Two Tales Of Transport Refrigeration

January 9, 2006
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Transport refrigeration continues to have a higher and higher profile with all the attention being paid to food safety and the movement of consumable products, often long distances from the source to the destination.

Here is a profile of two such applications.

THE DAIRY BUSINESS

Despite having customers like Starbucks Coffee Co., Barnes & Noble, ARAMARK, Cullinart, and more than 1,200 New York City board of education schools on its roster, New York-based Bartlett Dairy Inc. never forgets its roots. Founded in 1963 by Thomas Malave Sr., Bartlett Dairy started as a door-to-door home delivery and retail milk distributor in Queens. Today, the company has grown into one of the nation's largest minority-owned dairy suppliers with a diversified inventory of more than 500 items, including cake, pastries, frozen fruits, juice, fresh-baked breads and rolls, soups, cheeses, and milk.

Milk and milk products remain Bartlett's primary business. In fact, Bartlett is the largest fresh milk distributor in the Northeast for Elmhurst Dairy. Milk is placed on Bartlett refrigerated trucks the same day it is processed for next-day delivery. By eliminating the middleman (i.e., storage depots, warehouses), Bartlett's milk is often two days fresher than that of its competitors.

Transport refrigeration is taking on more importance due to food safety issues and large shipping distances.
Bartlett Dairy depends on its fleet of 75 Thermo King-refrigerated Mack trucks to meet its next-day delivery guarantee to a customer list in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

"We deliver to restaurants, schools, retail stores, institutions, supermarkets, and mom and pop grocery stores - all of which are counting on timely deliveries," said Tom Malave Jr., president. "We've been a customer of Thermo King for 15 years and are impressed with the dependability of the units, the parts availability, and the service and response time we get from our dealer, Thermo King of Long Island."

Bartlett's reefer fleet consists primarily of TS-500 50 model refrigeration units for 22- to 28-foot trucks. The company switched to the TS unit in 2001 after seeing it on Thermo King of Long Island's demo trailer.

"We asked for a demonstration on the TS and never looked back," said Malave. "It provides better performance, lower maintenance costs, and improved fuel consumption."

The company chose the 50 Model because of the electric standby option. "Bartlett trucks are loaded and parked in a large facility until the load is ready to be distributed," explained Michael Rudnick, owner of Thermo King of Long Island. "The electric plug-in option not only saves money in diesel fuel, but eliminates the emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect."

Besides the TS-500 units, Bartlett purchases Ancra load bars from Thermo King to help secure, protect, and contain products during transport. Rudnick and staff conducted a product demo upon delivery of the first TS units to Bartlett's lead technicians so that they could instruct drivers on the units' operation.

The Bartlett Dairy facility covers a radius of four city blocks in Jamaica, Queens, and includes an Elmhurst Dairy processing plant. Thomas Malave Sr.'s five sons - Michael, Kenny, Jimmy, Donald, and Tom Jr. - now manage Bart-lett Dairy, growing the business to more than 75 routes, with approximately $100 million in sales since the company's 1990 incorporation.

The company employs more than 150 people, including office, sales, ordering, warehousing, and delivery personnel, and offers services such as online ordering and service seven days a week. Within the next few years, the company plans to expand throughout the entire East Coast.

ON THE ROAD

With more than 30 years of experience, W.L.A. Inc. owner Bill Anderson knows what makes a successful business.

"We treat our customers and employees with respect and consistently operate with strong Christian and family values. We take pride in our employees and equipment, providing clean, modern, up-to-date equipment and technology - all in an effort to provide the best transportation service available."

After selling the 1973-founded Anderson and Webb Trucking Co. (then known as A&W) in 1986 and waiting out a three-year no-compete clause, Anderson opened Mount Airy, N.C.-based W.L.A. Inc. in 1990.

The company offers 48-state transportation services with main freight lines to California, Washington, Oregon, and Midwestern states, then back to Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Outbound freight consists of automobile filters, car care products, foam chemicals, textiles, and food products. Inbound freight consists of furniture, fresh produce, and other food products.

W.L.A. transports customer loads with its fleet of 125 trailers - 85 percent of which are refrigerated and range from 1998 to 2005 in model years. The company has 125 drivers for cross-country treks. In addition, 15 owner-operators are contracted to ensure delivery of all customer loads.

"We use team drivers, which are DOT-approved, drug-screened, and alcohol-tested," said Anderson. "The majority of our teams are husbands and wives."

The company primarily relies on Thermo King reefers to protect its customers' food loads; the newest of which are SB-210s with SmartReefer2â„¢ (SR-2) controllers. W.L.A. works with Thermo King Central Carolina. With one year of service recorded on the 51 units, Anderson said he has noticed many benefits.

"Not only is the SR-2 controller driver-friendly to operate, but the units are extremely quiet and provide a huge reduction in maintenance expenses," said Anderson.

The units are specified to accommodate the commodities hauled by W.L.A. Qualcomm satellite tracking devices have been used since 1993, providing immediate access to drivers.

To keep its equipment and technology running dependably and to ensure loads arrive with minimal delays, W.L.A. has a four-bay garage where all equipment is maintained and serviced. A separate clean-up bay was added in 1995.

For more information, visit www.thermoking.com. Peter Powell is refrigeration editor for The NEWS.

Publication date: 01/09/2006

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