January 13, 2021

Establishing a Competitive Advantage

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Diversification, driver comfort, and commitment to quality equipment and service lead Oakley Transport to Thermo King®.

Florida-based Oakley Transport is no stranger to success. Its roots date back to 1961 starting out as an independent citrus fruit broker before entering into the harvest and hauling sector of the citrus industry. In 1986, the company diversified into the transport of liquid food grade products and quickly became one of the top transporters in specialized tanker transport. And just four years ago, Oakley Transport expanded once again, this time into the reefer segment.

“With a request from key partners, we entered the refrigerated side of business in late 2016 to move many of the finished goods that came from the tanker division. It was a natural way to further diversify and a great growth opportunity,” said Tom Ed Oakley, head of dry van division. “It also allowed us an opportunity to introduce the Thermo King brand into our fleet, an opportunity that continues to expand.”

Those opportunities are no accident. According to Thomas E. Oakley, president and CEO, Oakley Transport has always aligned its vision with core values – and that has provided competitive advantages. Indeed the company’s reputation for reliable service, dependable drivers, and industry leadership as early adopters of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act and ELDs, has earned the organization certification in ISO 9001 and 22000, positioning them well throughout the industry. 

The pilot of five TriPac Evolution APUs in 2019 led to an order of approximately 200 more in 2020, demonstrating Oakley’s commitment to driver comfort and ultimately, retention.

“We were really excited to work with Oakley Transport on the TriPac pilot as it allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate the performance and reliability of our APU with actual documentation on idling time, fuel consumption, and more,” said Rob Race, senior account executive at TKSE.

Oakley Transport’s reefer division hauls 100 percent food products and services customers in the United States east of the Mississippi River. Headquartered in Lake Wales, Florida, Oakley Transport also has locations in Auburndale, Florida; Conley and Savannah, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Chicago, Illinois; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Laredo, Texas, which service all of North America, Canada and Mexico.

Taking care of drivers and its fleet

Reliability of equipment is paramount for Oakley Transport as it ensures timely deliveries, offers performance efficiencies, and contributes to driver retention rates. Oakley was pleased with the quality of its first Thermo King reefers provided so in 2019, decided to give the TriPac® auxiliary power unit (APU) a try as well.

The company conducted a pilot test of Thermo King’s TriPac Evolution APUs with the support of Thermo King of the Southeast (TKSE), the local Thermo King dealership.

“We were looking to improve truck idle times and keep them in the single digits – nine percent or less,” said Pete Nativo, vice president of fleet maintenance for Oakley. “While APUs reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise levels, they also keep the drivers comfortable – by providing heat and power for amenities that make road life a little more like home life.

“Feedback from our drivers has been good – they like the TriPac’s easy-to-use controls. They also believe it starts easier. Most importantly, the TriPac has been very reliable. TKSE is a great local partner and if something does go wrong out on the road, Thermo King’s expansive dealer network allows for easy serviceability for our long-haul drivers. Bottom line, TKSE and Thermo King have proven to be trusting and reliable partners who offer consistent, quality service that aligns with our own standards.” 

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Expanding Reefer Division

When Oakley Transport first added refrigerated transport to it repertoire, its first experience with Thermo King reefers came through a rental fleet. The operation, led by Tom Ed Oakley, has grown quickly and expanded again in 2020 with the purchase of an additional 12 reefer trailers – all with Thermo King Precedent® C-600 unit. “The Thermo King units have performed reliably, and our drivers have given great reviews about the quieter motor and decreased vibration – important when they are resting in the sleeper cab, which is not far from the running unit.”
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