More services north of the border

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Palletised distribution business Palletways Scotland launched two new express services covering the Scottish Islands and Ireland. Palletways Scotland, based around a hub in Edinburgh and a network of ten Scottish regional depots, has experienced tremendous growth over the past 12 months and the latest developments will provide customers with a distribution service for small consignments of palletised freight to anywhere in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The new services involve goods being collected locally by regional transport companies, who are members of Palletways Scotland, and transported to the hub in Edinburgh for processing using Palletways’ in-house IT system. The goods are then sorted into designated delivery areas.

Ron McSorley, general manager at Palletways Scotland, says: “By opening up new markets we are looking to significantly expand our business over the next year and to play a key role in the development of the Palletways group, which is now Europe’s largest dedicated palletised freight delivery network.”

The Suttons Group has started a major investment programme for its chemicals distribution business by buying four new ERF ECT 11.42 MTL 6×2 tractor units and six new tanker trailers for its contract with Albion Chemicals in Glasgow.

Albion Chemicals, an independent distributor of bulk and packaged chemicals, has worked alongside Suttons since 1988 and recently signed a five-year extension to its contract with the Widnes-based chemicals tank operator. The contract is operated out of Suttons’ Glasgow depot and involves the collection and delivery of raw and processed chemicals to locations nationwide.

The six new tanker trailers, built by Clayton Commercials, comprise two 44-tonne, single compartment, 25,288 litre capacity hydrochloric acid tanks, one 41-tonne, three compartments, 38,525 litre capacity solvent tanks and a 44-tonne, single compartment, 25,355 litre capacity sodium hypochlorite tanks. All the tanks are bottom operated for maximum safety.

Suttons marketing and sales manager Karen Dorman says: “The investment in the new vehicles and trailers for Albion is just the beginning of a programme that confirms our commitment to offer the chemicals sector the highest possible service standards, backed by the very best equipment available.”

RTL, which develops advanced engine management systems, has introduced a hands-free mobile phone option that combines proven savings with driver safety, and aims to meet the requirements of forthcoming new laws governing the use of phones in vehicles. The company has added a microphone and speaker to the existing Aplicom F-Series vehicle computer. It is an integrated part of the equipment. “Nobody is really sure what legislation governing mobile phone use in vehicles will bring, but we can be pretty certain that it will outlaw loose, handheld mobiles, and any attachment that is not a permanent fitting inside the vehicle is also under threat,” says Harry Thompson, managing director of RTL. “The RTL Handsfree option is highly flexible and has a wide range of functions. It can not only stop calls being made from a moving vehicle, but it will also screen, block, monitor or filter. This very wide range of control functions is all based around the need for improved safety,”

The new Handsfree application is designed to work alongside RTL’s fleet management software and uses the Aplicom F-Series vehicle computer. It also offers immediate additional cost savings as well as clear safety benefits, while ensuring fleet managers and their drivers can communicate clearly, quickly and within the restrictions of the impending new laws.

Third-party logistics provider Christian Salvesen is expecting a dramatic reduction in in-transit breakages for glass packaging manufacturers having developed a specially designed trailer. Its concept has been “inspired” by the dray vehicles used in the brewing industry.

Called Wingliner, the unit has been developed in conjunction with trailer manufacturer Don-Bur for Rockware Glass and has been designed to reduce the slippage associated with soft-sided curtainsiders. Unlike conventional curtainsiders, Wingliner is a 13.6m GRP solid-sided trailer lined with 32 PVC cushions that are moulded to support up to 26 pallets of fragile glass products.

Electrically-powered 6.7m “gull-wing” doors are operated by buttons at the front and rear of the trailer to give clearer access, reduce the risk of injury from repeat loading and unloading, and strapping down individual pallets.

Rockware Glass head of logistics Malcolm Vernon comments: “The Wingliner trailer is a substantial commitment by Christian Salvesen to the Rockware Glass contract. It will drive further improvements to service levels for customers – already at over 99% – at the same time as reducing waste in the supply chain.”

Steve Mercer, Salvesen’s group fleet services and procurement director and who developed Wingliner with Don-Bur sales director David Burton, says: “Salvesen has nailed its colours to developing flexible and creative solutions for customers. As crucial to this as in-house IT systems and investment into account managers, is the ability to develop customised fleet such as the Wingliner trailer, which meets individual contract needs.”

Transamerica Trailer Leasing is supplying modified and refurbished tri-axle curtainside trailers in customer livery for Ecoplas. The three-year contract hire agreement covers four trailers, which are being supplied through Transamerica’s Ferrybridge location for the Yorkshire-based PVC recycling company.

David Gaut, Ecoplas business development manager says: “Transamerica answers all of our requirements with flexibility and attention to detail. It has provided us with a solution to meet our needs through a mixture of owned and rental fleet, with a full service backing.” Ecoplas has eight trailers in its fleet – four owned and four on lease which benefit from Transamerica’s 24-hour, 365 days a year breakdown service TransAid.

Transamerica account manager Mike Copley says: “The deal was won because of Transamerica’s ability to be creative with customer wishes, which resulted in under-used 4m trailers being given a new life as tall curtains.” Ecoplas is one of the largest independent PVC recycling companies in the UK, based on a 13,950sq m site at Whitemore Business Park, in Selby, Yorkshire. There are 50 employees on the site, which is also the centre for exporting to Europe. Trailers are used to carry waste and redundant PVC-U and recycled PVC-U Granulate and Pulverised Powder.

Delice de France, based in Southall, Middlesex, has chosen Daf’s 7.5 tonner to deliver its continental bakery products to shops and restaurants throughout the UK. The company operates around 140 delivery vehicles, the latest front-line trucks being 7.5 tonne Daf LF45s with refrigerated bodies.

The LF45s are proving ideal for multi-drop work thanks to their manoeuvrability and good traffic compatibility. As a result of the London-based vehicles can make as many as 50 drops a day, with those based at other depots averaging between 20 and 30 daily drops.

“The LF45 is a great little truck for our type of work,” says fleet manager Martin Green. “They’re popular with our drivers who find them a very driver-friendly truck with a high level of comfort and car-like handling characteristics, which are important when they’re often operating in heavy town centre traffic.

“From my point of view I find them durable and versatile. With the fridge running constantly, fuel economy is good at around 10 – 12mpg and, as we’ve taken them on a four-year lease deal with Fraikin, I can budget their running costs very precisely.”

Reep, of Saltash in Cornwall, built the refrigerated bodies which are manufactured to ATP Class C specification and have Zanotti fridges. The rear door is in three sections to allow quick and easy loading and to reduce temperature loss during unloading as only one section needs to be open as the driver makes a drop. Transport and logistics company Cranleigh Freight Services (CFS) has just received the first three of the seven new Mega tractor units ordered from FG Barnes Guildford. The four other Mega tractor units are due on December 1. The Daf FT 95 Super Space cabs with lifting fifth wheel can pull any type of trailer and will work predominately on airfreight business.

The trucks are to integrate into extensive CFS European fleet. The aim of CFS is that by mid-2004 the fleet will become solely Megas. The £375,000 investment by the company is part of an on-going commitment to provide a modern fleet to service the customer base.

European operations director, Graham Young says: “Over the past year we have seen the European volume of business increase by 20%. It is therefore essential that we continue to service our clients to the highest standard of reliability and professionalism. This investment is our commitment to providing customers with the service expected from CFS.”

Another 28 assorted vehicles – rigids and tractor units – have gone into service with South-western waste collection and recycling specialist Viridor Waste Management. The new vehicles comprise Volvo FLEs, FM9s and FM12 rigids as well as FM12 tractor units.

Some of the FLEs are being equipped as skip loaders while others will carry 2,000 gallon vacuum tanks for wet waste. The FM9s will be similarly fitted for wet waste use while the FM12 rigids will be used as hooklifts and rear-end loaders. The FM12 tractor units will pull wet waste tanker trailers.

Viridor collection services manager Graham Warren says: “We choose from a shortlist for every annual procurement: the main criteria are price, specification and our previous experience of the manufacturers. Volvo were extremely competitive on price, their specification was just right for what we needed and we’re very happy with their product support too.”

The final 17 Iveco Daily City Trucks, out of on order for 126 vehicles, have now been delivered to Amtrak Express Parcels. The vehicles were supplied under a three-year contract hire agreement with Powermarque, with delivery spread over the past nine months, which also all routine servicing and maintenance, as well as tyres and emergency roadside assistance.

The 17 Daily City Truck 35S12s are being used to support Amtrak’s nationwide network which operates a fleet of 1,000 local delivery vehicles, used to distribute parcels to customers, and more than 300 trunking vehicles to transport parcels between hubs and depots.

Tony Jones, transport manager at Amtrak, explains: “The Daily City Trucks are ideally suited to our operation and have made a positive impact on our business. Our customers need to know that their vital parcels and consignments will be delivered on time, every time, and so choosing the right vehicle for the job is critical.”

This latest delivery has been split between the company’s branches in Croydon, Norwich and Kirkcaldy, with the vehicles operating six days a week and covering up to 30,000 miles a year.

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