June 1, 2012

Finicky Tuna Requires Innovative Thinking


GHG Logistics of Allentown, Pennsylvania is an exclusive warehouse/distributor for Genji, an operator of more than 140 sushi bar locations in 18 states, as well as the District of Columbia. It is also the largest sushi vendor within the Whole Foods Market chain. While Genji is known for its superior, Japanese authentic sushi, GHG Logistics is the company that ensures it.

The company manages, stores and delivers the majority of Genji’s food inventory. Seamless, uninterrupted temperature holding – from supplier, to warehouse, to trailer, to store—is critical to maintaining the uncompromised, quality ingredients required for Genji’s premium sushi.

GHG Logistics’ custom-designed fleet of trucks, outfitted with industry-leading triple-temperature trailers (-30 degrees F, 38 degrees F, and ambient), play a vital role in the process. The fleet sustains the temperatures that the company’s state-of-the art warehouse management systems preserve.

GHG Logistics is the first company to use this type of triple-temperature trailer in the USA. The design was made possible through the collaboration of Richard Siegfried, senior manager of warehousing & distribution at GHG Logistics and Utility Keystone Trailer Sales, Inc. of Lancaster, Pa., Ryder Truck Rental of Allentown, Pa., and Thermo King.

“While multi-temperature compartment trailers are common, this one was unique due to the need to hold sushi grade tuna at -30 degrees F. That was the challenge I approached our Thermo King, Utility and Ryder vendor partners with,” explained Siegfried. “I knew it could be done. I’ve been a Thermo King customer for 25 years; the technology was there to achieve our temperature parameters. Making the three, drastically varying temperature zones work together was going to take some major configuring, engineering and teamwork.”

Siegfried also needed the trailers within six months. Their success would ultimately save GHG Logistics the costs of adding another distribution warehouse in the south.

The Design

It was clear early on that a standard multi-temp unit configuration would not work due to the deep freeze temperature needed for the fish. Chuck Karr, sales manager at CSTK East of Philadelphia, GHG Logistics’ Thermo King dealer, discussed the issue with Frank Pryzwara, Thermo King district sales manager.

“We were sure our single temp trailer unit could cool to -30 degrees, but needed a solution for the middle refrigerated section. We were using a dual unit configuration for another customer application and decided to take a closer look at that option,” said Pryzwara.

“One of the units was an undermount truck refrigeration model, manufactured in Thermo King’s Ireland plant. After running engineering calculations and actual unit tests, we knew we had the solution for GHG Logistics.”

The Thermo King duo presented the concept, unit information, temperature calculations, and actual performance test results to the GHG Logistics team for review and approval.

“We went with the SB-230 single temperature trailer unit to achieve the -30 degrees needed for the finicky fish,” said Karr. “The unit is mounted to the front of the trailer and deep-freezes the front compartment.

“The refrigerated mid-section of the trailer is fitted with a UT-1200X truck unit, specially-ordered from Thermo King’s Ireland facility, to maintain the 38 degrees needed for Genji’s fresh sushi ingredients. The undermount unit was configured to adapt to the trailer body.”

Joe Ritchey, sales manager at Utility Keystone Trailer, was instrumental in leading Utility’s engineering group in configuring the trailer to fit the unit.

“Adapting existing technologies and coordinating the engineering staff was difficult during the design phase, but we believed the configuration would work,” said Ritchey. “We designed revolutionary modifications that included a powered side gate, custom insulation package and a fully integrated dual refrigeration configuration with shared fuel and electrical systems.”

Individual control boxes for each of the refrigeration units are mounted, accessible and visible so drivers can easily check status and temperatures of each trailer section. The refrigeration units boast Whisper quiet operation and excellent fuel efficiency. They include an electric standby feature that allows connectivity to electric circuits (240 volt) during loading/unloading, which saves on fuel and environmental emissions.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with these unique trailers,” said Siegfried. “The first batch has been running for more than one year now and performing as designed. My vendor team of Thermo King, Utility Keystone and Ryder worked together using years of expertise and experience, to make it all come together.

“Thermo King did the research to ensure the unit configuration would deliver the cooling necessary. Keystone Utility did a phenomenal job in engineering the trailer to host the units. And Ryder Truck Rental, under the management of Steve Williams, made sure the trailers were built in time to meet our deadlines.”

According to Siegfried, GHG Logistics expects a 15-20 percent growth in 2012 so it won’t be long before additional three-zone specialty trailers will be needed.

“This was an amazing project to be part of,” said Karr. “The entire team remained steadfast and positive while determining the right components and appropriate configurations to meet GHG Logistics’ needs.

“In the end, we had one very innovative and serious cooling trailer that satisfies the unique requirements of superior quality sushi.”


More information about GHG Logistics can be found at

More information about Genji sushi can be found at

Dealer: CSTK East of Philadelphia |

Customer: Genji Foods |