Rhys Davies Logistics has added 20 DAFs to its fleet to meet growth in its palletised and urban distribution operations.
It has taken a mix of DAF CF 460 FT four by two tractors, CF 330 FAN six-wheel 26-tonne rigids and CF 220 FA 18-tonners.
Fleet operations manager Andy Williams said: “We operate out of nine bases across the UK these days, and have a fast-growing volume of work that takes us into congested urban areas. This has already driven us to take on a dozen urban trailers to ease the drivers’ job, but our existing 6×2 tractors were still causing more problems than we wanted. We had plenty of work for those elsewhere, so opted to trial urban tractors from a range of manufacturers. We ran them out of our Haydock and Whitburn (Scotland) bases, operating ‘round the clock on like-for-like work. It was what I’d describe as ‘real Rhys Davies work in real time’, “so it was an authentic test of what we might expect in operations.”
The new tractors will be double-shifted, carrying out normal distribution operations by day, and then running as trunkers between RDL depots at night. This has brought about a change to the normal seven-year R&M packages the operator has taken in the past.
Williams said: “With the opportunity to run these tractors on day/night operations, we reckon we will be covering about 180,000kms a year. Whereas in the past we’d have run up to seven years on day-only work, with corresponding R&M, we are taking the DAFs on five-year packages, with a view to selling them on at the end of that period.”
Rhys Davies managing director Mark Richmond said: “The business has been growing consistently over recent years, and our palletised curtain-side operations have been squarely behind our move to this urban fleet – a growth of some 30 per cent in the fleet currently working on such contracts. The rigids,” he said, “are all part of the same development programme and feature trial box-body doors at each end and rear-steer axles to aid manoeuvrability in the tight urban environments where we now operate. With our nine nationwide branches, we are able to operate an independent pallet network service with a focus on specialism as our customers require.”
The company has traditionally bought and re-sold all its trucks and vans, and in this instance, funding from PACCAR Financial has been used for the new fleet.
* Leyland Trucks is developing a training scheme designed to encourage a younger work force into engineering.
The Career Pathway Scheme first introduced at the company’s Lancashire manufacturing facility in 2015, offers employees full-time training across a broad range of engineering roles, to improve their skillset and widen career options.
HR director Ivan Shearer said: “The scheme is proving really popular with employees and has already showed great promise. Taking people out of their current roles and putting them into full-time training represents a significant investment for us. However, we recognise that we are fortunate to have a bank of talented and committed people already employed at Leyland, so we wanted a post-apprentice package specifically aimed at nurturing and developing their skills.”