FFE to implement temperature-controlled charge

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Frozen Food Express Industries and FFE Transportation Services recently announced that it will implement a charge to its shippers for the rapidly rising cost of refrigeration necessary in the transportation of temperature-controlled products. The enterprise-wide program will be adopted by the fleets at all FFEX brands, according to the Dallas-based company, which expects the charge to be fully implemented by the middle of this year’s third quarter.

“Our customers count on us to keep their products pristine in a temperature-controlled environment,” says John Hickerson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our ability to do that depends on the use of diesel-powered refrigeration units. The cost to operate those units is tied directly to the ever-increasing price of fuel. So far this year, the per-gallon price of diesel is up more than 40 percent. Until now, we have held the line and not passed on this increasing cost, as we are sensitive to our customers’ needs. That has been quite a struggle, and we have reached the point where it is not financially feasible to continue to bear the brunt of this brutal fuel environment without some relief.”

Russell Stubbs, senior vice president and chief operating officer, says the company has reported a variety of initiatives to hold the expense of fuel costs in check. “We have turned our trucks’ speeds down, we are spending more on fuel-efficient tractors and better insulated trailers, and we have taken many steps to reduce tractor idling time,” Stubbs says. “All of those have been effective, and we will continue to do everything possible to hold shipping costs at affordable levels while supplying the quality service for which FFEX is known. This is all about customer service, and we must offset some of the increasing cost related to providing the service our customers expect and deserve. Our goals have not changed, and we will still be standing after any shakeout that many expect in the economy. Our efforts to cut costs and enhance revenue remain intact and on target.”