12 July 2017

Specialist Model 15.65 Metre Temperature Controlled Double Deck Trailer Gets Royal Viewing  

60th Anniversary Sees Prince Charles Visit Mark Special Occasion

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Shipping News Feature UK – Trailer builder Gray & Adams launched its 60th anniversary celebrations in style by hosting a visit from HRH Prince Charles and announcing its intention to build the UK's first, maximum-length, lifting-deck semi-trailer. The precise specification of the temperature controlled trailer, commissioned by a well-known customer, has yet to be confirmed. However, it will feature four separate temperature zones and offer a capacity of 60 pallets, comfortably more than double the number that can be carried on a standard, 13.6 metre single-deck trailer.

Gray & Adams began life in 1957, when panel beater Jim Gray and motor mechanic Jim Adams set up a car and body repair business to serve the area in and around Fraserburgh, still the company’s main operating base. Six decades on and still family-owned, it is now a £150-million turnover business employing more than 700 people in Scotland’s North-East and at other production facilities in Belfast, Doncaster and Dunfermline, as well as an after sales centre in Bedford.

Although Gray & Adams also builds dry freight trailers and bodies, including highly specialised vehicles for niche markets, it is for temperature-controlled equipment that the company is best-known. Its products claim an unrivalled reputation for quality and durability, and are chosen by many of the biggest names on UK roads, including all of the major supermarkets.

Innovation has also been a Gray & Adams hallmark since its earliest days, and the 15.65 metre lifting-deck project once again underlines its technological leadership. Having built some of the first insulated trailers for the transportation of perishable goods in the late 1950s, Gray & Adams went on to manufacture the industry’s first double-deck trailer in 1994, and its first lifting-deck version in 2000.

The company has also pioneered the development of longer, 14.6 metre and 15.65 metre semi-trailers, since the Department of Transport launched a major trial in 2012, something generally accepted to be proving successful when reviewed last year. It has built fixed double-deck variants at lengths in excess of 14 metres. But neither Gray & Adams, nor any of its competitors, has yet engineered a twin-deck version at the maximum permissible 15.65 metre length, let alone one with a lifting second deck for easier loading and unloading.

Fiercely proud of its ‘British built’ heritage, the company was honoured to mark the start of its 60th anniversary year by welcoming HRH Prince Charles for its first Royal visit. He was accompanied by James Ingleby, the Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, and welcomed by Jim Gray’s sons Peter and James. The Prince, who as heir to the throne uses the title of Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, was conducted on a tour of Gray & Adams’ Fraserburgh headquarters which took in the various stages of the production process, with the Prince showing particular interest in the different types of insulated panel used by the manufacturer to build its trailers and bodies.

The Royal visitor unveiled a plaque commemorating the biggest day in the company’s history and, before returning to the helicopter in which he arrived, Prince Charles received a number of gifts as mementoes of his visit. Among them were scale models of tractor units and double-deck trailers bearing the names of his grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte. These were presented by Stuart Philpot, aged 13, and his sister Grace, 10, founder Jim Gray’s own grandchildren. Peter Gray commented:

“This company has grown out of all recognition over the last 60 years. However, we remain a family-owned business with all that this implies in terms of our personal commitment to customer care, and to the training and development of our people. Indeed, we are proud of the many long-serving members of staff who have remained loyal to Gray & Adams throughout their entire careers.

Photo: The Prince spent time meeting staff during his visit.

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