Richardson Companies

At a Glance


Transport and Warehousing

Project Type

Zero Emission Vehicles, Freight and Logistics




Houston, TX


Keegan Hartman analyzed the emissions savings that could result from container-by-barge shipping and encouraged Richardson Companies to engage in the EPA SmartWay Program.


The Richardson Companies hosted Keegan Hartman in 2015 to help benchmark and evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions related to transporting shipping containers by tug and by barge. Richardson was opening a new container barge terminal and needed data collected and analyzed to quantify the impact on greenhouse gas emissions. With this new terminal, Richardson would be able to ship goods closer to their final destination over water instead of by truck traffic. The last portion of the journey – called the “last mile” – would still have to be by truck. Additionally, Richardson was participating in a hydrogen fuel cell Class 8 truck demonstration project and needed a model that considered the use of these trucks for the "last mile" delivery of the containers.


Working with employees in a number of business units at Richardson, Hartman determined the best way to benchmark greenhouse gas emissions was through the EPA's SmartWay Program. SmartWay provides a standard template for recording and tracking freight volume activity, and becoming a partner would allow Richardson to gain visibility from a marketing standpoint. Additionally, while the barge terminal was on the verge of opening, a critical eye was needed to determine the best way to transport the containers the "last mile" from the barge terminal to and from the customer. Hartman evaluated the use of the existing diesel truck fleet as well as purchasing a CNG fleet to do that work.

Potential Impact

The single largest factor impacting greenhouse gas emissions in the utilization of the Green Transport Barge Terminal is derived from the ability to transport up to three barge loads, carrying up to 144 x 20 foot containers or 72 x 40 foot containers at one time in a single trip/transit move. If this COB – Container on Barge – move had instead been effected by truck, it would have translated to between 72 to 144 independent truck moves. Even when based on a realistic weighted average of expected cargo volumes per tug-load (not at full 72(40’) or 144(20’)), Hartman was able to determine that using diesel trucks for the “last mile” would reduce GHG emissions by 32 percent over the status quo. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) trucks would reduce emissions by another four percent and hydrogen fuel cells trucks by 53 percent. At the end of Hartman’s summer engagement, subsidiary company Robin International Transport was registered and approved as a SmartWay partner for both the truck operation as well as the tug and barge operation. Robin becomes just the fourth barge partner in the SmartWay program, and the first to include both a trucking and barge fleet.

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