Thermo King has presented Marten Transport with an Energy Efficiency Leader Award for making improvements in the fleet’s refrigeration units’ hours of operation and reducing idle time.

Marten provides temperature-controlled, time-sensitive deliveries throughout the U.S. The company has lowered its reefer unit runtime 10% and reduced idling to under 2%, averaging just 1.7% in the past 90 days, Thermo King said.

“Today, many of our customers want to meet green performance levels that demonstrate a corporate commitment to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a lower carbon footprint,” said Randy Marten, president of Marten Transport. “Our customers have been very pleased that we’ve provided a way for them to meet these goals while reducing their transport costs at the same time.”

Marten’s idle percentage of 1.7% translates to a monthly savings of $560,000 vs. a comparable non-APU fleet of their size, Thermo King said. The carrier is also seeing a weekly savings of around $20,000 for managing idle percentage versus the industry average on APU-equipped fleets.

Marten installed auxiliary power units (APUs) in 2007, and that has helped it reduce its idle time. To help control the temperature and fuel use on its 4,300 trailers, the company is using Thermo King’s new SB 230 refrigeration units equipped with OptiSet Plus, which optimizes performance, running the system only when needed.

The SB 230 also uses an SR-3 controller with USB port to allow drivers to manage the temperature from the cab; an EMI-3000 (extended maintenance interval) with 5 micron filter to reduce maintenance cost and waste; and a new fuel filtration system and controller that allows data transfer via USB flash drive.

Marten also launched an information campaign to demonstrate to customers that changing the setpoint of its trailers from -10 deg. F to -1 deg. F would have no significant impact on product integrity. The resulting 9 deg. change has led to significantly fewer defrost cycles and a significant cost savings for the company.

“Marten Transport has always been a leader in new technology,” said Martin Duffy, vp, sales & market development for Thermo King. “Their leaders continuously identify innovative ways to incorporate the latest technology to address real-world challenges. Because they expect nothing but the best from an execution and management standpoint, it allows them more flexibility on the creative front.”