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Ninatrans reduces CO2 emission with Trimble on-board computer

For Ninatrans, socially responsible business is a top priority. Smart IT solutions form an indispensable link in this. The specialist in time-critical transports therefore uses the CarCube, the on-board computer of Trimble Transport & Logistics. “The effects of driving style training diminish after a while. That’s why you should continue to keep an eye on your driving style, and the CarCube helps you with this”, says managing director Benny Smets of Ninatrans, which has been named Carrier of the year 2013.

The choice for Trimble

“The architecture of the Trimble solutions is modern and open, which makes it easy to integrate them with our TMS.”

Benny Smets, Managing Director Ninatrans

Winner of the Lean & Green Award

On 3 February 2013, as one of the first companies in Belgium, Ninatrans received a Lean & Green Award. This means that the transport company from Leuven is set to reduce its CO2 emission by at least twenty percent in five years time.
One of the measures is to install OptiFlow Sidewings, wind conductors mounted to the side of the vehicles that significantly improve the aerodynamics of the lorries. Ninatrans is the first company in Belgium that is using these Sidewings. The company has, moreover, relocated to more energy-efficient premises with a car wash that utilises reusable water. “Other measures include reduction in fuel consumption and improving the driving style of our drivers. As well as better planning”, says Benny Smets, managing director of Ninatrans. An important role when implementing these measures was played by the CarCube, the on-board computer, which Ninatrans has been using since 2007.

Driving style improvement

Ninatrans is an intensive user of the driving style analysis, one of the many functionalities of the CarCube. “Driving style has a large impact on diesel consumption. We have our own coach who uses information from the on-board computer to monitor and, if necessary, adjust drivers’ driving style. This may give a reduced fuel consumption of up to ten percent.”
"In practice, this means that the Ninatrans fleet could potentially save 3 litres of fuel for every 100 kilometres driven. With 120 vehicles, each of which drives 120,000 kilometres a year, this could lead to potential savings of 432,000 euros”, says Smets, who adds that coaching in itself is not enough to permanently change driving style. “The effects of training tend to diminish after a while. That’s why we use CarCube to continue to monitor the driving style of our drivers.”
Another functionality that affects the CO2 emission is truck navigation. “This means that this navigation system takes account of lorry restrictions, such as the maximum permissible weight or the height of fly-overs. This enables our vehicles nearly always to follow the most efficient route”, according to Smets.
Another advantage of the CarCube is that vehicles can be closely monitored. “This allows us to schedule follow-up trips or return trips more accurately because we can see exactly which driver is nearest."

Part of total solution

The contribution the CarCube makes towards the reduction of CO2 emissions was not the main reason for us to acquire this on-board computer in 2007. The main reason was its transparency and simple IT structure. “Thanks to my training as an IT analyst, I have always been very much interested in the IT aspects of transport. The architecture of the Trimble solutions is modern and open, which makes it easy to integrate them with our TMS.”
This is not as obvious as it seems, according to Smets. “Before we started working with Trimble, we had been using a different on-board computer for a number of years. But I was not really satisfied with this; the on-board computer was not linked to our TMS and we could therefore only use it for communication with our drivers.
According to the general manager of Ninatrans, these changes were due to Trimble’s strategy. “They specialise in on-board computers and provide best-of-breed solutions. They realise that an on-board computer should be an integral part of the total solution.”
As an IT expert, Smets is also happy with the development of the FleetXps app, Trimble’s application for Android smart phones. “Twenty percent of our trips are now carried out by subcontractors. Thanks to the new app, we are now better equipped to monitor these trips.”

Easy to use

Ninatrans also uses the CarCube for its pay administration. The on-board computer is integrated for this purpose with the LogicWay software. “The system enables us to pre-calculate salaries based on the performance of our drivers. If you have to do this manually, it is hard to avoid rounding errors”, says Smets.
Over the years, Smets has invested in additional functions such as document scanning in the cabin. Through the on-board computers, the scanned documents are sent directly to the TMS. “In the past, drivers had to drive to the office first, now they no longer have to. It saves kilometres. It also allows us to invoice sooner than we used to, which helps us to save costs.”
For the drivers, the CarCube is easy to use, despite all the different options. “Also for drivers with limited education. After a two-hour instruction anyone can start to use this on-board computer”, Smets found out.
Thanks in part to Trimble’s solutions, Ninatrans has proven to be a transport company that has shown positive developments over the past few years. Smets explains: “In spite of the recession, we have still managed to grow. At the same time, we have been able to realise our ambition to be a socially responsible business. Thanks in part to the CarCube, we have been able to give much attention to training and coaching of our drivers. After all, they are the strength of our company.

Read all about how Ninatrans got elected Transporter of the Year 2013 here.

Reference Ninatrans
Number of employees


Vehicle fleet

110 tractor units, 10 lorries and 225 trailers


Time-critical transports including air freight

Operating area

European Union


CarCube, FleetXps app
Integration: CarCube integrated with existing back office systems and LogicWay


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