October 6, 2018

In it for the Long Haul


Intermodal Shipper Radiant Clipper chooses Thermo King’s reliable and evergreen rail unit

When you’re in the intermodal freight business, confidence in your equipment is paramount. With trailers loaded with product going from multiple modes of transportation often including ship, rail and truck, secure and protected cargo is a must ... especially if you’re a company hauling refrigerated products. That ‘must’ is further compounded by growing environmental regulations, particularly those in California. 

Just ask Radiant Clipper, an 80-year veteran of the freight industry.

“Protecting our customers’ cargo while delivering a high caliber service product has always been our priority. Given that we primarily haul from the West Coast to the East Coast, we abide by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations,” said Christopher Brach, Vice President of Operations at Radiant Clipper. “We’ve spent a lot of money through the years to stay CARB compliant and as efficient as possible so when we had the opportunity to add to our fleet in 2018, Thermo King’s Precedent™ S-600RR unit was a no-brainer. We knew we wanted an Evergreen solution that would be with us for the long haul.”

And he’s not kidding. Radiant Clipper specializes in trailer on flatcar (TOFC) transportation. The company’s trailers are on the rail line for 6-7 days on average, unattended and exposed to whatever Mother Nature throws at them. The refrigeration units need to operate as expected for the duration of the trip –both in the temperature it maintains for the fresh or frozen cargo that Clipper is transporting and in the emissions being released into the environment.

The Precedent™ S-600RR solved both of these concerns for Christopher and the Radiant Clipper Team. “We have the highest confidence in Thermo King and the new rail ready units. We have a long relationship with Thermo King and Illinois Auto Central, our local dealer here in Illinois. We already knew the quality of product and service was superior. The Precedent S-600RR has proven its performance and reliability. “

“As we spec’d our project out, we planned some extra insurance that comes from two additional options. The first was a larger, 120-gallon fuel tank to ensure enough fuel even if a train is delayed by a day or two. It also allows us to run on continuous mode to ensure constant air circulation throughout the trip. The second was the addition of TracKing™ telematics.”

A must in rail, TracKing provides 24/7 real-time visibility of all units to the customer, the dealer and Thermo King’s national account service manager for Rail, Rick Boily.

“Radiant Clipper understood the value that TracKing provides immediately. In this industry and environment, there is no room for issues with the platform used. Radiant Clipper liked how TracKing offered more monitoring, trouble-shooting capabilities and interaction with the unit,” said Bob Stearns, general manager at Illinois Auto Central.

Christopher agreed. “You can’t match the integration you get from having both a Thermo King unit and a connected solution that was designed specifically for the application. We also appreciate the peace of mind in knowing that there are three parties monitoring our units. If a problem is detected and can’t be remedied remotely, there is a network of Thermo King dealers around the country to call on…we are taken care of no matter what.”

Continued Growth

Radiant Clipper will put more Precedent S-600RR units into service this year on a combination of 2013 Wabash and 2014 Utility 53-foot trailers. The company expects a 10 year life cycle on the units, taking advantage of a low cost of ownership.

With the refrigerated space exploding, Christopher expects continued growth for his fleet of approximately 400 refrigerated trailers. While a good portion of the trailers for this project received new units, as a part of this exercise Radiant Clipper also acquired a group of trailers with certified-used Thermo King SB-600RR units that were fitted with TracKing telematics.

“It’s very exciting to partner with a customer that takes pride in service, their equipment and sustainable practices,” said Doug Moore, Thermo King Refrigerated Rail Applications manager. “Much like Thermo King, Radiant Clipper truly is in it for the long haul!”

The company, which was previously known as Clipper Exxpress and Wheels Clipper, was acquired by Radiant Logistics, Inc (Bellevue, WA) in 2015 and re-branded under the Radiant Clipper name earlier this year. With its main facility in Woodridge, Illinois, the company continues to specialize in two distinct realms for its Temperature Controlled Team: Produce out of California and Arizona, and refrigerated/frozen products such as margarine, candy and bread. Follow them on LinkedIn.

Customer: Radiant Clipper | Radiant Logistics, Inc