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Bodean Seafood Upgrades Delivery Capability

By Gary Macklin

Refrigerated Transporter
June 2000

Nearly all fish fly, at Bodean Seafood in Tulsa. Mostly they fly on Delta Airlines, one-way, cargo class, chilled. Bodean is a wholesale and retail seafood dealer that also operates three restaurants.
The first of owner Taurus Faulkner's three restaurants in Oklahoma now is 32 years old. The company flies in fresh seafood from around the world for its own use, for sale at its retail market, and for delivery to other restaurants throughout the Tulsa metropolitan area. Seafood selection changes daily to reflect the freshest catch available with the inventory turning over every second to third day.
Air freight offers the best mode of transportation for fresh fin fish from Boston, Miami, and Seattle to markets in the US interior such as Tulsa. However, air transport reaches only as far as an airline's cargo ramp. To make sure that seafood remains in top condition on the way from the airport to processing and from there to the customer requires reliable refrigerated transportation.

Frozen Gel Packs

"All our air freight Fish is shipped with gel packs-flexible plastic containers filled with a frozen eutectic solution," says Richard Carroll, wholesale manager for Bodean. "We don't accept anything that arrives with a temperature above 40°F. We can use those gel packs for our deliveries, but they are time consuming in that they usually must be frozen again before use. In winter, we can deliver fish without refrigeration because the weather is usually cold enough, but in summer we need positive temperature control."
In the past, Bodean used an insulated compact van for delivery When that vehicle began to show its age, the company found a better solution-a new van with a prefabricated, insulated cargo box and a truck engine-driven refrigeration unit.
Bodean already owned a new Ford E250 cargo van. The problem was to find a way to insulate it without spraying the interior with foam. KenKool Inc, the Carrier Transicold dealer in Catoosa, Oklahoma, provided the answer by installing an insulated body kit from VanLiner Systems in the cargo space.
VanLiner is located in Burlington, Ontario.

Refrigerated Transporter  June 2000

The VanLiner kit is placed inside the cargo space in pieces and screwed together once in place. Seams are closed with a sealant that allows the 184 cubic feet of cargo space to be pressure-washed. Average insulation thickness is three inches. KenKool equipped Bodean's van with a Carrier Transicold Integra 30S refrigeration unit with a roof-mounted condenser and a cube-style evaporator offset to the upper streetside corner of the front wall. Cab Command controls allow operation and monitoring of the refrigeration unit from the driver's seat. The unit provides capacity of 8,500 Btu/hr at 35° F. In tests after installation, the refrigeration unit was able to cool the empty van to 17° F, which is more than adequate for city delivery of fresh fish. "We normally set the thermostat at 33° F for delivery runs," Carrol says.
The VanLiner kit is available with two rear door configurations It can be installed with a flat rear wall with its own insulated door inside the standard doors on the Ford van, or special insulated panels can be attached to the van doors. Bodean chose the insulated panels to preserve as much interior cube as possible. When the insulated panels are used, small sections of insulation art, used to cover the space between the end of the kit panels and the rear door frame.

Two Airport Trips Daily

Bodean's new refrigerated van works hard every day, generally leaving the distribution center by 9:30 am and making 10 to 15 delivery stops before going to the airport for the morning air freight. An average pick-up at the airport is 1,000 pounds. Fish from the airport is returned to the wholesale center. After lunch, the whole process repeats-customer stops first and then back to the airport for any afternoon arrivals. Afternoon deliveries usually go to different customers than the morning deliveries, but some days Bodean goes to the same customer twice.

"Sometimes customers will have a heavy lunch crowd and run out," Carroll says. "Sometimes, they will forget to order. We would rather go to each customer once a day, but we do what the customer needs. Our heaviest afternoon deliveries are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Those days, we are just as busy in the afternoon as on the morning run."

The VanLiner kit provides an insulated door inside the hinged curbside doors on the Ford van. Placing the evaporator on the opposite side of the vehicle provides clear access for loading and unloading. Bodean's delivery van began life as a standard Ford E250 van with a bare floor and uninsulated walls, a configuration unsuitable for delivering fresh, chilled seafood. After the installation of an insulated kit from Van Liner Systems of Burlington, Ontario, the van has a clean, washable interior and a refrigeration unit evaporator mounted at the upper streetside corner of the front Wall. The Carrier Transicold Integra 30S refrigeration unit uses a truck engine-driven compressor that mounts atop the engine next to the alternator. It does not interfere in any way with truck cab air-conditioning.