For its part, Shorepower Technologies (formerly Shurepower) is currently deploying Electrified Parking Spaces (EPS) across North America. Shorepower provides EPS for Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) as well as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Shorepower TSE allows truck drivers to turn off their engines and plug into all weather electrical and communication outlets during mandatory rest periods. This reduces fuel costs, toxic exhaust emissions, maintenance costs, and noise pollution.
“The elevated cost of fuel has made companies more willing to consider these technologies despite the higher initial cost of these assets,” says Ryder’s Melluzzo. “Companies are seeing the cost-saving benefit of using electricity to run units in their yards and some have also qualified for government rebate programs, that promote the use of the electric standby and hybrid units.”
Another sustainability advancement is Carrier Transicold’s ecoFORWARD technologies for Tier IV compliance, which coordinates refrigeration with a “smarter” engine, resulting in up to 20 percent better fuel efficiency than current units.
Thermo King’s evaporator blower, called the Smooth Air Blower, can lower fuel usage by approximately 7 percent while also increasing cooling capacity by about 4 percent. The Smooth Air Blower’s blade profile is an airfoil design that helps improve efficiency. This evaporator blower, which is standard on Spectrum multi-temp units, is also available as an aftermarket solution.
Art Trahan, senior manager maintenance technical, national accounts, at Ryder, notes that food and beverage customers are showing an interest in alternative fuel vehicles, such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid natural gas (LNG) vehicles.
“We’ve got more and more natural gas powered vehicles coming onboard,” says Trahan. “[Customers] are asking about natural gas reefers to couple up with all electric units.”
The road ahead
What should be expected in the future for refrigerated trucking? The industry experts say we’re likely to see more rules and regulations geared towards promoting a cleaner environment and safer transportation of food and beverages.
“I see more and more regulatory requirements,” says Don Durm, director, strategic customer solutions, Montvale, New Jersey-based PLM Trailer Leasing. “I know that traceability will continue to be a big thing and the ability to document temperatures.”
Having the ability to accurately track and trace refrigerated products remains a key concern. Monitoring the temperatures and locations of refrigerated food and beverages is essential to make sure that the products are maintained and transported properly. Accurately tracking and tracing product is important to prevent possible mishaps that may occur with refrigerated trailers and to maintain the products’ shelf life.
Lastly, the interest in CNG and LNG vehicles will continue to grow, especially as the fuel network and infrastructure is built out across the U.S.
Leasing Options Available
When trucking isn’t a company’s core profession, leasing a fleet of refrigerated vehicles is a smart way to keep up with the latest technological advances while increasing the cost-effectiveness of operating a fleet.
“In many situations a firm is better off investing capital in other areas of their business that generate a higher return instead of investing in a depreciating asset like a truck,” says Olen Hunter, director of sales for PacLease, Bellevue, Washington. “Food and beverage companies aren’t in the trucking business; they need a reliable partner that keeps their trucks running so they can focus on their core business.”
One of the benefits that leasing has to offer is ease of maintenance. Leasing companies offer programs that can include maintenance coverage and assistance during the leasing term. This is beneficial for a company since they won’t have to spend time and money training their mechanics on the ins and outs of the new fleet equipment.
“Oftentimes, a major cost savings comes from a reduction in maintenance expense because leasing companies have predictive and preventative maintenance down to a science,” says Hunter.