Trucking companies seeing rise in demand for refrigerated trucks

NOW: Trucking companies seeing rise in demand for refrigerated trucks

ELKHART, Ind. --- The Pfizer vaccine is currently in its' last stages of approval, before being sent out to individuals nationwide. In Elkhart County, the vaccine won't be here right away but one area trucking manufacturer is already preparing the fleet, once the vaccine goes local.

"Imagine like your on a spaceship, and you have to get on the decontamination chamber that controls that space, that temperature before you enter the freezer section," said the Vice President and General Manager of Utilimaster Eric Fisher. 

As we have seen during this pandemic, the main use for refrigerated trucks has been to store bodies that hospitals no longer can. With a vaccine close to approval, they will soon transition into carrying the cure. 

Trucking companies and manufacturers, all across the country, are playing catch-up to meet the demand for these refrigerated vehicles. More will be needed to store and transport the incoming vaccines, but Utilimaster has been in this field for a while. 

"We kind have been involved for a while, I'd say several years in the fridge space, with our own facility in California and out on the east coast," said Fisher. 

Utilimaster is a trucking manufacturer in Bristol and has worked with medical clients nationwide throughout the pandemic. The company today explained, they are prepared to keep helping, but they are just waiting on local health officials for a more detailed vaccine distribution plan.

"We haven't had anybody that's actually locally transporting it just yet, and I don't know what their plans are as far as they gonna use air freight. Then get it to an airport, then all you gotta do is take it from the airport to the dispenser location. So we have to see what that transport looks like," said Fisher. 

While the entire county awaits the vaccine plan, Utilimaster is already discussing the safest ways to transport the valuable cargo. 

"If I have something that's precious that's gonna expire or needs to be within that frozen threshold then I have to maintain my temperature a lot closely," said Fisher. 

Other companies, such as FedEx, have a solution. Producing standalone containers to keep the Pfizer vaccine in, that will insulate them properly and can fit into the trucks easily.

"The good news is these products were already standalone cryogenic containers are available for high-value intense lab work that made it a lot easier for us to integrate them into our trucks," said Fisher. 

As the pandemic persists, companies like Utilimaster have done and will continue to do their part. 

"We did some vehicles that, you know, we worked overtime to be able to produce those vehicles for our clients that were using that to transfer medical supplies to facilities that had Covid patients," said Chad Heminover, the President of Shyff Fleet Vehicles & Services. 

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