DALLAS — IdleAir continues to deliver value to drivers and fleets — even in a low diesel price environment, CEO Ethan Garber told reporters at a news conference in Dallas during the Great American Trucking Show last month.
Achievements since last year include launching more discount bundle options, beginning a second wave of fleet terminal deployments, and opening the first dedicated IdleAir fleet terminal in Mexico, he said.
Despite the 25 percent drop in diesel prices, IdleAir's revenue was actually up 3 percent year-to-date, Garber said, adding that low diesel prices have made the price of idle alternatives versus idling a crucial focus while creating an opportunity for IdleAir to take market share from APUs as return on investments for on-board idle mitigation systems erode in the current price environment.
Garber said so far this year, IdleAir has completed construction of three truck stops and two fleet terminals: Beaverdam, Ohio, Flying J; Hubbard, Ohio, Flying J; Latta, South Carolina, Flying J; Covenant Transport Group's Chattanooga, Tennessee, driver training center; and EGOBA Transportadora's Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, terminal.
IdleAir broke ground recently on its second dedicated terminal for Con-way Truckload in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Garber said IdleAir had plans for second and third fleet terminals with several mega-carriers this fall and winter and that the company’s backlog had approximately 10 fleet terminals and truck stops in states including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kentucky and Texas. The company hopes to complete all those locations before the second quarter of 2016.
Garber said IdleAir had tempered its current construction growth pace in recognition of the volatility in the petroleum market, but had pushed forward to complete our first Mexican dedicated fleet terminal with EGOBA Transportadora in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
“Less than a month since the launch of this 18-space facility, we are showing extremely high utilization patterns, averaging more than two users per space per day and greater than 12 hours of IdleAir usage per space per day,” Garber said. “We believe that this facility will be immediately profitable for IdleAir and very impactful for our fleet partner EGOBA.”
“Our drivers already love using IdleAir. We expect to save close to 10,000 gallons of diesel idling waste per month just in Nuevo Laredo. We would like to expand IdleAir on this facility,” said Edgar Canamar, terminal manager of EGOBA's Nuevo Laredo facility.
Garber said the Latta, South Carolina, location marks the second solar-equipped IdleAir site. Duke Energy helped IdleAir pay for the inclusion of solar photovoltaics at this location, Garber said.
Also on the electric utility front, Garber said Entergy Corp. had selected IdleAir for the second year in row as a recipient of their Environmental Initiatives Fund to help accelerate the expansion of IdleAir’s network to help protect environmentally sensitive areas in Arkansas, East Texas and Mississippi.
Garber said IdleAir’s Technology Department had deployed a limited number of enhanced parking spaces using the new IdleAir Lite Module System.
IdleAir Lite parking spaces allow handicapped drivers and smaller drivers access to reduced-weight service modules, which are supported by a dual spring-mounted pulley system. The IdleAir Lite Module System reduces the effective weight of the hose/module combination by more than 65 percent to less than 20 pounds.
“We think this feature will expand IdleAir's accessibility to a larger audience of drivers that have historically limited their use of IdleAir because of the weight of our units,” Garber said.
IdleAir’s technology group is also beta-testing the IdleAir Lift electronic winch system to allow IdleAir units to function in pull-through spaces, thus potentially expanding the range of locations that IdleAir can offer its anti-idling solutions, including unstaffed locations, ports and select turnpike and rest areas.
In the works are lower cost power-only pull-down modules and active video on service module screens.
Garber said the decline in diesel prices had put pressure on all idling alternative products and services.
“However, since we have been focused on streamlining our own operations for the last few years, IdleAir has established a cushion of flexibility in our rates,” Garber said. “Longer duration ‘bundled’ stays have become increasingly popular and they are the fastest growing part of our offerings. Our Reset Special (40 hours for $50, or $1.25 an hour) has grown 30 percen in 2015 and now represents nearly 10 percent of our total business. Recently we introduced a 12 hour bundle that includes WiFi for Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members that is more than a 20 percent discount from our hourly rates.”
Fleets are able to save they install dedicated facilities in their yards with standard prices of $1.49 per hour plus tax for IdleAir Basic service, Garber said, adding that fleets and drivers can also increase their savings by using IdleAir’s advanced purchase plan.
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