Laurie Dealer blogs on Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers

Tonight, live on rt.com, Laurie Dealer will be blogging on week three - Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers. On Channel Five. 8pm.

By all accounts its Finland, woodland and frozen dip on tonight's programme. Looking forward to it.

Now, Laurie Dealer has seen a fair few wagons pass through the books of the used truck business and none were so popular as the Iveco drawbars from the 1980s.

They drew a pretty penny when they were sold as famers wanted the extra length for the hay runs through the latter part of the year. They'd chop off the curtainsider part of the body and trailer, leaving a flatbed and three weeks later you'd see one flying down the M6, or up the M5 out of Devon, or in the wilds of Norfolk, hay'd out to the max, and with roping - none of this health and safety straps rubbish.

The faded outlines of the old livery and distinctive Eddie Stobart spec still there to see. Happy days...

3663 spend £5m on new DAFs

Foodservice company 3663 has replaced the previously Scania fleet at its Nottingham depot with 46 DAF CF65 18-tonners in a deal worth £5m.

Graham Rennie, 3663 director of fleet, says after purchasing mainly Scania vehicles for a number of years, 3663 went out into the marketplace. "We already have several DAFs on the fleet and have benefited from good service from them," he says.

"We have a new vehicle body specification and a new design of cages to specifically fit the body."

Better vehicle utilisation means the overall size of the Nottingham depot's fleet has been reduced, says Rennie.

The firm will take another 46 vehicles with the same specification at other depots later this year, in line with 3663's vehicle replacement programme, Rennie adds.

The new trucks have Euro-5, 6.7-litre 250hp Paccar engines, six-speed AS-tronic automated transmissions and Gray & Adams multi-temperature bodies. Its drivers took part in a one-day familiarisation course supported by DAF, Gray & Adams and the suppliers of the ancillary equipment fitted; tail-lift manufacturer Dhollandia, refrigeration unit manufacturers Frigoblock and Govet, and telematics company Microlise.

"Driver reaction has been very positive and we are now looking forward to many years of cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and productive service from the trucks," he says.

The vehicles were bought through Edinburgh-based Lothian DAF dealership, with Nottingham-based DAF dealer Imperial Commercials looking after the contract maintenance.

The trucks are expected to travel 60,000kms a year delivering throughout the east Midlands as far north as Leeds. Rennie says the company continues to specify automatics to reduce driver fatigue on what is an intense multi-drop operation with considerable stopping and starting.

"Improved safety was also a factor, along with a requirement to achieve better fuel efficiency across the fleet and 3663 will be carefully monitoring the fuel performance of the CF65s," he adds.

The 8.25m Gray & Adams bodies have a moveable bulkead, which can split the reefer compartment to carry frozen and chilled products, as well as handling cages and pallets. The company has a fleet of 1,045 vehicles.