DPD trebles order for Actros trucks as Britons embrace next day delivery

DPD Actros

DPD has trebled its planned order for Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units following a surge in online delivery demands during the Covid-19 pandemic.

An order for 50 Actros 4x2 tractors units with low-frame height and the narrower 2.3m StreamSpace cabs was initially placed along with 30 Atego 816 7.5-tonne curtainsiders, but after announcing a £200m investment this year to expand its next-day parcel service capacity – half of which will go on new vehicles – DPD returned to dealer Northside Truck & Van for 100 more Actros tractor units.

The 394hp trucks, plated at 38 tonnes GCW, will be fitted with dual-height fifth wheels as well as Active Drive Assist and features such as MirrorCam, Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking, Predictive Powertrain Control and the optional Multimedia Cockpit.

DPD will also be spending £60 million on 15 new regional depots, an increase of ten over those that were originally planned for the year, with the remainder of the money being invested in technology. As well as the new vehicles, DPD will be creating 6,000 new jobs, of which 3,500 of them will be for HGV and delivery drivers.

Dave Winchcombe, DPD  head of transport, said: “DPD is a very innovative company, and well known for its commitment to new technology. We therefore welcomed the opportunity at this very early stage, to introduce level 2 autonomy to our fleet. We talk to our drivers all the time, and they’re very enthusiastic about the new features on these vehicles.

"MirrorCam gets a particularly big ‘thumbs up’ for the much-improved rear-facing visibility it provides – they love the fact that you can set the camera to the back of the trailer – and because by replacing mirrors it’s eliminated some major blind spots. They also think the Actros looks fantastic. With aids like Active Drive Assist and new Predictive Powertrain Control, it’s a very simple truck to drive nowadays.

"From the company’s point of view, meanwhile, being able to offer a state-of-the-art vehicle like this helps us to attract new drivers to our business. That’s a very big plus, given the scale of the recruitment campaign in which we’re now engaged.

"Ultimately, there’s no one single factor that explains why we continue to invest so heavily in the Mercedes-Benz Actros. Instead, the truck’s many attributes, coupled with industry-leading support, combine to make it a great all-round package.”

HGV driver tests given date to resume in Wales

HGV driving tests can restart in Wales on 3 August, the Welsh Government has confirmed. Driver training for trucks, buses and coaches can resume from 27 July having been suspended since 20 March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Theory tests will also re-start in Wales on 3 August.

Theory testing has resumed in Northern Ireland on 6 July, but all driver testing remains suspended, while Scotland has yet to confirm when practical testing of any kind will be permitted. Currently only theory tests will resume on 22 July, while motorcycle and tractor practical tests will start from 3 August.

Testing and tuition was also suspended in England at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak but driver tuition was allowed to resume on 4 July along with theory testing. Driving tests for HGVs resumed in England on 13 July.