Tiger Cool Express LLC., which provides temperature-controlled intermodal transportation of produce and food products, said today it has placed a firm order for 200 refrigerated containers and options on another 300.
The 200 53-foot containers will enter the Overland Park, Kan.-based company's fleet starting in May, the company said. All of the containers should be in the fleet by July, according to Ted Prince, the company's chief operating officer. The additional 300 units, if the options are exercised, will enter the fleet by the end of November, Prince said.
A full order of 500 containers will bring Tiger Cool's fleet to 734 containers by year's end.
The containers are manufactured by Qingdao CIMC Special Reefer Co. Ltd., which is based in Qingdao, China. The new equipment is 800 pounds lighter than previously manufactured domestic intermodal refrigerated boxes, Tiger Cool said.
The deal was consummated Feb. 3, the first anniversary of the delivery of Tiger Cool's first refrigerated intermodal box.
Formed in September 2013, Tiger Cool Express is wholly owned by Tiger Infrastructure Partners, a New York City private equity company.
The service, which took several years to get from concept to reality, is designed to play to intermodal's strengths — namely supporting a seasonal business like produce where shipments move over long-haul, irregular routes. Traditionally, long-haul perishable shipments have moved almost exclusively on truck trailers hauled by independent driver contractors. Intermodal has a relatively small piece of the market.
Union Pacific Corp., the big western railroad, is Tiger Cool's primary rail partner in the west. Its eastern U.S. business is roughly split between CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp., the two major eastern rails. Canadian National Railway Co. is its main rail partner in Canada.