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Great Dane's first 'baby'
Gateway Park plant produces first trailer for Celadon
Great Dane photo
An illustration of the first Celadon refrigerated trailer is shown leaving Statesboro's Great Dane manufacturing plant. - photo by Special

Great Dane recently completed production of Celadon Group's first refrigerated trailer, part of a 200-reefer order being built in Great Dane's newest manufacturing facility, located in Statesboro's Gateway Industrial Park.

A reefer is a refrigerated trailer with insulated walls and a self-powered refrigeration unit. These reefers represent the first refrigerated trailers that Celadon, one of North America's largest truckload carriers, has purchased from any manufacturer.

"As a long-time supplier of Celadon's dry freight trailers, we're especially honored that Celadon selected us for its initial order of refrigerated trailers," said Dave Gilliland, Great Dane's vice president of national accounts. "These trailers will enable Celadon to expand its customer service by hauling temperature-controlled freight in addition to its already wide range of services."

Statesboro plant manager Kevin Black said that like the Celadon order, each order the plant processes is unique.

"We are one of three Great Dane plants that is dedicated to building ‘specialty' orders," he said. "Each order is different, and our employees have to be able to adjust to the needs of the client. They do a wonderful job."

Black said the Statesboro plant employs 250 people producing 35 trailers each week.

"We plan to increase our level of production in three weeks to 40 trailers per week remaining at one shift," he said. "We then plan to increase to 50 trailers per week per shift. When we are producing at full capacity, we will be manufacturing 100 trailers per week and employ between 400 and 500 people over two shifts."

Black said manufacturing of a trailer involves two distinct phases.

"First, we have to engineer the trailer that they are requesting and then order and receive the materials," he said. "Once we have configured the assembly line for a particular order, it takes about six days to produce a trailer."

The unique nature of the orders that are received makes standardized training difficult.

"Because our manufacturing is custom, very few of our employees do the exact same thing every day," he said. "Therefore, most of the training for the jobs that we have is done in-house. For our assembly jobs, we are mainly looking for individuals that have a good work ethic."

Great Dane's state-of-the-art Statesboro plant encompasses 450,000 square feet, including office space and a 3,000-square-foot climate-controlled, noise-free customer preview center.

This particular facility is dedicated to manufacturing the company's all-new Everest refrigerated trailers, the TL model reefer for truckload carriers and the CL model reefer built especially for the unique needs of multi-temp and food-service operations, especially those in the Southeast.

Joining a network of seven other strategically located Great Dane manufacturing plants, the Statesboro facility was designed and built to be the most modern and efficient in the world. Breakthrough technologies incorporated include the use of robotic welding, automated production processes, computer-controlled foaming operations and an optimized material handling system for quality and efficiency.

Great Dane is a manufacturer of dry van, refrigerated and platform trailers. The company is headquartered in Chicago and has additional corporate offices in Savannah with manufacturing plants and a parts distribution center strategically located throughout the United States.

Celadon Group Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides long-haul and regional full-truckload freight service across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The company also owns Celadon Logistics Services, which provides freight brokerage services, less-than-truckload services and supply chain management solutions, including warehousing and dedicated fleet services.


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