Going ‘green’ while maintaining space

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Express parcels carrier Business Post and trailer builder Don-Bur Bodies and Trailers have developed a new trailer design which saves in excess of £6,500 in fuel and takes over 24 tonnes of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere for one vehicle in one year while, importantly, maintaining the same load space.

These “exceptional results” have been achieved through the development of a double-deck trailer that slopes down at the front. The Business Post double-deck trailer has 0.88m of frontal area exposed above the towing unit’s air kit.

Also, there is an area of dead space inside the trailer above the swan neck (fifth-wheel area) which remains unused even when loaded – Business Post uses a cage system to protect parcels and reduce handling. This allows the trailer design to slope down at the front.

The change also meant that the trailer height and angle of slope had to be matched to the towing vehicle. The double-deck also incorporates a 9.150m hydraulically powered lifting deck fitted above the main deck.

Vigorous tests took place against a standard front trailer using the same vehicle and the same operating route. The vehicle with sloping roof ran one trunk route covering a distance of 2749kms using 837 litres of fuel equating to 9.28mpg. The same vehicle then ran the same trunk route the following week covering 2,804kms using 1,025 litres of fuel equating to a 7.73mpg consumption. Business Post says the 1.55mpg improvement represents a fuel saving £129.72 over the week. Based on this data, the saving for this vehicle on this particular route over one year is £6,537.88

Kevin Webb, Business Post’s general manager, transport, comments: “We have been so impressed with the results of the sloping trailer that we have already ordered another eight of them to be in service by the end of 2004. And, as it was a critical part of the design criteria to be able to retro-fit our existing double-deck fleet, and we are putting a programme together to convert all of our double deck fleet. Furthermore, it is possible for the trailer to pay back its own capital cost during this period in fuel savings alone.”

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