Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Trucks for Somerset Road Haulage Outfit

Hope That Mercedes Can Reduce Fuel Bills
Shipping News Feature

UK – Established in 1969 with a single truck by Chairman Ray family run road haulage outfit R T Keedwell has been growing steadily ever since, building mostly on the transport opportunities offered by the traditional products of its native South West. Nowadays the independent company runs a fleet of around 400 tractor units and 1,000 trailers from its eleven depots around the UK. The Somerset born firm has profited from the freight opportunities which local cargo consisting of peat, fruit, vegetables etc. has provided and now offers a comprehensive portfolio of services from traditional general haulage to specialised logistics and freight distribution.

This week sees the company take delivery of its first eight Mercedes-Benz Actros; a ninth, from the New Actros range which made its UK debut at last month’s Commercial Vehicle Show, is due to enter service this summer. Although it tried a couple of Mercedes-Benz Axors a decade ago, this is its first major order for trucks bearing the three-pointed star. The new vehicles will mostly be pulling high curtainside trailers and Managing Director Stuart Keedwell commented:

“We’ll run light occasionally but most of the time our Tautliners are freighted at a full 44 tonnes and averaging around 8mpg. So if we can get 8.5mpg out of these Mercedes it will be a real bonus. The rental package was certainly attractive and I’ve no doubt that in terms of reliability, performance and driver acceptability these trucks will do a first-class job for us – no driver is ever going to be unhappy with an Actros.

“But of course, the most important factor in this day and age is the cost of fuel, and we’ve decided to give Mercedes-Benz a try now because we’ve been hearing good things about Actros returns. We want to find out for ourselves whether they can live up to their promise, week in, week out.”

The new trucks, one of which has a blue, full vinyl wrap livery, are the subject of a two-year contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz CharterWay, a brand of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and the trucks were supplied and will be serviced by Mercedes-Benz dealer City West Commercials which has also delivered a programme of instruction for RT Keedwell’s own driver-trainers; they, in turn, have passed on what they learned about getting the very best economy from the vehicles to the Actros drivers.

In addition, to assess the fuel-saving benefits, the haulage outfit has specified three of its Mercedes-Benz tractors be equipped with Daimler FleetBoard telematics systems – FleetBoard analyses driver performance against a range of criteria and highlights areas in which improvements can be made, such as over revving, harsh braking, idling, speeding and ‘green band’ driving.