One of the 2,250 drop yards in Thermo King’s program is owned by the TK dealer in Kingman, Ariz., where 11 acres is devoted to parking. Regular customers include Artur Trucking, US Foods and local operators. Photo courtesy of Thermo Kiing

One of the 2,250 drop yards in Thermo King’s program is owned by the TK dealer in Kingman, Ariz., where 11 acres is devoted to parking. Regular customers include Artur Trucking, US Foods and local operators. Photo courtesy of Thermo Kiing

Working with its dealers, Thermo King has set up a network of drop yards where truckers can temporarily park trailers during rest breaks and other times where drivers need only their tractors.

There are 2,250 yards around the U.S, all at or near Thermo King dealers and service loactions and many fenced and secured, said Gayatri Abbot, director, smart products and telematics. Locations are listed on a TK smart-phone application, and using that, drivers and dispatchers can confirm an available parking space.

The service is available for a “nominal” fee to all truckers, whether Thermo King customers or not, she said. Almost any type of trailer can be parked, as can tractors if truckers need to.

The drop yard service is part of TK’s efforts to help drivers and aid fleets to retain them, Abbot said. The current shortage of 30,000 drivers is expected to climb to 300,000 by 2020. Retention is a major challenge, and the cost of replacing a driver averages $8,000.

Thermo King’s efforts include using telematics for remote diagnostics and fast repairs and service at dealers, and to monitor en route temperatures and protect food products. Tracking of the refrigeration unit also shows fleet managers where the units and trailers are and what’s being done with them. That can result in better asset management.

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