In 1986, Keith Kenneally left the airline industry to start an air freight business that catered to the emerging produce industry in California. According to Keith: “there were hundreds of freight forwarders back then and only a few had the guts to specialize in perishable freight. Any specialization in 1987 was limited to only two basic services. First, understanding how to properly hand stack airline containers. Second, provide this loading service 7 days per week between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.” A 24/7 warehouse operation was un-heard of back in that day, but has since become an industry standard.

As business grew, competition entered the freight market seeking a piece of the global demand for California fruits and vegetables. Keith’s relationships with industry leaders led him to the post harvest research department of U.C. Davis where he learned about the natural occurring respiration of fresh produce, microbial decay, and the need for cold chain preservation. The perishable air freight industry was so new in 1987 that many forwarders did not have a cold room for storage prior to shipping. In addition, nothing was being used to prevent heat gain during the shipping process so any airline service failures would result in massive freight claims. Worst of all, air carriers did not take liability for the perishable nature of fresh cargo. Consequently, shippers absorbed huge losses whenever a flight was delayed.

It was quite obvious to Keith that to solve the industry problem of delivering hot and decaying product to end users, cold storage and heat retardant loading materials were necessary. “Our access to usable insulation materials was limited in the 1980′s. We first used polystyrene foam and customized panels to line the inside of shipping containers. The foam was effective to some degree, but the work was tedious and polystyrene was environmentally unfriendly. Our East Coast clients even had trouble disposing of the foam waste.”

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Through the U.C. Davis Department of Agriculture, Keith discovered a reflective bubble material that was being studied as a deterrent to field heat in the pear industry.  He immediately recognized the application and potential for the material and began to experiment with it; his goal: develop a heat prevention program for all Jet Pro’s customers.  The reflective bubble was a fairly effective insulator, cost efficient, and disposable. However, the only supplier at the time was located in Indiana. As a result, Jet Pro had a hard time keeping enough material on-hand and the manufacturer was not equipped or prepared to fill orders by the truck load.

Even back then, Jet Pro was setting a standard for the industry by creating the first cold storage facilities and container insulation products such as, the bubble wrap, gel ice, and custom container shelving. More then 20 years later, Keith claims: “it’s shocking to think that my competitors are still using the bubble wrap I introduced to the industry in 1987 – that was before the CD player and cell phones!”

Today, Jet Pro holds the exclusive rights to Insulation Products (Patent No.: US 8,292,119 B2) that Keith invented for a cold chain preservation system known as Thermo Defense®, which is a system developed under Keith’s instruction to insulate perishables for both domestic and international travel. This unique and amazing system incorporates materials plus icing technology to maintain the coldness necessary for perishables being shipped by ground, air or sea to even the warmest climates. With the Thermo Defense® system, the perishables are properly packed and stored for transit with temperatures being preserved to prevent heat damage and chill injury to the perishables.  The products related to Thermo Defense® represent the only true food safe shipping containers for the air cargo industry. The insulated products are exclusive to Jet Pro’s customers.

For example, the Thermo Defense®Jet Pod®” when used as a pallet cover can maintain internal temperatures in the 30′s for a 12 hour shipping period. Jet Pro is convinced other freight forwarders will be hard-pressed to match this service for temperature protection and cost efficiency. Keith points out that unlike the bubble he introduced in the 1980′s, the products (e.g., “PAK® Kontainer” or “Jet Pod® Export”) related to Thermo Defense® and, available only through Jet Pro, place Jet Pro at the top in the “perishable” freight forwarding industry.

Jet Pro’s method of preparing products for air transportation also has evolved far beyond the days of adding bubble to the inside of LD3 containers. Jet Pro has a menu of items that are specific to the commodity type and the needs of the shipper. Jet Pro is passionate about eliminating the risk of shipping by air. “I believe Jet Pro has made huge strides in protecting un-refrigerated air shipments from heat gain and spoilage, but our work is not over yet. We are always working on a better mouse trap.”

Jet Pro’s insulation technology, loading methods, and distribution network are only part of the company’s effectiveness. Jet Pro operates from state-of-the-art cold storage facilities and employs industry leaders to service the needs of the fresh food and flower industry. Customized software and management systems provide the highest quality in customer care, communication, and accounting. Further, food Safety protocols, Security Systems (including video surveillance cameras and employee background checks) all add value to Jet Pro’s freight and distribution services.

Finally, as of August 1, 2010, the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, mandated 100% screening of all cargo placed on U.S. air carriers for transit. With this command from TSA, Jet Pro immediately researched and investigated screening technology. It was learned that the typical screening in the market utilized ionizing radiation. Keith knew that no consumer would be in favor of eating radiated food. As a result, he found EMIS Electromagnetic Inspection Scanner. With EMIS, scanning is conducted with a low intensity magnetic field that does not interact with perishable foods. At great capital investment, Jet Pro has acquired EMIS scanners and it has become the first U.S. Air Freight & Distribution Company to provide TSA approved “food safe” screening. In fact, TSA is most impressed with EMIS screening and it is working with Jet Pro in developing proper protocols regarding the use of EMIS for the screening of perishables prior to air transit.