Whilst the pandemic has clearly presented numerous challenges to overcome, the current level of sales have enabled many merchant business to invest in their vehicle fleets. PBM reveals more.
The arrival of a brand-new Mercedes-Benz Arcox 32-tonne lorry with trailer is reportedly one of AE Spink’s largest transport investments to date. The family-run merchant was founded in 1926 and now trades from branches in Doncaster, Leeds, Sheffield and Worksop. In addition to four plumbing & heating outlets, it runs builders’ merchant operations from sites in Doncaster and Leeds and has expanded its commercial fleet to cope with the “current increase in building materials sales and orders”.
With its sizeable carrying capacity, Spinks says the truck “will be a welcome addition to the fleet” for its heavyside business. Transport Manager Tony Billam commented: “We are delighted with the new lorry and it will make a huge difference to our operations, allowing us to meet ever-increasing demand, while continuing to provide the top-quality delivery service that our customers expect. The drivers are looking forward to getting behind the wheels and out on the road.”
The vehicle is fitted with a remote control crane system to make loading and unloading operations safer, faster and more efficient whilst the new engine technology produces lower emission levels and delivers a better fuel economy to help Spinks reduce its carbon footprint. “State-of-the-art” front facing cameras have also been specified to assist with insurance claims should any incidents or accidents occur out on the road.
In addition to the new Mercedes-Benz, the company has also added an extra five forklift trucks, and a 7.5 tonne vehicle to its fleet.
Down in Kent, fellow h&b member Youngs Timber and Builders Merchants has also invested in new delivery vehicles that are “greener, more versatile and more efficient than ever before” with its two new trucks — a DAF 16-tonne and Mercedes 26-tonne — both also specified with remote control cranes to make loading and unloading quicker and easier, and more flexible for customers.
From depots in Dymchurch, Biddenden and Folkestone, the business says that despite the difficult trading conditions, it has seen successful growth across its three branches. Joint MD John Levitt said: “2020 and moving into 2021 has been challenging for Youngs like every other business. As a family-run independent merchant, we are agile and responsive to change and believe it is vital that we invest in our business and empower our teams to grow and thrive.
“We are really positive about the future and the new trucks, quite apart from being more efficient and green than any we have run before, are an indication of our confidence in the business morning forward.”
Merkko is also seeking to build on its lockdown growth with a “productive pair” of Mercedes-Benz Arocs trucks. MD Ian Duckitt, who founded the builders’ merchant in 2007, was looking to match the payload potential of his outgoing 26-tonne crane trucks — yet at 13.5 tonnes, each of his new vehicles offers an extra tonne of carrying capacity.
Operating from its original site in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and a branch in Aldermaston, Berkshire that opened in 2013, Merkko offers a comprehensive range of heavy construction materials. Supplied by Marshall Truck & Van, the 6×2 Arocs will be maintained at the dealer’s Andover workshop under eight-year Mercedes-Benz Complete Service Contracts.
Acquired with funding support from Mercedes-Benz Finance, the new 2532 L models are powered by “economical 7.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 235 kW (320 hp)” and feature ClassicSpace M-cabs, and rear axles that lift and steer to reduce tyre wear whilst offering enhanced manoeuvrability when working on sites with restricted access.
Horton Commercials, of Ferndown, Dorset, built their dropside bodies, while the rear-mounted, remote radio-controlled cranes are by HMF and fitted with Kinshofer brick and block grabs — here, an automated setting on the Arocs’ rear air suspension system ensures stability while the cranes are in operation.
The latest generation of Arocs is easily distinguished from its predecessor by the absence of mirrors with the manufacturer saying that its MirrorCam system not only offers much-improved all-round visibility but also increased fuel-efficiency thanks to the compact and streamlined camera housings.
Ian added: “A lot of our work takes them down narrow country lanes — I’d like to think that where broken mirrors have always been an issue in the past, the fact that the MirrorCam cameras are smaller and fitted at roof height means we’ll also benefit from a reduction in damage costs.”
Other new features include Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking technology, which offers enhanced pedestrian recognition, and enhanced Predictive Powertrain Control. Lastly, the “stylish Multimedia Cockpit” replaces conventional switchgear with twin screens — and the upgraded interactive version chosen by Merkko comes with a larger 12in instrument panel and extra functionality, including satellite navigation.
For more information on the Mercedes-Benz range, go to: https://www.mercedes-benz-trucks.com/en_GB/models/arocs.html