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It’s only the Mercedes-Benz star that shines for GS Hughes as it adds 20 new Arocs tippers to its fleet

In 2015 stone and aggregates specialist GS Hughes purchased its first Mercedes-Benz trucks for more than 15 years. Today, all 42 of its vehicles wear three-pointed stars.

The Lincolnshire-based operator has just completed the transformation of its fleet by commissioning another 20 Arocs eight-wheelers. Supplied by East Anglia Dealer Orwell Truck & Van, they are fitted with steel Taperlite tipping bodies by Boweld, and Edbro front-end rams.
Most of the new trucks are 3240 models with advanced, 10.7-litre, 290 kW (394 hp) straight-six engines, which drive through smooth Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions. The only exception is a 3246 model with more powerful, 335 kW (456 hp) variant, which has been allocated to driver Ken Wilkinson as a reward for his 27 years of loyal service.

GS Hughes runs quarries in Lincoln and Grantham, operates waste washing facilities for recycling sand and gravel, and provides muckaway services to construction and civil engineering contractors.

Its trucks are based at a purpose-built site on the outskirts of the village of Eagle, near Lincoln, which offers direct access to the main A46. The company moved to these new premises earlier this year – they offer greater scope for expansion than its previous home nearby, while also minimising the need for its trucks to use the narrow village centre streets.

“In the three years since we acquired our first dozen Mercedes-Benz Arocs, this model has proved to be very popular with our drivers and extremely well suited to our kind of work,” confirmed Transport Manager John Barker.

“It’s a very thoughtfully designed vehicle. The impressive ground clearance and the way that damage-prone items are positioned out of harm’s way, help to ensure that this truck is completely at home in quarries and on construction sites.”

He continued: “The Arocs have proved economical and cost-effective to operate, too. Our work is so varied that comparing one vehicle’s mpg performance with another’s is difficult. However, the Mercedes-Benz trucks have been significantly more frugal from the outset than those by other manufacturers which they replaced. We’ve also suffered very little, if any, unplanned downtime.”

GS Hughes’ latest Arocs are the subject of a flexible, low-cost Agility funding agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. “The package is competitively priced and, just as importantly, allows us to choose from a range of options at the end of the term,” observed Mr Barker.

He added: “Orwell Truck & Van’s service has also been excellent. We maintain the vehicles in our own workshop but the Dealer supports us with regular deliveries of GenuineParts, which are keenly priced compared to the competition.”

Purpose-designed for construction and associated applications, the muscular Mercedes-Benz Arocs range comprises rigid vehicles with two, three and four axles, any number of which can be driven, and tractor units. The comprehensive, six-cylinder engine line-up extends from a 7.7-litre unit in 175 kW (238 hp) trim, to one with a 15.6-litre displacement and 460 kW (625 hp) output.
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6/15/18
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Pollock (Scotrans) leads with Mercedes-Benz Actros1, number 1

There’s no missing Pollock (Scotrans)’ new fleet flagship – the stunning tractor unit is the very first of the recently launched Actros1 limited edition line from Mercedes-Benz, and presents a particularly imposing face thanks to its Nordic front protection and light bars.

A maximum of 100 exclusive Actros1s are being built. Loaded with optional technology, comfort features and eye-catching enhancements, this exciting new model represents the ultimate in driver appeal.

Pollock (Scotrans) is based in Bathgate, and provides a comprehensive portfolio of haulage, distribution, warehousing and logistics services. Actros1, number one, arrived via the Broxburn branch of Central Scotland Dealer Western Commercial.

Driver Allan Holt spent the first weekend with his new pride and joy on the Mercedes-Benz stand at Truckfest, Peterborough, where he won second prize in the organisers’ Best Kept New Truck competition.

Striking in its black paintwork with vivid green highlights – an alternative silver/black scheme is also available – his 6x2 chassis has a range-topping GigaSpace cab and is powered by a state-of-the-art, 15-6-litre straight-six which produces a potent 460 kW (625 hp).

Allan, who lives in Carnforth, Lancashire, is a huge Mercedes-Benz fan. “I’ve tried various makes of truck in the seven years I’ve been working for Pollock, and the Actros have definitely been the best,” he explained. “My previous vehicle was also a 625 hp GigaSpace. That was fabulous, but the Actros1 is something else altogether.”

He continued: “In terms of comfort and practicality it’s pretty much perfect; I can’t think of anything else I’d add. The uprated multimedia entertainment system is brilliant, the leather massage seats and Premium Comfort mattress supremely comfortable, and the additional rear overhead lockers very useful.”

Other enhancements to the Actros1’s Style Line interior include a leather-trimmed steering wheel, automatic climate control, a microwave and pull-out refrigerator, and an electric sunroof and sunblind.

Paired with a slick Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission, the most powerful Actros engine also gets a resounding ‘thumbs up’. “It’s a superb piece of engineering,” enthused Allan. “I’m always hearing about Swedish V8s but my Mercedes-Benz will leave them for dead on the hills, and you barely feel you’re moving, it’s that smooth.”

Actros1 showcases Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ technological supremacy, and comes with a full complement of advanced systems designed to boost fuel-efficiency, increase safety and minimise downtime. These include the Active Brake Assist 4 emergency braking system with ground-breaking pedestrian recognition capability, the well-proven Predictive Powertrain Control for enhanced fuel-efficiency, and revolutionary Mercedes-Benz Uptime maintenance technology.

As well as its LightFix Nordic bar and extra front lights, Allan’s truck is fitted with rear perimeter lights, and black rear wing tops and back arches. He has also added a short affirmation of his delight with the vehicle, which appears in green script across the bottom of the windscreen. It reads: ‘Dreams Do Come True’.

Allan added: “I just love the way my Actros1 looks, and thoroughly enjoyed showing it off at Truckfest, where it created an enormous amount of interest. I can’t imagine there’s a better truck on the market today.”

His enthusiasm is shared by Pollock (Scotrans) Managing Director Scott Pollock, who declared: “Actros1 is a very special vehicle indeed, while Allan is a skilled and highly valued professional who looks after company assets as though they were his own. It’s for this reason that we were happy to indulge his request for the Nordic bars and other enhancements. The result is a fantastic new flagship for our business.”

Founded more than 75 years ago and still independently owned, Pollock (Scotrans) runs a mixed-marque fleet of around 240 trucks – 80 of these wear three-pointed stars, making Mercedes-Benz the best-represented manufacturer.

“The product is excellent, of course, but we also appreciate the high level of service we receive from Western Commercial, which I’d rate as our best supplier these days. They’ve really got their act together over the last few years.

“When inspections and maintenance are due we can drop our trucks off at Broxburn on a Saturday or even a Sunday, and get them back first thing Monday morning. That counts for a lot. The Dealer’s workshop also has an ATF lane, where we get our MoTs done. Western handle all the arrangements and make life very simple for us.”

Western Commercial Truck Sales Executive Mel Berwick has also recently supplied Pollock (Scotrans) with an 18-tonne Antos curtainsider, the operator’s first Mercedes-Benz rigid since 1979. The Antos 1824, like its Actros1, is the subject of a flexible, low-cost Agility funding agreement from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.

www.pollock.co.uk
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6/11/18
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WT Transport goes for growth with Mercedes-Benz Approved Used trucks from City West Commercials

WT Transport, a leading customer for top-quality pre-owned vehicles sold under the
Mercedes-Benz Approved Used banner, has entered an exciting new phase in its development after moving to a smart headquarters in Northampton.

The operator has relocated to the £15-million hub on the town’s Brackmills Industrial Estate which was opened in March by TPN – THE Pallet Network. WT Transport has covered the Milton Keynes postcodes for TPN since it became a member in 2015.

The new facility has 164,000 sq ft of internal operational space and the capacity for 8,000 pallets a night. WT Transport Managing Director Warren Tattersall said: “We’ve taken 40,000 sq ft, which is more than double the amount we had at our previous base and gives us a great platform for further growth.”

Mr Tattersall founded WT Transport in 1997 and ran only vans until 2009, when he acquired his first truck, a 7.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego. This marked the beginning of a period of strong, sustained expansion for the general haulier, which today runs a fleet of 40 rigid trucks and tractor units, and 13 vans, the majority of which were sourced through the Mercedes-Benz Approved Used programme.

Key to the success of his business, according to Mr Tattersall, is the relationship he has forged with City West Commercials’ Tim Sutcliffe, recent winner of the Used Truck Sales Executive of the Year title at Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ annual celebration of Dealer excellence.

“Tim sold us our first truck and he’s supplied all but a handful of the vehicles we’ve bought since,” said Mr Tattersall, who runs WT Transport in partnership with his wife Sarah, its Finance & HR Manager. “Tim is our most trusted supplier – nothing’s ever too much trouble, he’s always available, and if ever we have an issue we know we can rely on him to get it sorted quickly and efficiently.

“It’s this commitment to customer service which explains why Sarah and I have come to think of Tim as a personal friend. We were delighted to learn that his achievements had been recognised by the manufacturer; from our perspective, he’s a very deserving winner.”

Within the last 12 months WT Transport has increased the number of pallets it handles each night by 25%. Over the same period it has purchased a further seven pre-owned trucks from City West Commercials, among them an Actros 2545 BigSpace tractor unit with fuel-efficient second-generation engine, which was previously used as a demonstrator by the Dealer – it arrived with only 52,000 km on the clock and is now the company’s flagship.”

The oldest of its recent acquisitions was also a tractor unit, a 2546 model with MegaSpace cab from the previous Actros model generation, on a 12-plate. The remainder were all rigid curtainsiders: a 65-registered 26-tonne Actros which had covered just 25,000 km; three 18-tonners, two Actros and an Axor; and an 8.55-tonne FUSO Canter – Mercedes-Benz Dealers in Britain also sell and support the popular Japanese light truck range.

Like all Mercedes-Benz Approved Used vehicles, each of these trucks had undergone a nut-and-bolt inspection by a factory-trained technician, and been professionally valeted too. They also came with at least six months’ MoT and six months’ Mechanical Breakdown Insurance.

“We’ve always preferred to buy Approved Used vehicles because they represent such outstanding value for money,” said Warren Tattersall. “City West Commercials carry a good used stock themselves, but through Tim I can also access a much wider range of low-mileage vehicles – ex-demonstrators, ‘buy backs’, others that have come off contracts, and so on – which are attractively priced and available within a short timeframe.

“I will let him know if I need anything specific and he’ll always call me if he comes across a vehicle that he thinks is likely to be of interest. I’ll invariably say ‘Yes’, but,” he joked, “Tim then needs to get it past my wife, as she controls the purse strings!”

Mr Tattersall continued: “Our Mercedes-Benz trucks have always been exceptionally reliable and cost-effective to operate. The same is true of the FUSO Canters, which are ideal for urban, multi-drop work thanks to their high payloads, compact dimensions and manoeuvrability. These are proven products that get the job done.

“We employ our own mechanics but Mercedes-Benz back-up, whether in the form of technical advice, roadside assistance or parts supply, is also there whenever we need it.”

Tim Sutcliffe added: “Warren and Sarah have built a brilliant business and are a pleasure to deal with. All at City West Commercials wish them every success in their fantastic new home.”

www.wttransport.com
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6/6/18
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JCT Truck & Trailer Rental lifts the curtain on SAS International’s new Mercedes-Benz vehicles

Fast-growing JCT Truck & Trailer Rental landed a prestigious contract hire deal after making a compelling case for the operation of premium quality Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The company, which is based in Tamworth, Staffordshire, has just taken delivery from Dealer Midlands Truck & Van of two 26-tonne Actros – one of which pulls a drawbar trailer – and a trio of 3.5-tonne Sprinter chassis cabs.

All wear the eye-catching livery of JCT’s new customer SAS International. The market-leading manufacturer of internal building products has headquarters in Reading, but the new trucks and vans are now working from its production facility in Oldbury, West Midlands.

JCT Truck & Trailer Rental is a trading name of J Clarke Transport, a company with roots that date back to 1950. J Clarke Transport was primarily a haulier until 2005, when it changed tack to focus on what had previously been a sideline – vehicle rental. Today, JCT owns a mixed-marque fleet of approximately 400 trucks and 100 vans.

Director of Operations Rob Pallett explained: “Cost will always be critical in the rental business, and our new Mercedes-Benz vehicles were certainly competitively priced. But other factors came into play, too. We were keen to source the trucks and the vans from a single supplier, which ruled out several other manufacturers from the outset.

“The product itself had to be right, of course. For example, SAS wanted big sleeper cabs on the trucks, a requirement we were able to fulfil by specifying long-distance Actros models. We also know from our previous experience of owning Mercedes-Benz vehicles that they offer the reliability, fuel economy and driver appeal SAS was looking for.”

Aftersales support was crucial, too. Routine inspections and servicing of the SAS vehicles will be undertaken at the purpose-built base to which J Clarke Transport moved in 2015, where facilities include a five-bay workshop and a bodyshop.

However, Midlands Truck & Van will carry out any warranty or more complex maintenance work, while also making timely deliveries of Mercedes-Benz GenuineParts. “We like the customer-focused back-up we receive from Midlands Truck & Van,” continued Mr Pallett.

Fitted with curtainside bodywork by Transport Enterprises, of Broughton Astley, Leicester, the new vehicles are now delivering SAS International’s products – metal ceilings, architectural metalwork, lighting and room comfort systems – to customers nationwide.

The Actros will each cover 140,000 miles a year. Both have aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and lifting tag axles, and employ state-of-the-art six-cylinder engines paired with smooth, fuel-efficient Mercedes PowerShift transmissions.

The drawbar unit is a 2540 model with 10.7-litre engine producing 290 kW (394 hp). Plated for operation at up to 40 tonnes GTW, it offers SAS an ideal combination of carrying capacity and flexibility, with the driver able to drop the twin-axled trailer then complete deliveries in busy towns and cities using the truck alone.

The solus Actros 2532, which carries a Moffett Mounty forklift, is powered by a 7.7-litre straight-six with 235 kW (320 hp) output, while all three Sprinters are 314 CDI variants with 105kW (143 hp) 2.1-litre turbodiesels.

“When we weighed up the complete package, everything pointed towards Mercedes-Benz as the brand that offered the best solution for our customer,” confirmed Rob Pallet.

J Clarke Transport is a fourth-generation family enterprise. The grandparents of Managing Director Andy Rowe acquired the company from the widow of founder Jim Clarke in the late 1950s – Mr Rowe’s sons Jamie and Oliver are also in the early stages of their careers with the business.

www.sasintgroup.com
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6/1/18
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Manoeuvrable Mercedes-Benz Arocs slots into Burcombe Haulage fleet

So impressed is Cornwall’s Burcombe Haulage with its first two factory-built Mercedes-Benz 8x4 Arocs ENAs that it now has a third on order from Dealer City West Commercials.

Key to the truck’s appeal are its impressive manoeuvrability in the narrow lanes of the far South-West, and a payload advantage of around 150 kg over its similarly configured, Swedish-built competitor.

Family-owned Burcombe Haulage is based in St Dominick, near Saltash, and offers a broad range of transport services, from construction and road sweeping, to general haulage. It is also a member of TPN, The Pallet Network. Sister company B&C Concrete was formed in 2014, as a joint venture with Champion Groundworks.

The operator’s first Mercedes-Benz rigids are Arocs 3240s with ClassicSpace M-cabs. As ENA variants, they feature single front steer axles, double-drive bogies and – crucially – trailing and lifting rear-steer axles, which give them significantly improved turning circles compared to a standard 32-tonne eight-wheeler.

One, which is fitted with a McPhee mixer drum and wears a B&C Concrete livery, entered service in December. It was followed in January by the second, which is in Burcombe Haulage colours. The vehicle has a Charlton-built steel tipping body and is assigned primarily to muckaway duties. Both trucks have 290 kW (400 hp) six-cylinder engines which drive through 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions.

The tipper’s cab features the recently introduced 320 mm engine tunnel, so sits six inches lower than its stablemate with 170 mm tunnel. This makes life easier for the driver to maintain three points of contact when climbing up into or down from his seat.

The next Arocs ENA, which is due to take pride of place on City West Commercials’ stand at the Royal Cornwall Show from June 7-9, will also be a tipper with lifting, rear-steer axle. However, this will be a 3251 model with more powerful, 375 kW (510 hp) straight-six and, because its driver regularly spends nights out in his vehicle, a StreamSpace sleeper cab.

Two other brands claim the lion’s share of the combined Burcombe Haulage-B&C Concrete fleet of around 60 trucks. The company’s only other Mercedes-Benz is an Actros tractor unit, which it commissioned in 2011 and which has proved both reliable and cost-effective to operate. An ex-Dealer demonstrator, this vehicle pulled a curtainside trailer carrying potatoes for a local chip manufacturer on regular runs to and from Basingstoke, until it was switched a year ago to more local bulk tipping work.

Commenting on the decision to invest in its Mercedes-Benz eight-wheelers, Transport Manager Stuart Wilkie explained: “We have to access some tight locations in this part of the world. Their steering and lifting back axles effectively give these trucks the same degree of manoeuvrability as a shorter six-wheeler, while allowing us to retain a payload capacity which is only slightly lower than a conventionally configured 8x4 chassis.

“We’re also confident that as 32-tonners they will command significantly higher re-sale values than a 26-tonner; it’s very difficult, these days, to sell a six-wheeled tipper.”

Despite the fact that the Arocs ENA tipper requires a sub-frame, which its competitor does not, Mr Wilkie said the Mercedes-Benz chassis was 150 kg lighter than the equivalent model by one of its established truck suppliers. “That’s a significant weight saving,” he continued.

City West Commercials’ Truck Sales Executive Richard Smith supplied demonstration models and held several meetings with Mr Wilkie and his colleagues, before securing the breakthrough order.

“Richard is a good guy, knowledgeable and straight-talking, which we appreciate,” acknowledged Mr Wilkie. “Our Arocs are still very new but the trucks, and the Dealer, have made good starts. We maintain our vehicles in-house and had an early issue with one of the gearboxes – City West Commercials responded well, carried out a software update and we’ve had no problems since.

“As for the guys to whom these vehicles have been assigned, they’re over the moon. The mixer driver loves his truck for its manoeuvrability, while his colleague also raves about the tipper’s comfort and smooth, flexible automated gearbox.”

He added: “We’ll look at each deal on its merit and will never put all our eggs in one basket, but from what we’ve seen so far there’s certainly an opportunity for Mercedes-Benz and City West Commercials to increase their share of our fleet.”

Burcombe Haulage was founded by Richard and Maxine Batten more than 30 years ago, and focused initially on providing haulage services to the local agricultural community. Daughters Carina and Nicola now also play prominent roles in the day-to-day running of a business that has since expanded into numerous other sectors.

www.burcombehaulage.co.uk
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5/17/18
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