Archive for 2012
Total bus and coach registrations grew 15.8% in January to 484, but the rolling year was down 11.7%. Purpose-built bus and coach registrations grew 40.6% in January despite the rolling year falling 58.2%. Converted bus registrations fell 9.7% in the month and by 29.5% over the past 12 months.
Commercial vehicle registrations dipped 8.6% in January, but the rolling year was up 14.2% to 301,400. Truck registrations were up 45.4% at 3,586 in the month and 24.6% to 44,063 in the rolling year. Van registrations were down 16.4% to 14,338 in January, but up 12.6% to 257,337 in the rolling year.
08 February 2012
Eddie Stobart and A. W. Jenkinson Forest Products have once again signed a joint-procurement agreement with Scania in the UK for the supply of 1,000 trucks. As such, the deal mirrors the order placed by the two operators in 2010, which at the time represented Scania’s largest ever supply agreement in the UK.
Scheduled for delivery between March 2012 and December 2013, approximately 300 units will enter service this year. As with the previous order, the mix of vehicles will comprise mainly Scania R-series tractor units but will also include a significant number of Scania G-series models.
“This agreement reflects our on-going satisfaction with Scania and the levels of support provided by the company’s dealer network,” comments Stobart Group Chief Operating Officer, William Stobart. “Scania’s focus on ongoing development will allow Eddie Stobart to continue to provide sustainable distribution and the usual high levels of service to its customers.”
“Over the past two years, the partnership between Eddie Stobart, A. W. Jenkinson and Scania has continued to develop positively,” says Hans-Christer Holgersson, Managing Director of Scania (Great Britain) Limited. “Winning such a significant repeat order not only demonstrates that our products meet the operational needs of these two high profile customers day-in day-out, but also the capabilities of our service organisation when it comes to providing a comprehensive range of back-up services on such a large geographical scale.”
Eddie Stobart, part of Stobart Group, is one of the most recognised and strongest brands in Britain, best known for its iconic green trucks. Today, Eddie Stobart is the name behind a road haulage fleet of 2,280 trucks and some of the best vehicle utilisation in the industry, helping to maximise efficiency and environmental benefits.
A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products and its subsidiaries handle over 2 million tonnes of green waste, roundwood, chips, sawdust, bark and other timber co-products each year, collected from forestry sites, sawmills and other wood processing industries throughout the UK. The company is the largest UK supplier of woodchip and bark products.
07 February 2012
By Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership
Durham County Council became the first local authority in the UK to introduce all-electric midi-buses, in September 2010.
The council successfully applied to the Green Bus Fund for three Optare Solo EVs. The authority received £300,000 in grants towards the additional costs of these 24-seat vehicles compared to the diesel-powered equivalents.
The 8.1m long buses were used in a re-tendering of the Cathedral Service city centre loop, which links Durham train station and the coach park with the historic city centre and Durham Cathedral and Castle – a World Heritage Site.
The route, operated by Dunn Motor Traction, passes through sensitive historical sites and a pedestrianised area, making the clean and quiet performance of the Solo EV ideal. Furthermore, the Council estimates that using the electric buses saves 46 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
In another innovative step, the County Council has taken on the risk of replacing the lithium-ion battery packs, enabling a competitive price to be offered from the tenders for this supported service. The contractor is just responsible for operating the vehicles and normal maintenance on all other components.
A spokesman for Durham County Council’s LTA team said: “The buses perform impressively – at least as well as a diesel equivalent in terms of speed and acceleration – and are strikingly quiet.
“We have had to look to Optare for warranty support from time to time, but overall the buses are fulfilling our expectations and the energy costs are proving attractive.”
06 February 2012
The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) has just issued their approval for Don-Bur’s Longer Semi Trailer Design, using a self-steer axle solution. The 15.65m long trailer was built for Wincanton and the turning circle and safety tests were carried out by the VCA at the MIRA testing grounds to ensure Level 2 compliance under the LST technical requirements. The endorsement clears the way for a VSO (Vehicle Special Order) to operate trailers of the same design in the UK.
Following recent technical requirement alterations made by the DfT; including practical turning circle tests, it was previously believed that to achieve the inner 5.3m turning circle limit, a heavier more costly positive steer solution would be required. However, with some engineering ingenuity, Don-Bur passed the demanding test with a more cost-effective and lighter self-steer axle system.
The news comes at a welcome time, when operators with a confirmed LST allocation are cementing specifications for imminent build. With self-steer axles carrying a lesser weight penalty than positively steered counterparts, LST’s can carry more payload within the 44T GVW limit.
David Burton, managing director for Don-Bur said “We are delighted to gain VCA approval for our LST design at such a critical time. Being able to offer a self-steer axle solution provides greater flexibility for the customer and maintains our position as market innovators.”
03 February 2012
Citan is the name of the new urban delivery van from Mercedes-Benz. The name was announced for the first time today at the Mercedes-Benz Design Centre in Sindelfingen, during a symposium on brand competence and city logistics. The name Citan is derived from the words “City” and “Titan”, so emphasising the vehicle’s role as a high-calibre specialist in city logistics, designed specifically for the rough and tumble of everyday working life.
The ideal partner in urban traffic
Its design is correspondingly robust and durable. At the same time it manages to meet the requirements of customers across the service industry, retail sector and a broad spectrum of trades: a generous load compartment with compact dimensions, allied to typical attributes of the
brand such as quality, economic efficiency, safety and dynamic driving, all combined with low fuel consumption and the low CO2 emissions to match. The choice of drive systems comprises a broad range of economical and low-emission diesel and petrol engines – including a BlueEFFICIENCY package. A version powered by an electric engine is already being planned.
The controls, the interior and the quality of materials and workmanship in the new Citan are at the high level that has become the hallmark of all Mercedes-Benz vans. The urban delivery van was developed and tested to the same standards as its larger Sprinter and Vito siblings and is in no way inferior to these. As with every Mercedes-Benz, safety is paramount: ESP is part of the standard specification for all variants.
Market launch of Citan to be in the autumn of 2012
Considerable variety in terms of the available variants guarantees the new urban delivery van a broad range of potential commercial uses: the Citan is available as a panel van, crewbus or Mixto in various lengths and weight categories.
The market launch of the Citan will take place in the autumn of 2012. It will be on show to the general public for the first time in September at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover.
06 February 2012
By Isuzu Truck
At Southampton based oil and fuels distributor WP Group, the longevity, manoeuvrability and reliability of a tanker vehicle are the driving factors when specifying new assets for their 32-strong fuel distribution fleet. The recent addition of a brand new 11 tonnes Isuzu midi tanker resulted from the proven performance of the company’s first Isuzu, an 8 tonne baby tanker, that has given the company outstanding performance over its working life.
As Russell Fairchild, operations director at WP Group says, “We have run our first Isuzu on a daily basis for over 11 years and its reliability, manoeuvrability and driver recommendation were all deciding factors in ordering an Isuzu again for this latest slightly bigger new midi tanker.”
Supplied by local Isuzu dealership, Ferndown Commercials Ltd, this newest vehicle within the WP fleet is an Isuzu F110.210 rigid, specified with Isuzu’s popular Easyshift transmission. The 4×2 rigid has been fitted with a 7500 litre, twin compartment Magyar aluminium tanker body that conforms to the latest ADR and UK petroleum industry regulations.
The tank is built on a subframe that gives it the necessary extra strength, but also allows the chassis to flex in normal operating conditions. One additional safety feature of the tanker body is its fuel metering system that allows the driver to read the tanker capacity levels from ground level, therefore keeping the driver off the top of the tanker itself.
WP Group currently operates 32 commercial vehicles, ranging from the Isuzu 8 tonne baby tanker right up to 44 tonne articulated tankers that are capable of delivering 37,000 litres of fuel. According to WP, the role of each of these vehicles is critical in the supply of fuels and lubricants to its customers and, although most of the WP fleet consists of much larger tankers, there is considerable demand from customers for a specialised service.
After considering a number of options, the versatility of the 11 tonne Isuzu was the best solution for this latest midi tanker acquisition and as Russell Fairchild confirmed, “The new Isuzu is currently performing really well in a number of demanding roles from those ‘hard-to-reach’ rural customers needing heating oil through to keeping large generators running at many public events across the South of England.”
This Isuzu 11 tonne midi tanker is based at the WP depot in Southampton and operates primarily in the South of England covering approximately 25,000 miles per annum. The standard tanker replacement policy at WP is 10 years, but in the case of Isuzu this timescale is flexible following the proven reliability of the first Isuzu tanker, which already has 11 years uninterrupted service under its belt.
“The Isuzu brand has many attributes that appeal to dedicated and specialist operations and is certainly carving a niche in the oil and fuel distribution sector. The reliability, manoeuvrability and long-term performance of the product are built-in features that are required to help maintain the high standards of operational service required by customers such as WP. We are confident that their new 11 tonne Isuzu will give them many years of premium quality service during its working life,” said Keith Child, marketing director at Isuzu Truck UK.
Full details of the current Isuzu Truck range can be viewed and downloaded from the company’s website on www.isuzutruck.co.uk
07 February 2012
Specialist Commercial Vehicle fleet management and maintenance services company Fraikin has been awarded a significant prestigious and unique contract for the provision of fleet management services to support the Cartwright Rental Fleet of trailers and associated equipment across its fleet of 5,000 trailer’s throughout the UK.
As one of the UK’s leading commercial vehicle bodybuilder and trailer manufacturers, Cartwright Rentals is the rental arm of the Cartwright Group and has enjoyed exceptional growth in the last 4 years both with new and existing prestigious blue chip organisations. Cartwright Rentals serves a high brand blue chip customer base who demand exceptional service levels with a high quality fleet of trailers.
Fraikin, will provide robust policing of the repairer network which will include the adoption of their own national network of workshops, as well as a new site at Manchester commissioned specifically for this contract. Services provided by Fraikin will include proactive maintenance scheduling, the control and inclusion of out of hours roadside breakdown assistance and recovery, and engineering support and expertise to ensure that the Cartwright fleet consistently meets the high standards required and expected by their customers.
Fraikin will provide national breakdown cover across the UK, 24 hours a day seven days a week, co-ordinated from its recently-established breakdown centre at Oldbury, West Midlands.
The two companies, both leaders in their respective fields in the UK, have developed a strong working relationship following the highly successful £27M build and implementation of 401 specialist Prison Escort and Custodial Services vehicles for the Ministry of Justice contract awarded to GEO Amey.
Peter Backhouse, Fraikin’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Securing this significant contract with the Cartwright Group endorses our position as one of the UK’s leading fleet management and maintenance service providers and recognises the significant capabilities of Fraikin Ltd. We are delighted to be closely associated with the Cartwright Group who mirror our own high customer service ethos and exacting standards of quality workmanship. Extending our relationship with Cartwrights further this also now enables us to work with our other valued customers in providing access to quality rental trailers at competitive prices from a leading trailer supply partner.”
The Cartwright Rentals trailer fleet is provided to customers on a short or long term rental arrangement. The diverse specialist fleet includes temperature controlled double deck and the aerodynamic Cheetah trailers that have been specifically designed and produced to reduce operating costs, improve fuel consumption and reducing carbon footprint.
Steven Cartwright, Director, Cartwright, said: “We are impressed with Fraikin’s expertise at fleet management and we look forward to reaping the advantages of their professional approach in years to come.
“We have already established a close collaboration and they have taken the time to fully understand our business. This is a very exciting time for both Cartwright and Fraikin.”
Fraikin, which was established in the UK in 1978, delivers a total vehicle solution from advice on purchasing, through financing to maintenance and breakdown cover, providing more than 20,000 vehicles from vans to maximum weight trucks and trailers, right up to plant and machinery.
Cartwright is a privately-owned and family-run firm, which this year is celebrating its 60th year of manufacturing. The company operates one of the most efficient bodywork and manufacturing plants in Europe at its 38-acre site at Altrincham, Cheshire.
06 February 2012
By Renault Trucks
Renault Truck Commercials, the largest dealer group in the Renault Trucks UK network, has invested £300,000 in a fleet of 22 Renault Master and Kangoo vans to enhance customer service and strengthen aftersales support. The new vans, which include sixteen customer courtesy vehicles as well as parts, service and breakdown vans, are allocated across eleven Renault Truck Commercials dealerships in England and Wales.
The investment is part of Renault Truck Commercial’s ongoing plan to improve standards across its eleven dealerships. The courtesy vehicle fleet comprises of thirteen Kangoos and three Masters. Additional parts delivery support will be provided by three Master vans and also a Kangoo. All the new vans are liveried in Renault Truck Commercials’ distinctive branding.
Christophe Blazere, Managing Director, Renault Truck Commercials says: “This marks a major commitment in our drive to deliver service excellence through customer-led aftersales support. Strengthening our service and parts van fleet is key to providing a more responsive service across our dealerships, whilst investing in a professional and practical range of courtesy vans will provide customers with a vehicle whilst their own is being serviced or repaired so we ensure they keep their business moving.”
Renault Truck Commercials operates from eleven strategically located dealerships across England and Wales, providing expert knowledge and specialist support to owner driver and large fleet operators. Its dealer network, which employs 230 staff, provides sales, service and parts for the full range of Renault Trucks vans and trucks, from 3.5 to 120 tonnes as well as all-makes parts and servicing for commercial vehicles.
02 February 2012
By Penny Hydraulics
The new SwingLift FV995 vehicle mounted crane has been introduced by Penny Hydraulics (www.pennyhydraulics.com) to meet demand from customers for a fully hydraulic crane with near one-tonne maximum working load but who do not want or need the added cost and complexity demanded by the new EN12999 regulations. These stipulate that any cranes with a maximum working load of 1000kg or over must have additional sensors and interlocks to remain compliant.
“Many customers with workaday handling requirements do not encounter the maximum working loads that would lead to EN12999 being relevant,” says Richard Short, Sales Director at Penny Hydraulics. “Nor do they need the added complexity and potential reliability issues that computer controlled systems offered by some to comply with the new legislation would bring. However they do want the performance to handle a wide range of loads safely, simply and economically. By modifying one of our proven crane designs we can offer these customers a highly reliable alternative that is simple to specify and use on their commercial vehicles.”
The new A3 amendment of the EN12999 European Standard for loader cranes includes the requirement that units with a maximum working load of 1000kg or more must be fitted with interlocks to monitor the main support/stabiliser legs and interlocks to prevent load handling when they are not deployed correctly. Further sensors must be used to show when stabilisers and crane are stowed for travelling. A visual and audible warning must be visible from the transport driving position to alert the operator when these conditions are not met.
The new SwingLift FV995 crane has a maximum working load of 995kg and has been designed to complement existing models in the versatile SwingLift range. Because its maximum working load is below 1000kg it does not require the additional interlocks demanded by the EN12999 European Standard but like all SwingLift cranes still comes with load sensing and limiting devices as standard. Compact design, robust construction and light weight ensure it can be installed on a wide range of commercial vehicles to provide reliable and flexible load handling capabilities that reduce or eliminate the need for manual handling, promote productivity and allow operators to comply with health and safety regulations.
Self contained hydraulics with a choice of remote or proportional static controls provide full slew rotation, powered boom extension with hydraulic raise and lower for controlled, precise, safe handling and all round access to loads. This helps to ensure that there are no unexpected or sudden movements from the crane or load, even when the vehicle is parked on uneven ground. Hydraulic boom extension, combined with a range of optional manual extensions, eliminates the need to climb on the vehicle or approach the crane to adjust its reach for improved productivity and greater safety. The addition of an optional hydraulic or electric winch enables the crane to raise and lower loads below ground level, for example to support utility maintenance and engineering tasks.
The crane has a maximum lifting capacity of 995kg at 1.5 metres with the boom fully retracted, but can also handle a generous 550kg when the boom is extended to 2.5 metres and 200kg at full 4.3 metre extension. This means that the SwingLift FV995 can handle a wide range of loads to either side or rear of the vehicle wherever it is mounted on the chassis. Fixed proportional controls or a wander lead with simple push button controls enables operators to remain well away from the lifting area when handling loads for ultimate safety. Like all SwingLift cranes it incorporates a patented overload protection device.
Compact design and an overall weight of under 200kg in standard configuration ensures that the SwingLift FV955 can be installed without unduly affecting load carrying capacity. It folds down when not in use to leave clear and unobstructed access to the vehicle and load space. A choice of 12 or 24V power enables simple installation by connection to the existing vehicle battery. The unique mounting socket fitting allows the crane to be transferred between vehicles.
The FV995 complements existing Swing Lift cranes in the Penny Hydraulics range and is designed to comply with all major health and safety and load handling regulations including PUWER and LOLER. Penny Hydraulics offers a nationwide training and after sales service and can also supply cranes ready for installation by vehicle body builders at their own premises.