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IdleAir gets $7 million boost from Sea Port Securities

IdleAir is alive and well and expects to open five new sites by the end of this year and another 15 next year. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker Staff

8/24/2012

DALLAS — Further entrenching its presence, IdleAir has closed a $7 million growth financing deal with Sea Port Securities, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Seaport Group, IdleAir CEO Ethan Garber announced Thursday, Aug. 23 at the Great American Trucking Show here.

After IdleAir filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2008, Convoy Solutions LLC saw a good business opportunity and in the spring of 2010 re-launched the truck stop electrification service for professional truckers. It has since expanded to 30 locations in 12 states with 1,600 electrified parking spaces.

Since its re-launch, Seaport has helped IdleAir raise more than $15 million in capital, according to IdleAir spokesmen.

“The proceeds of this capital raise allow us to continue streamlining and expanding our growing national TSE (truck stop electrification) network along America’s major highway corridors,” said Garber.

“Our expansion improves our ability to serve the nation’s long-haul fleets, who in turn save on fuel and maintenance while improving driver retention and safety.”

The company expects to open five new sites by the end of this year and another 15 next year.

At present, IdleAir’s truck stop and travel center partners are Pilot-Flying J, Sapp Brothers, TA franchises and other regional operators.

The company estimates its customer base of professional truck drivers is 33,000, about two-thirds of whom are owner-operators, with recurring customers increasing by about 5 percent per month.

IdleAire was founded around a decade ago by a man whose brother-in-law was a truck driver struggling to stay comfortable in his cab at night without idling, since idling burns about a gallon of diesel per hour.

It was an idea whose time had come but IdleAire expanded too fast to keep pace with its own growth.

Now, IdleAir is trying some innovative ways to get itself before truckers and show them how their motto, “sleep better, save money” can be put into practice.

One way is getting fleets to commit to using IdleAir: 450 fleets are signed up, representing some 80,000 potential drivers.

In June, IdleAir launched its first dedicated fleet terminal with hopefully more on the way. Then in July they launched “Convoy Points TM,” a loyalty rewards program with marketing initiatives under way this fall with the added draw of being able to provide corporate matching of customer point donations to select trucking and veteran-related charities.

In addition, Garber said IdleAir is “exploring ways to leverage our existing technology and growing captive audience by means of partnerships with major load board operators like Get Loaded and DAT.”

And to demonstrate just how green it can go, IdleAir’s Pilot-White Pine, Tenn., site has an integrated 20 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array capable of generating 50 percent of that location’s daytime electricity needs.

And at Carney’s Point, N.J., IdleAir is introducing an electric vehicle or EV DC fast car charging station this fall, a first for the East Coast, said Garber.

What’s next? Spokesmen said talks currently are proceeding “with international partners for expansion into new markets.”

Dorothy Cox of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at dlcox@thetrucker.com.

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