Although South Wales haulier Gerry Jones Transport has around half of its 70-strong fleet parked up and drivers furloughed, it has still been able to get a new batch of five DAF XF530 FTGs on the road.
The half of the business still operating is being kept busy supplying the food packaging industry, and some major construction projects are keeping the steel sector active. However, director Gerry Jones said: “We are struggling with backloads and have become professional beggars, although our membership of the Transport Association is a big help.”
Another benefit of membership he mentioned is overnight access to fellow members’ yards, meaning his drivers have been largely immune from the current tribulations of restricted facilities on the road. Jones also appreciated the drop in fuel cost, down around 20% since January, although expecting that when demand rises again, so will the cost.
The new Super Space Cab tractors, in the Cwmcarn, Newport fleet’s impressive black and red livery, were ordered from Watts Truck & Van Centre well ahead of the current situation, but delivered on time during the coronavirus pandemic.
They are highly specified, luxury air driver’s seat, Xtra Comfort mattress, truckphone, satnav radio, TV with DVD player, fridge and microwave inside, and twin 490/210 litres fuel tanks, direct vision system, extra-long cat walk and Alcoa Dura Bright aluminium wheels outside. The interior also features the unique Gerry Jones Transport logo.
At the dealership, meanwhile, Watts T&VC dealer principal Simon Griffin reported that all three depots, in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, remain open with a reduced staff and a 30% drop in parts and service volumes. As seen, new trucks continue to be ordered and delivered, although Griffin is seeing progress slowed by bodybuilder closures.
While the domestic used truck market is slowing, Griffin reports growing interest from Russia and Ukraine, which is where some of the Gerry Jones part-exchanges have gone, for what he describes as a fair market price.