Trailer Talk

A. Duie Pyle Bolsters Fleet of Heated, Insulated Vans for Winter

Pyle has added 80 of the special trailers, augmenting its existing pool of more than 400 such units. Most are 48-by-102s for road and city service.

December 10, 2014

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During sub-freezing temps, water-based products like paint are protected in Pyle's heated and insulated vans, and in heated areas at terminals. 
During sub-freezing temps, water-based products like paint are protected in Pyle's heated and insulated vans, and in heated areas at terminals.

‘Tis the season to be wary... of cold weather. And with the last winter's Polar Vortex invasions in mind, A. Duie Pyle, the old-line freight carrier operating in the Northeast, has expanded its Protect from Freeze, or PFF, service.

Pyle has added 80 new heated and insulated trailers, augmenting its existing pool of over 400 such units. Most are 48-by-102s for road and city service, according to Randy Swart, the chief operating officer, based at the company’s headquarters in West Chester, Pa., outside of Philadelphia.

Pyle’s PFF service allows customers who ship water-based products to send them in less-than-truckload lots without the fear that they will be damaged by freezing temperatures. And as everyone knows, last winter was a bear – or brrr – with its instances of sub-zero air plunging down from the Arctic.

"We didn’t have problems because of our equipment and facilities, but for the industry it was horrible,” Swart said. “Many businesses that ship and/or receive water-based products will find that freight carriers won’t transport their products during cold snaps.”

Last winter, Pyle delivered over 43,000 temperature-sensitive shipments, he said. Business has grown since word of Pyle’s PFF service has further gotten around. Thus the additional trailers. Great Dane has built them for the past several years, but Wabash Nationals are also in the fleet.

Thermo King heaters blow warm air into trailers, whose noses and walls have foam insulation. 
Thermo King heaters blow warm air into trailers, whose noses and walls have foam insulation.

Specifications include 1.5-inch foam insulation in walls, Thermo King nose-mounted heaters that blow warm air inside, and robust weather stripping to seal the roll-up rear doors. Kinedyne load bars are placed every 18 inches; this avoids stacking and keeps cargo separated so heated air flows around the boxed and palletized items.

Great Dane built Pyle's latest heated and insulated vans, like the one shown here in warmer days. 
Great Dane built Pyle's latest heated and insulated vans, like the one shown here in warmer days.

While awaiting loading, cargo is protected by heated areas in Pyle’s 17 terminals, and company owned snow plows keep pavement clear during snow storms. Freight handlers and drivers are specially trained to deal with the freezable cargo.

Altogether, the fleet includes 2,150 trailers and 840 tractors, Swart said. This year the company marked 90 years since Alexander Duie Pyle founded it in 1924, and some of his descendants still run it.  

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Author Bio

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Tom Berg

Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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