Arla develops combi trailer for milk and dairy

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Arla Foods has developed a combination trailer to enable it to carry both raw milk and finished dairy products.

The hybrid trailer, half milk tanker and half refrigerated container, was developed in partnership with external suppliers Crossland Tankers to produce the milk tank and Gray & Adams for the refrigerated trailer.

Arla recently merged with Milk Link and the increased customer base will result in more miles travelled. Consequently the need to collect raw milk and deliver finished products as efficiently as possible is at the heart of the company’s logistics strategy.

Paul Lloyd, vice president of logistics at Arla, said: “Arla’s logistics network is one of the largest in the UK, responsible for over 4,000 daily deliveries to stores and regional distribution centres nationwide. The new trailer is just one of many solutions we are delivering to ensure our carbon output and costs are as low as possible.”

Arla believes the trailer will cut the number of road miles travelled by the company as it enables the collection of milk from farms as well as the delivery of both cages of milk and pallets of other dairy products.

“There were occasions when we were sending out a vehicle full of finished product then later sending out an empty milk tanker to collect milk,” said Gordon Irvine, Arla’s group fleet director. “They could both travel the same route, but carry a load in the opposite direction. We aren’t the only company faced with this dilemma but we are the first to deliver a solution and put one of the country’s most innovative trailers on the road.”

The exterior view of the trailer is very similar to a standard double deck trailer but standing at 4.4 metres, it is 30cm taller than a standard refrigerated trailer. It is 12.2m long by 2.6m wide and has low profile running gear with a lowered step-frame section on the bottom deck to accommodate the milk tank.

At 44 tonnes, the milk tank can hold some 19,000 litres and the trailer can accommodate 85 milk cages or 22 pallets.

It is now being trialled out of Arla’s transport hub in Stourton, Leeds using a new lightweight Scania tractor. “We apply a detailed three-stage implementation plan to validate its performance,” said Gordon. “The individual farms collected by the trailer will be carefully selected as the trailer is significantly larger than a normal farm collection tanker.”

Arla plans to increase its fleet by 30 combination trailers by the end of 2013 in the UK and Arla’s Sweden and Denmark logistics functions are also considering the possibility of incorporating combination trailers into their fleets.


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