ALIA explores collaboration with UNEP’s Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles

On October 26, the Asian Lubricants Industry Association (ALIA) held a Member-to-Member Sharing Session that involved the presentation of a new ALIA Whitepaper on commercial vehicle lubricants. Presented by Paul Nai, senior director at Lubrizol Southeast Asia, the session highlighted some of the challenges faced by modern engine lubricants and outlined the disparity between recommended lubricants and those in use.  The whitepaper will be released to ALIA members in early November and will be made available for advocacy and for members to run their stakeholder education.

The virtual meeting included a panel session with Srikanth Visvanathan, marketing director for Asia Pacific at bp, and Bert Fabian, program officer, Sustainable Mobility Unit at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP is the global authority that sets the environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment..  One of the organisation’s biggest initiatives is the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) — a leading global public-private initiative promoting cleaner fuels and vehicles in developing countries. The initiative led the global phase-out of leaded gasoline, and is now spearheading efforts to phase-down sulfur in fuels and address vehicle emissions through the adoption of advanced emission control technologies and regulation of global used vehicles trade.

During the session, Fabian stressed the significance of ALIA’s whitepaper in putting into context some of the key issues of the PCFV and identified an opportunity to coordinate efforts between ALIA and PCFV to address shared environmental goals. The discussion included the potential to share important and usable data, such as the demographics of truck fleets in targeted countries.

Visvanathan highlighted growing challenges with aftertreatment devices due to the incorrect use of oil, however, he acknowledged the difficulty of demonstrating the link between cause and effect and changing customer habits.

The Castrol representative emphasised gaps in the awareness of truck owners and those responsible for maintenance or hardware changes, and a high level of cost sensitivity of customers. Even the benefits of fuel economy are difficult to demonstrate due to the variability of this metric, says Visvanathan. It is critical that we translate the issue into a dollar value and move from cost per litre to a total cost of ownership model, he says. Drain intervals were acknowledged as one of the most successful ways to articulate the benefits across geographies.Visvanathan outlined several of the key enablers of improvements in lubricant quality including fleetisation that requires more sophisticated maintenance schedules, e-commerce that is changing logistic models, and digitisation and innovation — that enables companies to move to a predictive/preventative maintenance approach. He advocated an Ecosystem approach to help bridge the gap.

The ALIA whitepaper includes data from China, India, Thailand, and Indonesia. Nai indicated a follow-up survey would be completed by ALIA to understand lubricant quality in other Asian countries and to provide additional data for advocacy purposes.

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