September 2, 2020

Our Most Important Shipment is Yours

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Thermo King customer Sorenson Transport celebrates 50 years

Celebrating 50 years in 2020, Sorenson Transport’s secret sauce is not so secret. In fact, the company proudly displays it on every Thermo King-refrigerated trailer in its fleet, its website and more. “I came up with our motto, ‘Our Most Important Shipment is Yours,’ early on,” said Owner Darrell Sorenson. “To me, it said it all. Everything we do – from the equipment we choose to the employees we hire, is about providing the very best service to our customers. It’s a commitment that has ensured our past – and future success.”

No short cuts taken

Today, the Chehalis, Washington-based company runs approximately 52 Peterbilt tractors with Thermo King TriPac® auxiliary power units (APU), along with 72 Utility trailers and four 20-foot refrigerated box trucks – all with Thermo King units. “I’ve always run my business with the best, most reliable equipment – it’s essential if we are going to protect each load,” said Darrell. “Our profits are in the products we haul, so keeping our fleet updated with the latest models and technology is a must.”

Specializing in less-than-truckload (LTL) refrigerated freight such as fresh and frozen seafood, meat, poultry, dairy and ice cream, Sorenson Transport serves seven western states travelling from the Canadian border all the way to the Mexican border. Not only does the equipment need to perform for the long hauls, it also must perform in warm temperatures, abide by CARB and EPA environmental regulations and keep Sorenson’s company-employed line drivers comfortable throughout their five-day stints on the road.

This is why Darrell keeps his fleet within the seven-year CARB compliance benchmark and with the most modern technology available, including the highest capacity refrigeration units from Thermo King. The addition of TriPac APUs many years ago was a no-brainer from an environmental standpoint and because “they offer a fast payback with the fuel saved and the decreased wear and tear on the tractor engine; we save a lot of fuel with the TriPac,” said Darrell, whose drivers would previously keep the tractor engine running while they slept.

No doubt, the combination of state-of-the-art equipment with comforts that the APU provides have contributed to solid driver retention rates at Sorenson Transport. Add in industry-leading benefits and pay, it’s not surprising to hear that half of the current drivers have been there for more than 10 years and many for more than 20.

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Looking Back

Darrell started as a driver himself back in 1965 before deciding to go on his own in 1970. He started Sorenson Transport with a 1967 Freightliner, a 1965 40-foot Utility trailer and a Thermo King NWD-30 reefer unit, which was nine years old when he purchased it. “I replaced that first rig in 1974, and then grew the fleet through the years to as many as 105,” said Darrell.

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Ongoing technological advancements

Naturally, precise temperature control is vital to keeping every load safe, and Sorenson Transport has always put food safety first with strict temperature logs that ensure every customer’s specification is met from the beginning to the end of each journey. Making this easier for the company these days is Thermo King’s TracKing® telematics, a GPRS/GPS temperature and management system that offers real-time visibility into the location and status of assets. TracKing increases fleet efficiencies by detecting potential issues, determining maintenance actions, offering remote communication with the refrigeration unit controller, and delivering the information customers and regulatory agencies demand. “We just started implementing this technology and it’s a great thing,” said Darrell about TracKing, which now comes standard on Thermo King’s 2018 and newer trailer units. “It allows us to get real-time information, and we are loving it.”

Advancements in technology and the innovation available in all the equipment are the biggest changes Darrell has seen through the years, which is why he relies on industry partners to guide fleet decisions. “I have always partnered with Thermo King Northwest and rely on them for new purchases, genuine Thermo King parts, and service – a dealer technician is based here at our facility to perform reefer maintenance. Added peace of mind comes with the entire Thermo King dealer network – they are all along our routes so if something does go wrong, we are covered.”

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Looking Ahead

In the end, service is number one for Darrell and Sorenson Transport. “Service always wins, and I am proud of the company I have built. I have never wanted to do anything else.” And neither does his daughter, Cindy, who shares her father’s love for the business. The youngest of three daughters, Cindy is ready to continue the legacy her father has created whenever the timing is right. For now, they will work hand in hand to be the best LTL refrigerated freight transporter they can be to ensure every shipment arrives safely, on time and at temperature.