened through the program. The company has identified 44 other potential lane opportunities that would help it eliminate trucks on the road.

Schneider estimates it has avoided more than 61 tons of carbon dioxide emissions using the service, along with using 5,554 less diesel fuel. It also eliminated other air pollutants, including 147.24 tons of particulate matter and 1.47 tons of nitrous oxide.

At the same time, the company improved its backhaul revenue by 25 percent for select accounts while also eliminating 11 percent of its empty miles.

"Carriers want nothing more than to optimize the utilization of their trucks and trailers, and the Empty Miles Service ensures that everything possible is being done to ensure that we're not shipping empty air," Robin Heugal, Schneider's supervisor of dedicated operations, said in the case study.

More than 30 companies use the Empty Miles Service, which is now available only in the U.S. It will launch in Canada in late 2009.

Image CC-licensed by Flickr user napolifd.