Reynolds buys Mercedes-Benz Econic tractors for London multidrop deliveries

 

UK food distributor Reynolds has added four Mercedes-Benz Econic 4x2 tractors to its London multidrop fleet, and has plans to take more in the future.

The trucks, which join a pair of three-year-old 18-tonne Econic rigids, have PowerShift transmissions and are coupled to 11m Gray & Adams refrigerated urban trailers.

Reynolds head of fleet Steve White, who has a background in the waste industry, said: “The Econic has always been great for refuse and it could be the answer for other applications.”

He said it was the success of the rigids that gave him the confidence to partner with Ryder to put the UK’s first Econic tractor on the road.

Based at its Waltham Cross headquarters, the first Econic was supplied by Ryder on a seven-year contract hire basis. White said it costs £1,500 more a year than a regular 4x2 tractor, but described the additional price as “worth every penny”.

White wants to take the concept a step further and has placed an order for a zero-emission battery-powered 26-tonne Econic. Supplied by NRG Fleet Services, it will join the fleet in March.

“Because of the low mileages covered [between 70 and 80 miles every night in London], I think the electric Econic will be great,” he said. “For us as a business, I see the Econic having a big presence in the fleet.”

Reynolds will also take delivery of four 13.5-tonne Isuzus in March, boosting the total number on the fleet to 10. He described the trucks as “good bits of kit”, praising their “sturdy chassis” and “good front-end price versus residual value”.

White is also impressed with the 7-tonne payload and said the air-suspended seat gives the trucks more driver appeal than the Isuzu 7.5-tonners also on
its fleet. “They’re great for multidrop, but you wouldn’t want to trunk to Scotland in them,” he said. “Overall, the drivers prefer DAFs and Mercedes, but my financial director doesn’t!”

 

Mercedes-Benz Trucks protects UK hauliers from a no-deal Brexit

 

Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK has invested £20m in additional spare parts so customers are not inconvenienced in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Director for customer service and operations Sam Whittaker (below) said: “We have increased our stockholding by £20m, which is approximately a 50% increase. We have not only targeted fast-moving lines but also those parts that are used less often but may cause a VOR. It is our intention to continue our first-pick service level at over 93%, regardless of what happens in the Brexit agreements.”

Whittaker explained that the parts are being stored in approximately 20,000sq m of additional storage space in strategic locations close to the manufacturer’s UK Logistics Centre in Milton Keynes. “We have planned for seven days’ additional stocking of all parts, plus an additional four weeks of fast-moving stock at these warehouses,” he continued.

“Also, our dealers will hold an additional depth of stock as an insurance policy in the first weeks of a potential hard Brexit. We will also hold key critical components locally in Milton Keynes rather than in Germany to shorten lead times and avoid delays at port.”

Another potential concern addressed by Mercedes is the possibility that the trucks carrying spare parts and vehicles to the UK might get held up at the border. With this in mind, it has submitted an application to HMRC for two customs authorisations: Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) and Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP). These will mean that its trucks can enter the UK with reduced disruption after Brexit. An AEO is a globally recognised trusted trader certificate that demonstrates to all customs authorities that it has high-quality international trade controls and processes. It will show border security and customs that it is considered low risk, so its goods should be cleared through the UK border more quickly. A CFSP allows it to make simplified customs declarations, easing the amount of data required when parts and vehicles come into the country, resulting in quicker customs clearance.

“Of course, there are still concerns that our trucks [carrying parts that are allowed to move through the fast lanes] might get caught up behind trucks that do not have the same benefit, but this is something we’re continuing to work with the various ports,” added Whittaker. “We plan to use multiple ports of entry to mitigate any restriction in the flow of traffic. We also air freight urgent VOR parts and aim to fast track these as well, as soon as our AEO status is approved.

“We would like to think that we have suitably prepared our network and parts support to ensure our customers can keep their businesses moving.”