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Stevens Transport cuts fuel usage, idle time

Stevens Transport, a refrigerated carrier headquartered in Dallas TX, has applied innovative thinking to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Using solutions that include fuel management efforts, new technology, and a proactive driver training program, Stevens has decreased its fuel usage by 6.6% and idle time by 48%.

The company has also incorporated a program to refurbish refrigeration units, which allows them to keep certain equipment in service twice as long, helping reduce their environmental footprint.

Several factors motivate the sustainability efforts undertaken by Stevens, including the need to control rising fuel costs, which are currently one of their largest expenses. Company leaders addressed this by analyzing fuel burn against engine run and idle time reports.

The research discovered large variances in its fleet. In response, Stevens outfitted their entire fleet with Thermo King TriPac auxiliary power units (APUs) to address the variances and to enable idle time reduction of 48%.

Stevens energy-saving and sustainability efforts include clean idle engines, APUs, energy-efficient refrigeration units, aerodynamic trailer skirts, oil recycling, fuel-efficient tires, tire retreading, and continued training. Overall, its efforts have reduced fuel consumption of its 2,000 tractors and 3,000 refrigerated trailers by millions of gallons.

Thermo King recently recognized Stevens with the Thermo King Energy Efficiency Leader Award for its commitment to energy and operational efficiency.

“We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to maximizing sustainability throughout our organization,” said Clay M Aaron, president of Stevens. “We find that our success—whether increasing energy and operational efficiency or lowering costs—all comes down to the human touch.”

Stevens also implemented a replacement program to take well-maintained APUs off tractors that have reached the end of their service life and to recycle them for new tractors.

The firm has further increased operational and energy efficiency with OptiSet Plus, a customized temperature control system. This system uses controls that run refrigeration units only as needed to precisely control temperatures. It offers more than 500 pre-set temperature options and streamlines product decisions in advance.

Sustainability efforts have also included a driver training program that diligently informs them on system capabilities so they can use the technology to its fullest. The company offers a driver fuel bonus program to reinforce efficient equipment operation.

Moving forward, Stevens is testing untethered two-way communication applications to increase research by monitoring trailers and refrigeration units. It is also evaluating trailer pre-cooling, correct operating modes for refrigeration units, proper product temperatures for cargo, and options for minimizing fuel theft.

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