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FTA members Brexit wish lists include single market access and hiring non-UK drivers

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Brexit priorities for the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) international haulage members include tariff-free access to the single market and the ability to hire non-UK drivers, according to a new survey.

And, while 64% view the short-term prospects for their businesses with pessimism, only 50% think Britain’s exit from the European Union will make things worse in the long term.

FTA’s international haulage members were polled on a number of issues and many of those who responded agreed it was too early to make a precise judgement until the new deal has been agreed. The top three priorities were continued full access to the single market, tariff-free access for goods and preservation of access to the single market for services.

Members are also keen are keen to retain the ability to hire non-UK drivers, who would have the right to work in both the UK and in the single market.

Chris Yarsley, FTA’s EU affairs manager, said: “With the UK’s current driver shortage, it’s no surprise that labour mobility issues are at the forefront of international transport businesses minds and this is certainly something FTA will be pressing the Government to prioritise this when the negotiations begin.

“These results reflect the fact that companies prefer certainty to the unknown, which is where we find ourselves at the moment. However, FTA and its members are ready to face the challenge head-on and engage with Government to obtain the best possible deal so that UK operators can continue to deliver the goods,…

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£1.5m factory extension for Trucksmith Luton van converters

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Trucksmith, the Devon-based Luton van conversion company, has opened a new £1.5m extension to its factory.

The company, an official partner for marques including Renault, Vauxhall and Fiat. Now celebrating its 30th year of production, the firm has expanded its production facility to more than 64,000 sq ft to cope with the demand for its vehicles.

The new facilities will accommodate the production of up to 25 low-floored Luton vans/minbuses per week  and allow Trucksmith to invest further in research and development into manufacturing technologies which has been central to the success of the business.

“Early on the company identified problems associated with payload in traditional Luton vans. We have developed new techniques to ensure all Trucksmith products provided outstanding payload for this class of low-loading vehicles”, said managing director Daniel Trebble.

“We continually invest in equipment and people so we can provide the highest quality services, and we support a range of industries by providing solutions to common delivery and loading challenges,” Daniel said.

“Our team has grown by 33% to just under 100 employees in the past year. We have successfully trained and retrained individuals to work across our business, from product design to carpentry to engineering to drivers.”

Trebble welcomed Honiton MP Neil Parish to the factory and introduced him to staff after a guided tour of the new facilities.

Parish said: “It is fantastic to celebrate such a huge regional success story with this family-run business now at the forefront of its sector. The business has built a national reputation for designing and building premium commercial vehicle bodies and should be applauded for its success.

“Trucksmith is a company of which Devon can be very proud.”

He added: “I am pleased that manufacturing skills are flourishing here in Devon. By taking on trainees – something which I strongly support – Trucksmith is investing in the next generation to continue their proud heritage.”

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5 Great Taxi Apps

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When you need to order a taxi, whether it’s to get to the airport, or to get home after an evening out – you no longer need to stand on the street corner or even call the taxi firm.

There are now several apps on the market that make ordering a taxi extremely quick and convenient. While the market is still relatively young, there are already some fantastic taxi apps available to try out. Below are five of the best (article provided by Multiquote Taxi Insurance who provide an online taxi, private hire, public hire, black cab insurance comparison service).


Uber is easily the most well-known and widely available taxi app on the market and is available in some 48 countries. It’s incredibly easy to use – you simply book a taxi through the app when you need one. There’s no pre-booking option but this isn’t what Uber advertises itself as.

Another thing that makes Uber extremely convenient is that it lets you know what the journey will cost beforehand and you simply through the app – meaning you don’t have to worry about having the right amount of cash to pay the driver.

Also if you happen to leave something in the taxi then you can also message the driver to let them know.


Gett is an app for booking black cabs that’s available in 32 cities across the world. It allows you to request a taxi and then track where it is in real time. Like Uber – Gett enables you to pay for your journey through the app itself.

Gett only works with TfL regulated black cabs and meets up with every driver that signs up for their service to provide training to ensure passenger safety.

You can get credit to use with the service by recommending it to friends. You get £10 credit for every friend recommended who uses the service. It’s currently available in several major UK cities including London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow.


Hailo is another excellent option for booking taxis. It works in a very similar way to Uber in that you simply select a pickup location and driver and then the taxi is sent to you immediately.

There is the ability to track the route of your taxi when it’s on the way but you’ll be informed when it arrives by the app anyhow.
Hailo is available in selected cities in the UK and nationwide in Ireland and Singapore. It’s also available in Spain’s two busiest cities – Madrid and Barcelona.


CabWise is somewhat different to the apps above in that it doesn’t allow to book taxis through the app. Instead it simply lets you know of the nearest licensed minicab office.

This might sound like quite a basic thing but it’s actually an extremely useful way to ensure that the minicab that you’re getting in is from a licensed office and the driver is licensed and insured.


Kabbee provides a very similar similar to CabWise except it comes with the bonus of sorting the local minicab offices based on criteria such as fare rates, ratings, types of vehicles and punctuality. This makes it an excellent way to save money and pick the right service when you’re in an area you’re not familiar with.

Kabbee is currently only available in London.

A-Plant invests more than £1 million in new transport fleet

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A-Plant has invested more than £1 million in a new transport fleet that is capable of double stacking accommodation units on customer sites.

The new vehicles help A-Plant’s accommodation division offer a more efficient delivery and installation service to customers.

Working closely with key suppliers Lancashire DAF, Fosters Commercials and Palfinger, A-Plant has purchased a number of specially-modified vehicles.

Based on 32-tonne DAF trucks and fitted with 78-tonne Palfinger cranes, the new vehicles have the capacity to double stack 32 ft accommodation units on site.

Ian Needham, A-Plant’s director of accommodation, said: “We believe we are one of the only national accommodation hirers to be able to double stack such large accommodation units from our vehicles, meaning we can now offer a more cost and time efficient delivery service.”

He added: “Despite the impressive height they reach when double stacked, safety is not compromised.

“The vehicles incorporate Palfinger’s high performance stability control (HPSC) which enables safe working within tight spaces, plus they also prevent post-oscillation in the event of rapid braking or load changes.”

The chassis of the vehicles has been developed by Lancashire DAF, while the body and ancillary equipment have been manufactured by Fosters Commercials.

The Palfinger 78002 SH loader crane has been fitted to the new fleet.

A-Plant Accommodation has a hire fleet of more than 16,000 units, from a single cabin to fully linked site complexes, through dedicated accommodation service centres across the UK.

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Topspeed Couriers cuts planning time by 80% with Maxoptra scheduling

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Topspeed Couriers has reduced the time taken to plan the daily work programme by up to 80%, following the introduction of the Maxoptra dynamic routing and scheduling system.

The company provides same-day and next-day courier services across the UK, specialising in the transport of biological samples, radioactive material, criminal evidence and other restricted or prohibited materials, and operates a nationwide fleet of more than 90 Mercedes Benz vans from its headquarters in Knutsford, Cheshire.

A centralised operations team allocates more than 200 jobs per day, balancing demand against capacity whilst taking into account locations, collection times, daily driving limits and other compliance and service level issues.

Topspeed is a provider of courier services under the Crown Commercial Services Framework and is using the Maxoptra platform to improve the management of key Government contracts. Using Maxoptra, Topspeed can automatically produce optimised daily schedules and driver routes that in turn contribute to an improvement in customer service and a reduction in operational costs.

Phil Mason, operations manager at Topspeed Couriers, said: “Prior to the introduction of Maxoptra, the time taken to plan the next day’s schedule was around five hours, with one of the biggest bottlenecks being the gap between our sales order processing software and our fleet tracking system.

“Using Maxoptra, we have been able to bridge this gap, which is contributing to a saving in operational planning of up to four hours every day – equivalent to nearly 1,000 man hours per annum.”

Maxoptra allows for the export of data from Topspeed’s back office AME software, the production of optimised routes and integration with the company’s fleet management platform from TomTom. Maxoptra gives full visibility of the daily schedule in real time, allowing the operations team to proactively manage potential issues such as on site delays or traffic jams.

Given the sensitivity of many of Topspeed’s consignments, Maxoptra also provides service accountability with performance monitoring, customer service management, KPI reporting and historical evidence for the identification of service improvements.

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Mick George cuts admin by 70 hours per week using r2c Online system

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Mick George has has said it is saving 70 hours per week using the r2c Online system to manage maintenance and driver pre-use checks.

The company is a leading independent supplier to the construction industry within East Anglia and the East Midlands and has adopted r2c Online to manage their workshop and fleet management operations, along with driver pre-use checks across their fleet of 260 LGVs.

“We had a massive amount of paperwork,” said Joe Gossage, transport manager for Mick George.

“Inspection sheets, driver pre-use checks, wall planners; it was all manually generated.

“Not only did that mean an unsustainable about of time spent on administration but it opened the door to errors such as incorrectly-completed inspection sheets or missing documentation.”

Gossage added: “We have saved around 70 hours per week in administration time using r2c Online. That time is now being spent on a more proactive approach to fleet maintenance.”

The system is used by the transport office, by drivers and in the company’s in-house workshop which maintains around 50% of the fleet.

One of the biggest reductions in administration for Mick George has been achieved using the driver pre-use checks module (

With drivers completing a defect report prior and after use, 500 defects sheets were being produced every day. Prior to using r2c Online these were all manually reviewed and acted upon by the transport office.

Gossage added: “Drivers complete their daily checks using their mobile phone – that information is uploaded to the system in real-time.

At the click of a button we can use the system to address the defect as required; either booking the work in or assigning it to the next scheduled service date. It gives us full traceability of our defect management and is entirely paperless.”

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Transport Minister says no plans to cut drink-drive limit in England and Wales

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The Transport Minister is being urged to learn from Scottish drink-drive laws after announcing his plans not to cut the limit in England and Wales.

That’s the message from road safety charity Brake after Andrew Jones confirmed there would be no review of the limit.

As reported by Sky News, Mr Jones said: “The Government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink-driving limit.”

Brake said the comments seem to be at odds with Mr Jones’ stated intentions to discuss the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact.

It added that figures show the number of drink drive offences fell by more than 12% in Scotland in the first nine months after the drink drive limit was lowered from 80 to 50mg/100ml of blood in December 2014. It dropped by almost 8% during the first year in total, the figure being reduced by a drink-driving spike over Christmas and New Year.

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Campaigns director for Brake, Gary Rae said: “We would urge the minister to listen to and learn from his Scottish counterpart and respect the wishes of both the British public and the police by following Scotland’s lead and dropping the drink drive limit. Early indications show a clear reduction in offences in Scotland which can only make our roads safer and mean fewer devastating preventable deaths and injuries. This would be a useful step in moving towards a complete zero tolerance of drink driving, which is the only way to make our roads safe.”

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AMT Group targets chauffeur sector with £250,000 investment

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Vehicle rental business AMT Group has strengthened its position in the luxury chauffeur sector with the addition of five Mercedes-Benz V-Class Sport MPVs, valued at £250,000, to its fleet of high specification specialist vehicles.

The new vehicles join AMT’s growing fleet, which includes Mercedes S-Class limousines, plus E-Class, Range Rover LWB, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8.

“Increasingly, we are finding that corporate and private customers are not only demanding top of the range vehicles, but also want a wider choice of types of models from prestige and sports performance cars, electric and hybrid to people carriers, MPVs, double cabs and pick-ups,” said Neil McGawley, managing director of AMT Group. “Luxury chauffeur driven vehicles is a buoyant market segment, particularly for airport transfers, and consequently we are continuing to invest in upgrading this part of our fleet to ensure that we can provide the very latest and most luxurious models.”

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London Reclaimed Brick Merchants adds Renault Trucks to its fleet

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London Reclaimed Brick Merchants has added three Renault Trucks 26-tonne Range D26 Wide 6×2 R320 E6 models to its fleet.

The vehicles, supplied through Renault Trucks London on a five-year contract hire agreement with BRS, replace three other trucks and will be used to transport reclaim bricks from demolition sites across London and surrounding areas to the company’s north west London and Buckinghamshire depots.

They are fitted with Palfinger PK13001A cranes.

Stuart Wilbraham, transport manager for London Reclaimed Brick Merchants, said: “Renault Trucks offered the best overall deal including the contract hire arrangement and outstanding vehicle performance.

“Our trucks spend most of their time on challenging London roads and accessing building sites, so ground clearance and manoeuvrability are crucial.

“The Range D allows us to go pretty much anywhere in London and the vehicle’s rear steer is perfect for helping around corners in the back streets.”

The new Range Ds are fitted with a whole vehicle type approved Transloader platform body, plus FORS side view camera system and detachable fall arrest.

Wilbraham added: “Safety is paramount when driving in London and both the Range Ds and Transloader bodies have been designed to exceed the current FORS legislation with a comprehensive array of safety features including the camera and video recording system, special mirrors as well as vision glass in the passenger door so the driver can see the nearside clearly.”

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Low Cost Vans hires on back of successful TV show

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The Neath-based van company, which has featured in the recent Channel 4 TV show The Job Interview, has now hired one of the eight candidates interviewed.

The series documented the company’s recruitment process by following the stories and progress of a number of candidates seeking employment at the company.

The key scenes in the first programme of the five-episode series featured them being interviewed for a role by Rod Lloyd, chief executive officer of Low Cost Vans, and HR manager Lorraine Kitchen.

At the end of the programme, which featured two companies looking for new staff, it was revealed that Jody Richards had been successful. Richards was offered a role in the business and now works as a customer service representative at Low Cost Vans.

Lloyd said: “Jody was very nervous during her interview, not because the interview was being filmed, but because she hadn’t had a formal interview for 12 years. We are a very down to earth company and I think that helped her settle in and answer the questions we asked.

“I have to say that overall, the show has been great for us as we have sourced a great employee in Jody. She is quickly settling into things here.”

The interview with Low Cost Vans was her first for 12 years having taken a career break to bring up her family.

She said: “I am over the moon to have been offered a job at Low Cost Vans. I applied for the show because I wanted

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DPF Clean Team develops new technology to identify cracked filters

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DPF Clean Team has developed a method for uncovering cracked or broken diesel particulate filters (DPFs), which could deliver huge savings to fleet managers.

The nationwide automotive reconditioning specialist has been working with a European university research team to develop a unique new way to identify cracked filters on DPFs, catalytic converters and silencer units, without the need to cut open the filter. It means that the company can now diagnose a cracked filter far more quickly than before, helping to return vehicles to the road quicker than ever.

Previously, the business had no way of telling whether or not a filter was damaged, without opening up the component, which took both time and skill. This new method will identify any internal damage, and enable the team of specialist DPF engineers to determine whether or not a unit is damaged as soon as it is delivered to them.

The new method has also enabled the business to start offering an exchange service for new, reconditioned components, allowing fleet managers to part exchange their damaged or broken DPFs when purchasing a new, reconditioned unit from DPF Clean Team’s online store. The business claims that this new technique is not only faster, but is also more accurate than any other method available on the market.

Cameron Bryce, managing director at DPF Clean Team, said: “Previously the only way of detecting a cracked or damaged component was to open up the filter, or do an external check, looking for soot in the engine exhaust, or

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Rising van market requires focus on safety

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The growth of vans on UK roads, fuelled by the surge in home deliveries, has highlighted the need for flexible road safety systems.

Telematics provider Greenroad says many of these are driven by people who have received no professional driving training before getting behind the wheel, and as such may have poor driving practices that are being left unchecked.

Damage-only accidents in the UK resulted in more than £4.3 billion worth of damage to vehicles and property in 2012. For a delivery company or small tradesman even a minor accident can result in disruption to business and customer dissatisfaction and a fatal accident could prove ruinous.

Chris Horbowyj, director of UK Sales for GreenRoad said: “By putting people who lack professional driving training behind the wheel many companies are exposing themselves to the risk of dangerous, costly and reputation-ruining collisions.

“Many van drivers are not professionally trained and, indeed, some may not even realise the extent to which they can improve their driving to adopt a safe, smooth, fuel-efficient approach.

“With their busy schedules, there is always the temptation for drivers to cut corners and rush their journeys. Fleet safety is all too often an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be and it doesn’t need to be thanks to modern mobile technology.”

Horbowyj added: “Mobile technology is set to overtake traditional wired-in telematics as the technology advances and its advantages become apparent.

“It is highly accessible and easy to use – almost every van driver will have a smartphone or mobile device

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Sigmavision wins Tyresafe Innovation and Technology Award

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Sigmavision’s 3D Treadreader tyre scanning technology has been recognised with a Tyresafe award for Innovation and Technology.

The award was given to Sigmavision at the Tyresafe 10th Anniversary Awards, in recognition of the innovative use of technology within the tyre industry.

Sigmavision was also praised for a measurable and positive contribution to raising awareness of tyre safety issues. Across eleven award categories, entries were submitted by tyre, car and van manufacturers and retailers, fleet operators, emergency services, local councils and tyre safety stakeholders.

Chairman of Tyresafe Stuart Jackson, said: “The last couple of years have seen the introduction of some outstanding technologies capable of advancing tyre safety across the whole country.

“Owing to the number of strong entries and the technologies’ potential, this category was the hardest of all in which to separate a winner from runners-up.

Andrew Pryce, managing director of Sigmavision, added: “We are delighted to receive such recognition for a technology that is making a real impact in the market, and addressing the significant tyre safety issues not just in the UK, but in all markets.

“The 3D scans produced by our products engage the motorist, or fleet operator, and clearly present a tyre’s tread depth and wear patterns. We are seeing great interest in our products and technology across all sectors, from fast fit and tyre specialists to dealership groups and law enforcement.”

During the course of the TyreSafe Tyre Safety Briefing ahead of the Awards Dinner, delegates’ vehicle tyres were scanned by Sigmavision engineers using the Treadreader Hand Held scanners. The

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New Alex Original refrigeration units installed by VMS

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VMS Fleet Management has introduced its new Alex Original refrigeration unit.

The TRCR 121 is from the 1000 series range and has been designed to fit any make or model of panel van or light commercial vehicle.

Fruit and vegetable supplier AM Bailey has taken a unit on a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

The conversion was carried out by Polar Truck & Van, and this added unit will help during peak times as customer deliveries are the number one priority.

Marc Kemp, general manager, AM Bailey, has said “The conversion of the new refrigeration unit was done to a very high standard, and the sales and service team at VMS whom I have spoken to since, come across in a professional and efficient manner. The refrigerated van will help increase our overall customer satisfaction and experience as it will be used to help our transport operation run smoothly and efficiently.”

VMS is the the sole distributor of the ALEX Original range of temperature controlled products in the UK.

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Continental develops ultra-efficient tyre for Volvo Concept Truck

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Continental has been announced as the official tyre supplier of the Volvo Concept Truck project. 

The main goal of the project is to significantly improve the freight-moving efficiency of future trucks and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The project focuses on the complete vehicle, both truck and trailer.

Volvo developers, together with other key suppliers, have looked at many innovative solutions to meet the project’s ambitious targets.

Klaus Kreipe, head of original equipment (OE) Truck Tyres at Continental, said: “To strengthen our long-standing collaboration and development partnership with Volvo Trucks, Continental is participating in the project as the official tyre supplier.

“We supported the ambitious and future-oriented project goals by supplying special prototype tyres with superior rolling resistance performance.”

“During the tyre development, several innovative measures were taken for all prototype tyres which enable improved fuel efficiency with a well-balanced performance in other criteria.”

As a result of the successful cooperation, the concept truck was equipped with Continental tyres 315/70 R22.5 for both steer & drive axles, while the trailer of the concept truck was equipped with 385/55 R22.5 tyres.

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FTA welcomes EU low-emission strategy

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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the European Commission’s proposed low-emission strategy.

The body said that the proposed measures are a step in the right direction to reducing freight carbon emissions, and noted that the strategy does not focus on only one or two specific measures but lists a variety of measures, recognising that there is not just one solution to help decarbonise transport.

Said to ‘set clear and fair guiding principles to Member States’ in preparation for the future, the low-emission mobility strategy frames the initiatives that the Commission is planning in the coming years.

Pauline Bastidon, FTA head of European policy said: “There is no one size fits all approach to reducing freight carbon emissions – a whole package of operational and technical measures are required for the sector to make a contribution to climate change reduction targets. 

“An effective framework for low emission alternative energy and an adequate roll-out of infrastructure for alternative fuels are key for us and can go a long way in helping the logistics sector reduce its carbon footprint.” 

FTA did note however, that two fundamental issues were not sufficiently emphasised in the strategy including grants to support the take up of new technologies, and changes to vehicle weights and dimensions.  

Bastidon added: “The Commission needs to ensure that financial instruments providing guarantees to private investors are not the only source of funding available for the take-up of new technologies, and we would also like to see changes to vehicle weights and dimensions

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Hoyer Petrolog to provide bulk fuel transport and logistics services to BP

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Hoyer has entered into a long-term agreement with BP to provide bulk fuel transport and logistics services throughout the UK.

As part of the contract, Hoyer will take on responsibility for order taking, stock management, scheduling, despatch, physical execution and reconciliation of all retail fuels in the UK as well as aviation fuels in Northern Ireland.

Mark Binns, chairman of Hoyer Petrolog UK, said: “We are delighted to confirm this new contract involving more than 400 staff and drivers and 120 vehicles.

“The agreement is a significant step in Hoyer achieving its strategic growth objectives for both the UK and across Europe.”

He added: “This contract award also builds on the already existing relationship between the Hoyer Group and BP who are one of our most important corporate customers.”

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A Staunton Groundworks and Civil Engineering adds Renault Trucks Range C to fleet

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Leigh-on-Sea-based A Staunton Groundworks and Civil Engineering has added two Renault Trucks Range C vehicles to its 30-strong fleet.

The two 32-tonne Range C430.32 8×4 tippers are being used across Essex Highways and Hertfordshire Council Highways on maintenance as well as high-profile projects.

The new vehicles, supplied by Renault Trucks Essex, are fitted with a Fruehauf double insulated tipper body, Epsilon crane with grab bucket, full FORS camera warning system and an onboard weighing system to ensure correct aggregate weights and avoid overloading.

Anthony Staunton, director at A Staunton, said: “We have been running some Renault vans for a while and they’ve been working well for us. So when we were looking for some new tippers everyone recommended the Range C.

“Keeping our drivers happy is a priority for running a successful operation and from day one they were completely smitten with the Range C.”

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Hyundai iLoad is Glass’s ‘Used Van Hero’ for July

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The Hyundai iLoad has been named as Glass’s Used Van Hero for July, offering toughness and reliability alongside strong specification and value.

Each month, Glass’s commercial vehicle editors hold a meeting to name the current Used Van Hero in the UK market – the model they believe offers outstanding value, quality and ability.

Andy Picton, senior commercial vehicle editor, said: “The iLoad is not very well-known and doesn’t sell in large numbers but, to our mind, is one of the best used LCV choices on the market.

“It is a good looking, very reliable and practical van that has bags of equipment as standard spec. The only real downside for buyers is that there is no specialist van dealer network support from Hyundai. However, overall, we believe that it is an excellent choice for our first ever Used Van Hero.”

Picton highlights some key points that make the Hyundai iLoad a Used Van Hero:

USED VAN HERO: Hyundai iLoad 114 Comfort

WHY? Tough and reliable van, good engine, decent specification and has driveway appeal

WHEN WAS IT ON SALE? 2008 to current

WHAT’S GOOD? Nice practical size, came with a five-year warranty when new. Offers rock solid reliability. Even older, 2011 models were fitted with air-con and a USB socket.

WHAT’S BAD? Little known van in the retail market, badge snobbery, no real specialist van dealer network.

IDEAL BUY? 2012 Comfort 2.5D/114BHP at £6,995 plus VAT.

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Braehead Foods adds two more Mercedes Sprinters to fleet

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Kilmarnock-based catering supplier Braehead Foods has ordered a second pair of fridge-bodied Mercedes chassis cabs following a trial of two vehicles last year.

Like their predecessors the new Sprinter 313 CDIs were supplied by dealer Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Ayr. Their aerodynamic slipstream insulated bodies are by Solomon Commercials, of Rossendale, Lancashire, and fitted with Thermo King refrigeration units.

Braehead Foods had previously relied exclusively on Sprinter panel vans – it runs a fleet of 22, which deliver to customers across Scotland and beyond. However, the new vehicles offer significantly more volume. Not only does this allow more foods to be carried, but it also means the load area can be divided into two practical compartments.

Warren Costello, Braehead Foods transport manager, said: “Demand for our fine food and game is growing, and as well as our traditional fresh items we’re also generating increased sales of frozen products.

“The move to box-bodied vans has allowed us to introduce freezer compartments, without losing too much capacity in the chilled sections we use to carry fresh food.

“The first two Sprinters we trialled with this configuration have been a great success. Each carries 20 crates more than a standard van, an increase of approximately 20%, which makes planning our delivery runs much easier.”

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Truck makers fined £2.44 billion for price fixing

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Five major truck manufacturers have been collectively fined £2.44 billion (€2.93bn) for fixing pricing over the last 14 years.

The price-fixing relates specifically to the market for the manufacturing of medium (weighing between 6 to 16 tonnes) and heavy trucks (weighing over 16 tonnes).

The European Commission’s investigation revealed that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Iveco and DAF had engaged in a cartel relating to:

Coordinating prices at “gross list” level for medium and heavy trucks in the European Economic Area (EEA). The “gross list” price level relates to the factory price of trucks, as set by each manufacturer. Generally, these gross list prices are the basis for pricing in the trucks industry. The final price paid by buyers is then based on further adjustments, done at national and local level, to these gross list prices. The timing for the introduction of emission technologies for medium and heavy trucks to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from Euro 3 through to the currently applicable Euro 6). The passing on to customers of the costs for the emissions technologies required to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from Euro 3 through to the currently applicable Euro 6).

The infringement was EU-wide and lasted 14 years, from 1997 until 2011, when the Commission carried out unannounced inspections of the firms.

The collusion identified by the Commission concerned the new emission technologies required by the Euro III to Euro VI environmental standards, specifically coordination on timing and coordination on passing on of costs of emission technologies for trucks

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WJ North adds Volvo sweepers to fleet

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WJ North has added a new Volvo ‘super-sweeper’ to its fleet.

The Volvo FM-460 4×2 4.3 metre wheelbase truck is plated at 18 tonnes GVW.

W J North’s FM-460 is fitted with the 13-litre 460 hp engine with I-Shift automated gearbox, Dynafleet telematics (for asset tracking and to produce environmental reports) and the Globetrotter LXL cab. The drive axle is air-suspended.

The Globetrotter LXL cab features full standing interior height of 2100 mm (1670 mm over the engine tunnel), leather upholstery and extra storage lockers with roll blind doors. The LXL cab’s full size bunk measures 700 mm x 2000 mm and is part of a luxurious package of ‘home from home’ comforts for the driver, including a factory-fitted coffee maker, fridge freezer, and microwave oven, as well as a television.

The FM-460 sweeper is fitted with five external cameras, including side scan and a 360° camera and Vision Techniques Banksman Plus reversing sensors.

Group transport manager Scott Logan said the driver of the FM-460 sweeper will spend between two and three weeks at a time away from base, working as part of a three truck team on major road marking projects across the UK.

“We wanted the highest level of comfort possible for the driver of the new sweeper and you can’t beat Volvo for that,” said Logan.

In addition to its usual duties, the FM-460 road-sweeper will also make appearances at W J North Ltd ‘innovation days’. The most recent of these was held at the company’s equipment manufacturing workshops at Elland,

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Guardian launches new Anti Theft security system for HGVs

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After three years of development the Guardian Anti Theft is available to protect vehicles over 7.5 tonne from thieves and hijackers.

The device which costs £1,275, is highly discreet and can shut down the vehicle’s engine at the touch of a button and keep it locked down until Guardian is disarmed by the driver or operator.

Guardian Anti Theft is a mere 17cm long, 8.5cm wide and 5.3cm deep. Installation should be straightforward for an automotive electrical technician – meaning down time is kept to a minimum.

The internal engineering of the core device contains bogus elements and has rugged semi-potted electronics within the enclosure. Should the unit be opened to establish how it can be disabled, there is no indication of which components are redundant and which are not.

The device protects against thieves and joyriders, who will not be able to hot-wire the ignition, clone remote control codes or hack into the electronics within the Guardian control unit.

Guardian Anti Theft also has a strong defence against hijacking.  Should an on-the-road vehicle be subjected to a hijack attempt, all the driver has to do is discreetly press the button on the remote control whilst walking away and the vehicle will be instantly diabled.

As a recent review by Allianz Cornhill Engineering revealed, it is estimated that the UK’s construction industry alone is losing over £70 million worth of plant stolen from operational sites. This rises to a staggering £800 million a year when other costs related to the theft of each vehicle is

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Tacograph analysis software specialist TruTac launches expansion plan

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Tacograph analysis software specialist TruTac is this month doubling the size of its existing premises in Westwood Business Park, Coventry, and will launch a recruitment campaign to strengthen its fast-expanding team.

“The past few years have seen rapid growth for TruTac in both the HGV and PSV industry sectors.” says Terry Ramsey, managing director of TruTac.

“New products and services have been introduced and proved hugely popular. The company has worked closely with customers old and new to provide ever-more innovative solutions for effective compliance management and cost-efficient fleet control.”

Supported in this expansion by local property consultancy D&P Holt Property, senior surveyor Nick Holt says “We are delighted to have assisted with TruTac’s property requirements to facilitate their expansion programme.”

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Barnes Logistics plans to boost sales following premises move

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Barnes Logistics is planning to invest in staff and drive sales, after moving to new premises in Rochdale thanks to a seven figure funding package from Yorkshire Bank.

The logistics and storage firm, which operates a fleet of more than 50 vehicles, has moved from its leased site in Oldham after purchasing a 50,000sq ft premises in Rochdale.

The business, which was established in 2004 by owner and managing director Chris Barnes, employs 80 staff and all of the management team hold Transport Manager Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC).

Barnes said: “The Rochdale site is a far superior building in a much better location, allowing us to streamline our operations. Purchasing the premises has given us greater flexibility and the funding provided by Yorkshire Bank means we have been able to continue focusing on growth during the move.

“Over the next year we plan to keep increasing sales by continuing to provide an extremely high standard of service and investing further in our workforce.”

Paul Grace, Yorkshire Bank’s Head of Commercial, Small Business & Private Banking for Manchester and Bolton, said: “Over the last 12 years, Barnes

Picture caption (left to right): Chris Barnes (owner and managing director of Barnes Logistics), Helen Miller (relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank) and Paul Grace (Yorkshire Bank’s head of commercial,small business and private banking for Manchester and Bolton­)

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O&H Vehicle Conversions launch multi-use patient transport vehicle

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O&H Vehicle Conversions (O&H) is launching ‘Flex PTS’, a modular, four layout patient transport vehicle that is the first of its kind according to O&H.

Flex PTS can be converted for seated, stretcher, wheelchair and bariatric use. Its single platform design conforms to Care Quality Commission standards, enables quick version-to-version change-out, keeps operator and maintenance training to a minimum and reduces the need for short-term or ‘spot’ hire say O&H.

Lee Bott, O&H marketing director, said: “Flex PTS has been designed to maximise fleet use. Our Flex PTS vehicles can be configured to flex with changing demand from NHS Trusts, private PTS providers and hire companies.

“Flex PTS will also reduce our levels of manufacturing change control – a saving that we would expect to pass onto the customer. For example the Flex PTS cab and saloon is common to all versions, as with the aerospace industry’s Airbus series.”

Flex PTS is in line with O&H’s policy of continuous engineering improvement. The company uses lighter, stronger aerospace-type build materials that increase vehicle durability and lower weight, reducing fuel consumption and cutting CO2 emissions.

Specific Flex PTS versions or ‘scenarios’ to be supplied by O&H include seated; seated with wheelchair; stretcher-capable; stretcher-wheelchair capable; bariatric/seated; and bariatric/wheelchair.

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AAH Pharmaceutical's Mathew Young wins FTA Van Driver of the Year

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Mathew Young of AAH Pharmaceutical is the winner of the third annual FTA Van Excellence Driver of the Year competition. 

Young become the overall champion by demonstrating outstanding professionalism, knowledge and excellent driving skills.

The competition took place on Thursday 14 July, at Mercedes-Benz Wentworth Park, Barnsley, where each van driver took part in six separate tasks during the event in order to evaluate their overall ability – driving style, economical driving, manoeuvring, defect checking, legislation knowledge and risk awareness.

The winner was announced by FTA’s head of vans, Mark Cartwright, with the prizes being presented by Mark Lovett, head of Commercial Vehicles at LeasePlan (pictured right), who said:  “We are delighted to support the FTA Van Excellence initiative for the third year running. We share the same vision the FTA and work in close partnership to jointly promote best practice in van drivers and the vital role that they play.

“The Van Excellence Driver of the Year competition is the perfect platform to help change the perception of ‘White Van Man’ as it showcases the best of the best van drivers. They have been able to demonstrate their professionalism and prove that they are some of the most competent and professional drivers on the UK’s roads.”

Young (pictured left) has been driving a van for 18 years and took home a £1,000 holiday voucher alongside his trophy. The Swansea based delivery driver told commercial fleet: “The whole day was good fun, I enjoyed the challenges and the chance to prove my

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FTA calls for better information on roadworks

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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) would like Highways England to provide a better flow of information on forthcoming roadworks so that operators can plan ahead. 

FTA’s comments followed publication of the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) first annual assessment of Highways England’s performance and delivery of its investment plan, covering the period April 2015 to March 2016. 

FTA has supported the long-term certainty of £11.4 billion of funding for roads investment during the first road period, of which £1.8 billion related to 2015-16, but equally freight operators need the certainty of reliable information on the works that go to improving the road network.

Unreliable journeys can cost a truck operator £1 per minute for each vehicle standing idle in congestion and that cost has to be borne by the freight industry. More certainty of plans going forward will provide the industry with important information and allow companies to make informed decisions on how they operate their fleets as these investments in the network are made.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s head of road network management policy, said: “It is good to see that Highways England has made a positive start within its first year.  We can see that satisfaction in the performance of the network will improve if motorists and businesses are better informed as to how the road system will operate.”

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Disqualification for Transport Manager who ran international journeys without authority

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A transport manager who carried out international journeys on a standard national licence has been disqualified from the industry.

Richard Harrison, of Blaby, lost his repute following a public inquiry before Traffic Commissioner, Richard Turfitt, in Cambridge last month.

The industry regulator said Harrison would have to comply with rehabilitation measures if he planned to regain his repute and have the disqualification order removed.

He had previously been given a formal warning at a public inquiry in 2014, as a result of maintenance shortcomings.

At the latest hearing, Turfitt also made an order against the operator licence holder, Richard Engelgardt, curtailing his vehicle authorisation from 11 to seven for 14 days.

The  Traffic  Commissioner  held  his  decision  on  whether  to  allow  an application to upgrade the licence from standard national to international, pending  receipt  of  an  audit  (to be undertaken by 30 September) and the appointment  of  a  new transport manager, Serena Kirk-Housley. He reminded the operator and proposed Transport Manger of the responsibilities outlined in the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Statutory Document on transport managers.

Turfitt said: “The STC’s Statutory Document on transport managers was reissued earlier this year and provides, for the first time, a role description for transport managers. It is absolutely essential that transport managers know what their responsibilities are and that standard operators know what their TMs should be doing to satisfy professional competence for the licence.

“As regulators, we want to educate and inform the industry about this vital role. We cannot stress enough the importance

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Falken uses 4D-Nano technology to develop winter van tyre

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Falken has added the Eurowinter Van01 to its product range. It features significantly improved wear life as well as enhanced snow traction and handling.

The primary development objectives were extended wear life, improved fuel economy and outstanding wet and snow performance.

The tread design of the new tyre features ACP (Adaptive Constant Pressure), which noticeably improves wear life, directional stability and overall traction by evenly distributing pressure across the whole tread area.

Compared to its predecessor, snow handling has been improved by 20%, snow traction by 10% and wet braking by 5%.

For its new winter van tyre, Falken has used its cutting-edge 4D-Nano technology that utilises super computer simulation at the nano-scale to significantly improve molecular bonds between compound components.

The Eurowinter Van01 is available from July 2016 in 17 sizes, ranging from 14-16 inches, with an aspect ratio of 60-75 and will come with a speed index of ‘R’ or ‘T’.

Falken’s newest winter van tyre features a rolling resistance EU label of ‘C’-‘E’, a wet labelling grade of ‘A’ and a sound grade rating of ‘2’. All sizes are marked with the M+S Symbol and the snowflake symbol.

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Mercedes-Benz Trucks to provide spare parts using 3D printing

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Utilising pioneering future technology, Mercedes-Benz Trucks is using the latest 3D printing processes to produce plastic parts as a standard production method in the Customer Services and Parts sector.

As of 30 September genuine parts can be ordered and supplied at the press of a button from the 3D printer, quickly, economically, in any quantity and always in consistent genuine manufacturer’s quality.

With the use of 3D printing technology in after sales, Mercedes-Benz is taking on the pioneering role and technological leadership among the global truck producers.

Andreas Deuschle, head of marketing and operations in the Customer Services & Parts Mercedes-Benz Trucks Division, said: “In keeping with our brand promise ‘Trucks you can trust’, we set the same benchmarks for reliability, functionality, durability and economy for spare parts from 3D production as for parts from conventional production.

Today at Daimler more than 100,000 printed prototype parts are manufactured for the individual company divisions every year.

The available spare parts consist of plastic components such as covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements.

The ‘printed’ spare parts are created with state-of-the-art 3D printers based on the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing process. Every 3D spare part can be ordered by the customer using the special spare part number under which it is recorded in the order code lists and the spare parts catalogues at Mercedes-Benz Trucks. 

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Total Foodservice Solutions’ David West named FTA Truck Driver of the Year 18 tonne

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David West beat off competition from 11 other finalists yesterday to be named the Freight Transport Association’s Truck Driver of the Year 18 tonne 2016.

The competition, held at Mercedes-Benz training centre, Wentworth Park, Barnsley, put drivers through their paces in a number of tests including driving skills (fuel economy and driver behaviour), manoeuvring ability, risk awareness, legislative knowledge and their ability to identify pre-use defects of the vehicle. Contestants were scored on each task and ranked based on their scores.

The winner was announced by June Powell, FTA’s director of operations, and prizes were presented by Jenny Tyers from sponsor Bridgestone Tyres.

Powell said: “Today’s contestants have shown the exceptional skill and expertise it takes to be a professional driver and FTA is proud to recognise and reward their vital role in the logistics industry.”

Second place was awarded to Stephen Bainbridge from Hargreaves Logistics and Michael Lomax from Booker picked up third.

The overall winner of the contest will be revealed at the Freight in the City expo at Alexandra Palace on 2 November.

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Blue Triangle Training aims to help tackle driver shortage

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Newly-launched Birmingham-based driver training business Blue Triangle Training aims to tackle the national driver shortage by offering tuition to drivers wanting to gain their HGV/LGV licences.

Launched at the end of April, Neil Thomas, who has spent his entire working career in the transport sector, put his long-standing business idea into action when faced with redundancy.

The Garretts Green-based company is run with his wife Mary Thomas and has created two full-time jobs. It was launched following support from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce as part of the Start & Grow programme.

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Bevan supplies tipper trucks to Amey for council contracts

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Bevan supplies tipper trucks to Amey for council contracts

Support services firm Amey has taken delivery of 16 new Bevan-bodied 3.5-tonne tippers for highways maintenance duties in Gloucestershire.

Based on Citroën chassis, they were built by new supplier Bevan Specialist Products and are specified with the Safe-T-Drop system, which is designed to eliminate any risk of a fall from height by operatives working on the vehicle bed.

The patented Safe-T-Drop rails can be easily folded away for loading and unloading, and are strong enough to withstand impacts from other vehicles such as fork-lifts. Raising the dropsides is also quick and simple; they can only be closed with the Safe-T-Drop rails in place, ensuring correct use of the rails at all times.

In addition to their tipping bodies, the 16 new vehicles have storage lockers immediately behind the cabs and 250kg capacity SwingLift miniloader cranes by Penny Hydraulics.

Amey began work on its Gloucestershire County Council highway and transport services contract in the spring of 2014. Under the five-year agreement, which could be extended by a further six years, Amey is responsible for maintaining a 10,000km network of roads, as well as providing winter services and delivering highway improvement schemes.

Meanwhile, Bevan Specialist Products has supplied Amey with a further 19 Renault 3.5-tonners. These are all dropsiders and also fitted with Safe-T-Drop systems. Twelve are traffic management vehicles with rear-mounted light boards. They wear a Highways England livery and are used to assist with mobile – as opposed to static – lane closures, which minimise disruption to traffic.

The remaining seven are

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Cancer Research UK adds TomTom telematics to van fleet

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Cancer Research UK, is using Webfleet telematics to improve the efficiency of stock movement and help get maximum value from public and corporate donations.

The fleet of 41 vans collect 4.25 million bags of donated clothing stock from individuals and corporate partners like TK Maxx and Tesco each year, delivering to 595 charity shops across the UK.

The charity has digitised the previous paper-based workflow by linking Webfleet to the Calidus VEhub app on the TomTom Telematics PRO 8275 driver terminal. Developed by TomTom Telematics .connect partner OBS Logistics, Calidus VEhub allows drivers to enter exactly how many bags they are collecting and delivering, together with location details selected from a drop down menu.

“Fleet efficiency is key to overall profitability,” said Bina de Wilde, business development and innovation, retail for Cancer Research UK.  “If someone donates a designer suit at one of our discount shops, moving it quickly and efficiently to one of our premium stores means that we can sell it for its full value, giving us more to fund vital research to help beat cancer sooner.”

“We were using a paper-based system before which, at best, only delivered 20 per cent of the information we needed and was very prone to error. Now, we can see a much more accurate picture of stock levels required by different shops, how one shop may be supporting another with stock, and critically, how much more value we get from moving our stock from a low to a high value outlet.

“The data can help to improve profit ratios

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Renault launches Euro 6 engines in Kangoo, Trafic and Master ranges.

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Renault has has introduced Euro 6-compliant engines in its Renault Kangoo, Trafic and Master ranges.

By offering Euro 6 engines now, Renault is conforming to legislation change that will be effective from September.

As part of the enhancements, all Euro 6-engined Renault LCVs now come with  a Thatcham-approved alarm as standard and many receive more power than their Euro 5 equivalents.

Following the launch of a Euro 6-compliant Kangoo in 2015, the range has been expanded to include more versions than previously available with the Euro 5 engine.

In order to conform to Euro 6 legislation, Renault has reduced the amount of NOx (nitrous oxides) produced by the Renault Kangoo’s engines with the addition of a NOx trap.

All Kangoo Maxi versions will feature the Energy engines, offering fuel economy of up to 62.8mpg and features such as stop-start technology.

The popular standard length Kangoo (ML) will be solely available with Energy engines until the start of 2017, when more engines will be added to the range.

The Trafic welcomes additional versions to its extensive range, Renault increasing the availability of the most popular engines and trim levels.

The Energy dCi 95 engine has been introduced to the Trafic for the first time.

Utilising a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and Adblue, the Trafic’s range of Euro 6 engines are more powerful than their Euro 5 predecessors by 5hp.

These encompass the single turbo dCi 95 and dCi 120 engines, together with the twin-turbo Energy dCi 125 and Energy dCi 145 engines.

The Euro 6 Master, which boasts

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Second TfL roadworks penalty for BT

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British Telecom (BT) has been ordered to pay more than £13,000 in fines following two separate prosecutions for unsafe roadworks by Transport for London (TfL) within three weeks. 

BT’s latest prosecution follows work carried out on Victoria Street close to Victoria Station on 26 January 2016. 

On 6 July BT pleaded guilty to four offences at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, these were:

·     Conducting street works without a permit

·     Unsafe execution of works

·     Failing to serve necessary statutory works notices before commencement

·     Failing to serve necessary statutory works notices following completion

BT was fined a total of £3,250 and ordered to pay £1,800 in court costs. 

In passing sentence the Judge said: “This is not a one-off breach. I can see from records before me that these are regular occurrences despite the large number of fixed penalty notices issued by TfL. I understand no injuries occurred on this occasion but clearly more needs to be done to avoid these embarrassing prosecutions.”

Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s chief operating officer for Surface Transport, said: “This is the second time in three weeks BT has been prosecuted for undertaking dangerous work and failing to provide required Streetworks notices. Ensuring that roadworks are carried out safely is vital, especially in a busy city such as London. BT is a repeat offender – having failed to manage roadworks properly on a number of occasions. We will always push for the strongest possible action in order to ensure London’s streets are safe and free from unnecessary congestion.”

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Samworth Brothers's Matthew Pickering named FTA truck driver of the year

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Matthew Pickering, of Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, has been named the Freight Transport Association’s Truck Driver of the Year 44-tonne 2016, beating 19 other finalists to lift the trophy.

The contest, held at Mercedes-Benz at Wentworth Park, Barnsley, examined contestants’ driving skills (fuel economy and driver behaviour), manoeuvring ability, risk awareness, legislative knowledge and their ability to identify pre-use defects of the vehicle.

Drivers were scored on each task and ranked based on their scores.

Pickering received his trophy from Sam Whittaker, director of customer service and operations from Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

He also picked up the prizes for the pre-use defect check and economical driving tasks.

Julie Maddocks, of the FTA, told the drivers: “We know from talking to our members – and you the drivers – how the vital role you play in delivering the goods is all too often overlooked, so this competition has been created to celebrate the skills and abilities of professional drivers across the freight and logistics sector and highlight the fantastic work you do on a day-to-day basis.”

Following the successful Van Excellence Driver of the Year events in 2014 and 2015, FTA introduced three separate contests this year celebrating the skills and abilities of professional drivers across the freight and logistics sector.  

Truck driver of the year 44-tonne, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Truck, was followed by truck driver of the year 18-tonne sponsored by Bridgestone Tyres and the Van Excellence driver of the year sponsored by LeasePlan UK.

Logistics operators including Speedy Services, Central England Co-Operative,

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Wessex Water grows Renault Kangoo fleet

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Wessex Water has added 25 additional Renault Kangoo vans to its light commercial vehicle fleet.

Wessex Water’s previous experience of the Renault Kangoo – the company being a long term partner of Renault – and the vehicle’s whole life costs were key factors in the company’s decision to once again invest in the LCV. 

The company’s latest Kangoos are all powered by the dCi 75 1.5-litre diesel engine, which returns up to 67.3mpg (combined). Supplied in Business trim, Wessex Water’s Kangoos include electric door mirrors and electric front windows, DAB radio with AUX input, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, remote central locking, and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with Hill Start Assist and Grip Xtend, which optimises traction of both front wheels depending on the conditions.

Wessex Water has tailored its Kangoos with bespoke racking systems and sanitation equipment by QI Van Systems. The business also ordered each van with the factory fitted options of a 68mph speed limiter and the R-Link multimedia system with built-in satellite navigation.

Martin Crocker, head of fleet, Wessex Water, said: “The Kangoo is a perfect fit for our needs and when its whole life costs, payload and efficiency are taken into consideration, it continues to provide us with an excellent package at a very competitive price.

“Feedback from everyone who drives them is very good and the high level of standard equipment has been particularly well received. With our previous experience of the Kangoo, we also know that the vans will provide us with the reliability that we

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Qi invests half a million pounds in laser cutting machine

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The vehicle converter Qi has invested half a million pounds in a laser cutting machine and improvements to its powder coating plant.

In Partnership with the University of Wolverhamptons’ Green Shoots Plus+ initiative, Qi has been awarded a grant to assist in purchasing the new laser.

Green Shoots Plus+ aims to help small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to create new jobs and promote growth. 

The machine creates a laser beam wave length that is one tenth of the width of a CO2 laser, which allows for much faster processing of thinner materials using compressed air rather than nitrogen gases.

The investment enables Qi to produce a wider range of steel and nonferrous metal products faster, whilst reducing its carbon footprint.

One of the key benefits is the company can efficiently cut high tensile steel which can replace standard steel and reduce the racking weight by 25%. This, says Qi, can help customers increase payloads as part of vehicle conversions.

Qi expects the new laser to increase capacity within its manufacturing facilities, and in turn provide kit for the fitting shop at a quicker rate.

However, the investment doesn’t stop their – part of a review of the manufacturing facilities will see changes in the way it operates its powder coating plant.

It is installing new recycling water tanks that offer significant water savings. It estimates a clean water saving in the region of 60% due to the recycling of spent water going through cleaning tanks and then being re-used.

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Record-breaking half-year for Manheim Commercial Vehicles

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Manheim Commercial Vehicles has broken records for vehicles sold, conversion rates and online sales in the first half of the year, which was rounded off by a strong performance for both LCVs and HGVs in June.

Manheim recorded its largest combined volume of LCV and HGV units sold in a month since the start of 2015, including the highest monthly figure for HGVs sold for the past three years.

Matthew Davock, head of LCV at Manheim, said: “In June, we saw our highest sold volume for vans in the past 11 months, with 79% of units receiving an online bid and 30% of units ultimately being sold online.

“The average selling price of vans at our auctions continued to increase, up £20 from May and nearly £140 year-on-year, despite no change in age and mileage.”

The online sales trend seen in June reflects the first half of the year as a whole, which saw 31% of all vans sell to Manheim’s online buyers.

The 77% first time conversion rate also reflected the 79% first time conversion rate achieved from January to June.

Manheim’s HGV auctions in June recorded the highest sales volume since 2013, with 91% of all units receiving an online bid and a record-breaking 59% of vehicles selling online.

Despite average mileage increasing by more than 10% year-on-year, the average selling price increased by more than £1,200.

Manheim recorded a 74% first-time conversion rate for its HGV auctions in June and broke its previous half-year record, achieving a first-time conversion rate

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DVSA renews Axtec deal for four more years

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Axle weighing specialist Axtec has once again secured a four-year contract to maintain and certify the DVSA’s network of 55 UK roadside enforcement weighbridges.

The Runcorn-based company has held the DVSA contract for the past 20 years during which time it has dramatically improved the efficiency of routine maintenance and calibration, while significantly reducing downtime across the network.

Despite the repeat success, Axtec was subject to a rigorous pre-contract examination before being rewarded with the contract win. The contract incorporates strict time limits, enforced by heavy penalties.

Under the contract, routine maintenance and calibration will be undertaken using Axtec’s unique weighbridge test vehicle; first commissioned in 1997, and currently hauled by a DAF XF 105 Super Space Cab. This unique truck and trailer combination replaces the roles previously carried out by four separate vehicles – signalling a significant improvement in speed and efficiency.

The Axtec test vehicle is also used for emergency repair work at night or weekends, enabling repair and re-certification to be completed quickly and within contract deadlines. The contract also includes regular level surveys to certify the flat weighbridge approaches are within the stringent limits specified by law. Any remedial work is completed by Axtec’s own in-house construction team.

Axtec managing director, Keith Gresham, said: “Good management has been a vital part of our success, and DVSA have asked us to develop ways of reducing costs further, without compromising service standards, to deliver even better value for the taxpayer during the course of the new contract.


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FTA: consultation on driverless vehicle regulations a positive step

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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says this week’s announcement by the Department for Transport (DfT) of a consultation on driverless cars is a positive step.

As well as setting out regulatory changes to better facilitate the use of driverless vehicles in the future, the document also restates the potential positives from HGV platooning. 

The document notes that platooning should allow HGVs ‘to benefit from reduced aerodynamic drag and therefore increased fuel efficiency. Platooning could also free more road space and improve traffic flow’.

FTA Head of national and regional policy Christopher Snelling said: “Driver aides and moves towards fuller automation are the most promising routes we have for a step-change in road safety. 

“The emissions and road use efficiency benefits are also potentially substantial, so updating regulations to enable all these technologies to be developed as quickly as possible is a good move.

“There are challenges in making effective use of platooning in the UK. And, all these concepts and technologies need to be thoroughly tested and their real world impacts measured before they are taken up on a wide scale basis. 

“We also need to see similar innovation in other modes like rail and water freight to maximise their use too. But the reality is that over 80% of the goods the UK needs to function each day are moved by road, and we need to work to maximise the efficiency of its performance if we are to reduce emissions and improve transport safety as much as possible, and as quickly

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Registration open for free Commercial Fleet Van and Truck Event

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Registration is now open for the first Commercial Fleet Van and Truck exhibition event.

The two-day event is free to fleet decision makers, and is hosted at Millbrook Proving Ground in association with Van Excellence.

FREE seminars, exhibition and demonstrations Keep up to date with the latest industry developments FREE interactive best practice sessions – get involved with the debate Network – gain insight and inspiration from your peers Compare, drive and evaluate commercial vehicles on Millbrook’s unique test tracks

The event will be held on September 20-21 2016, and you can register now here.

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Brewery signs for new MAN truck compete with ‘striking’ livery

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Truck and bus manufacturer MAN have provided an eye-catching new truck to Oakham Ales.

The 7.5 tonne MAN TGL 8.180BB will operate from the brewery’s Peterborough base and the truck is certainly making an impact with its striking livery promoting its award-winning Green Devil ale.

The vehicle is supplied on a five-year contract hire agreement.

Terry Mashford, MAN sales executive, said: “For a growing company such as Oakham Ales the contract hire option was the best solution to the business need.

“The firm like the way the local dealership Imperial Commercials Peterborough look after the trucks and the customer service they receive. They already operate two other Man vehicles.

Neil Galloway, operations director at Oakham Ales, said: “We are not haulage operators, so the five-year contract hire means we get the most out of our vehicles in terms of running costs and repair and maintenance.”

Nigel Wattam, marketing manager added: “The MAN’s are mobile billboards for our product and each is brand specific.”

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Benchmark Building Supplies adds specialist trucks to fleet

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Benchmark Building Supplies adds specialist trucks to fleet

Fraikin has supplied new delivery and lift trucks to Benchmark Building Supplies.

The vehicles have been supplied on a full-service contract hire agreement, with Fraikin providing all servicing, maintenance and repairs for the new 26-tonne Mercedes-Benz Antos rigids – including the vehicles’ six-weekly safety inspections, annual MOT testing, tyre management and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Benchmark Building Supplies managing director Phillip Brown said: “Fraikin really took the time to look at our specific needs and understand our business. It then tailored a package that really suited us. We wanted a supplier that could help us manage our fleet costs and ensure compliance whilst giving us complete visibility of the vehicles at all times. Fraikin has taken that burden off our shoulders and allowed us to focus on our core business.”

To assist with the loading and unloading of building supplies to sites with difficult access, each of the new vehicles has been specially fitted with lightweight mesh dropsides and a remote-controlled Hiab crane with brick grab. The new trucks will join the company’s fleet of 14 vehicles, which carry out more than 150 deliveries a day, supplying building materials to a customer base of more than 1,200 construction companies of varying sizes.

Benchmark Building Supplies will also benefit from the fleet service provider’s web portal FraikinView, which allows for real-time reporting of possible vehicle defects online, access to the vehicle’s full service history and monitoring of up-to-the-minute progress of vehicle breakdowns. To assist Benchmark Building Supplies optimise its fleet scheduling, the portal also…

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Fiat Talento van on sale now from £19,795

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Pricing and spec for the new Fiat Professional Talento medium panel van has been released.

The van is based on the same platform used by the Vauxhall Vivaro/Renault Trafic, and is built by Renault in France.

Standard equipment on the entry level Talento includes remote central locking, electric front windows (one-touch lowering on the driver’s side), electrically operated and heated door mirrors, a full bulkhead, a height adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and an arm rest, dual passenger seat, a powerful audio system with Bluetooth, DAB, USB, Aux-in, a full-size spare wheel and steering-wheel remote controls. The entry-level Combi Active adds a rear tailgate with window wiper and de-mister, luggage cover, passenger airbag, and folding/removable rear seats.

All versions are fitted with LED daytime running lights, ABS with EBD (electronic brake distribution) and EBA (emergency brake assistance) in addition to a sophisticated ESC system with Hill Holder and Traction+ as standard. Available safety features include side airbags and window-bags a Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) system which guarantees total stability when towing by automatically modulating engine power and braking force applied to each wheel to stabilise both the vehicle and a wayward trailer. A front parking assist system and a reversing camera (with a display in the rear-view mirror) are also available.

Key options (all prices excluding VAT) include air conditioning (£720), automatic lights and wipers (£110), front fog lamps (£110), bulkhead window (£60), “Mobile Office” (folding passenger sear, clipboard holder and under-seat storage £170), a leather-trimmed steering (£70), reversing…

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