Volvo’s Vera takes on real-world DFDS assignment

20 June 2019

Volvo Trucks has teamed up with Denmark-based ferry and logistics company DFDS to put its electric, connected and autonomous vehicle, Vera, in the real-world environment of Gothenburg docks.

The eye-catching solution is ideally suited to short, repetitive assignments in logistics, factories, mines and ports, transporting large volumes of goods with high precision.

Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks, said, “Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations.”

The aim is to implement a connected system consisting of several Vera vehicles monitored by a control room. The purpose is to enable a seamless and constant flow responsive to demands on greater efficiency, flexibility and sustainability.

The collaboration with DFDS is a first step towards implementing Vera in a real transport assignment on pre-defined public roads in an industrial area.

Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS said, “We want to be at the forefront of connected, autonomous transportation. This collaboration will help us develop an efficient, flexible and sustainable long-term solution for receiving autonomous vehicles arriving at our gates, benefitting our customers, the environment and our business.”

Scania unveils future vision concept

20 June 2019

Scania has unveiled a new battery electric self-driving urban concept vehicle designed to cope with everything from transporting commuters to collecting refuse.

The NXT has been designed by the brand’s engineers as a modular concept vehicle that can change shape for varying urban assignments.

Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson said, “NXT is a vision of the future for transport in cities. Several of these technologies have yet to fully mature but for us it’s been important to actually build a concept vehicle to visibly and technically demonstrate ideas of what is within reach.”

He added, “NXT is designed for 2030 and beyond while incorporating several cutting-edge features that are already available.”

In NXT, the front and rear drive modules can be fitted to a bus body, a distribution truck body or a refuse collector.

The bus module of this innovative concept vehicle is on display at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Stockholm, 10–12 June.

Vauxhall answers housing association’s Clarion call

20 June 2019

Vauxhall has supplied Clarion Response, part of Clarion Housing Group – the UK’s largest housing association – with a fleet of 290 new vans.

The organisation will use Combo Cargo and British-built Vivaro models as mobile workshops for maintenance engineers around the UK.

It will also welcome the all-new Vivaro in the coming months after awarding Vauxhall a deal for sole supply of vans for the next four years.

The vans have been supplied by Vauxhall in collaboration with The Procurement Partnership, the Imperial Group dealer service and SG Fleet, the fleet management company. All have been modified for use by Staffordshire-based Bri-Stor Systems to include a customised racking system with storage boxes, cabinets and tilt bins.

Colin Hutt, Clarion Response’s Fleet Manager, said, “We chose Vauxhall because of the quality and value of their vehicles and the commitment and support they were able to offer us in supplying and rolling out these vehicles into our fleet. Working with SG Fleet we’ve also been able to ensure that all the new Vauxhall vans will be carbon neutral thanks to a carbon off-setting scheme. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Vauxhall.”

Derek Wilson, Vauxhall’s Light Commercial Vehicle Director, said, “We are delighted to provide Clarion Response with our award-winning Combo Cargo and British-built Vivaro vans.

“Both models offer the latest technology, while providing low whole life costs. With their specialist modifications tailored to making them a workshop on wheels, Clarion Response can enjoy the use of practical and efficient vehicles to assist in supporting its residents.”

New Vauxhall Vivaro – pride of Luton

20 June 2019

This week TNB attended the UK media launch of the new Vauxhall Vivaro – a van that’s important not only to the brand but also to the town where it’s made and to British automotive manufacturing as a whole.

Barely 18 months have passed since Carlos Tavares, boss of PSA, visited Luton’s historic Vauxhall plant to deliver is vision for its future.

His message was overwhelmingly positive but, in return for the group’s commitment, he laid out tough demands around productivity, efficiency and profitability.

Since then, the transformation at the plant – which has been a key part of the Vauxhall story for 110 years – as been astonishing. PSA has backed its positive words with affirmative action, investing more than £110 million to create a world class, state-of-the-art van production plant.

And this investment continues to be paid back in spades by all those involved at the plant.

Within just a few short months a dilapidated underground car park at the site has been repurposed into a cutting-edge facility that will be fully turned on next month and will eventually produce around 60,000 new vans per year.

In addition, a new labour agreement has been agreed with the workforce and trades unions and this in turn has seen 1,250 jobs at the plant secured.

What’s more, the site is already achieving world-beating efficiency levels and leading the way in areas such as weld integrity. As a result, it now finds itself with a starring role in PSA’s ambitious PACE strategy to increase its LCV volumes by a staggering 25% in just a few short years.

This transformation has taken a gargantuan effort by all those involved, and the immense pride felt by each and every one of them is palpable and shone through as the plant played host to the UK media launch of the new Vivaro.

Motoring journalists are a discerning bunch and have high expectations from the many new model launches they attend. The launch of the all-new Vauxhall Vivaro earlier this week was no exception.

The brand’s PR team really went to town, even creating a bespoke presentation space with real wow factor at the Vivaro plant in Luton. At the end of the presentation, after those attending had heard all about the van’s merits from company execs, the walls fell down and journalists found themselves sitting at the heart of the new production line, which duly sparked into life.

Speaking to TNB, Brad Miller, Brand Manager for Commercial Vehicles at Vauxhall, said, “There has been a rebirth and rejuvenation of manufacturing in Luton which is fantastic.

“This is a really positive story and it’s great to see the Luton plant is looking forward and aiming to achieve volumes it’s never hit before.”

He added, “Since Carlos Tavares came in and made his announcement, everything’s progressed rapidly and it’s been an incredibly quick transition, which is great news for us.

“The fact we have a new parent company that’s made a big investment in our plant, people and equipment is fantastic and given that we will now be building a world-class vans in a world-class plant and have just made a profit for the first time in 20 years, the long-term future looks very bright.”

While the old Vivaro was still selling strongly, the new model represents a real step forward in quality and ambition.

Available as with a choice of two cutting edge diesel powerplants and as a panel van, crew van and chassis cab, new Vivaro shares its platform with the Grandland X SUV and delivers car-like dynamics as a result. Crucially, this also allows the brand to introduce passenger car safety and connectivity features and capitalise on the growing trend for LCV accessories.

Emissions are up to 27% lower than the outgoing van, while fuel returns are among the best in class. And despite being more compact than its predecessor, new Vivaro also offers an upgraded payload and volume.

All of the positivity surrounding new Vivaro couldn’t help but rub off on the media as they test drove the van on a scenic route through the Chilterns, before ending up back at a Vauxhall dealership and a presentation on how the brand is working with its nationwide network of dedicated van centres to deliver an aftersales experience to match its ambitions.

While in essence, the new Vivaro is just a van, it’s so important to so many people – and such a milestone in the brand’s history – it’s hard not to see it as so much more than that and to drive it without feeling like you’re playing some small part in its history.

Awards honour the female achievers advancing gender equality

20 June 2019

The winners of the 2019 everywoman in Transport and Logisitics Awards have been announced.

The awards, which have been running for 12 years, champion women working in the sector and celebrate the industry’s most exceptional role models.

The winners revealed a wide range of career experiences and journeys, revealing the extent of the opportunities traditionally associated with the industries.

These individuals not only make positive contributions to the businesses for which they work, but also support community initiatives and “pay it forward” by supporting and mentoring the young talent that follows them.

From the woman who saved a client £15 million through technology innovations, to the woman responsible for introducing over 3,000 “walk to school” projects to help reduce air pollution, this year’s winners are the epitome of creative excellence.

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, said, “This year has presented a new wave of exceptional talent and impressive career success stories with both genders making immense contributions to the transport and logistics industries.

“It has been proven time and again that gender diverse teams make better business decisions, which is why introducing more female talent to a male-dominated industry is so essential. The collaboration of ideas, fusion of knowledge and cross-pollination of skills is what is needed for the growth of any business.”

This year’s winners were:

Woman of the Year – Allison Kemp, founder of AIM Commercial Services

Freight Awards:

Above and Beyond – Katie Susans, Hubs Change & Implementation Lead, TNT, from Atherstone

Leader – Kimberley McIntosh, Service Deliver Leader, Royal Mail, from London

Customer and Passenger Awards:

Above and beyond – Amy Chapman, Customer Ambassador, Great Western Railway, from Exeter

Leader – Jenni Wiggle, Senior Director, Living Streets, from London

Infrastructure Award, sponsored by Amazon

Above and beyond – Lisa Hogben, Programme Delivery Manager, The Nichols Group, from London

Leader – Mrianne Kilpatrick, Director, SNC-Lavalin Atkins Transport Consulting & Advisory, from London

Supply Chain Award

Above and beyond – Kelly Pepper, Head of Business Development, Unipart Rail, from Crewe

Leader – Anita Donohoe, Vice President and Global Key Accounts, CEVA Logistics, from Ashby de la Zouch

Warehousing Award

Above and beyond – Georgia Akuwudike, Senior Operations Manager, Amazon, from Coventry

Leader – Karen Hopkinson, General Manager, Co-Op, from South Normanton

Industry Champion Award, sponsored by ASDA

Angie Doll, Passenger Services Director, Govia Thameslink Railway, from Croydon

Male Agent of Change Award

Gordon Wakeford, Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Mobility, from Poole

Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by AMEY

Caitlin Slade, Apprentice Vehicle Technician, Royal Mail Fleet, from Croydon

Hermes talent Rises to the challenge

20 June 2019

Consumer delivery specialist, Hermes, has launched a new talent development programme to nurture talent within the business and support the next stage of the company’s growth.

A total of 30 employees have been specially selected to take part in the scheme – known as Rise – to help maximise their current performance and future potential.

The 18-month course is aimed at those working at a junior management level and incorporates with the prestigious Franklin Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ management programme.

It also features a thorough individual pre and post 360 assessment to identify skill gaps and focus areas, whilst providing the option for individuals to select their desired pathway based on their role and development needs.

Rise has been created and rolled out by Hermes’ dedicated HR department, which is headed up by HR Director Jill Maples, who works closely with Head of Talent Acquisition & Development, Leanne Hamley. Over recent years, the business has shifted its culture to primarily focus on creating a foundation for employees to develop whilst proactively looking to promote from within.

Commenting on the launch of Rise, Jill said, “Nurturing talent is an absolute priority for Hermes and the Rise programme will play a vital part in that. By managing the development of our colleagues strategically we can build a high-performance workplace, encourage a learning organisation, and add value through improving skill gaps. As we look ahead, this programme will be a key feature in our recruitment acquisition and succession planning, which is important for a business that continues to enjoy double digit growth each year.”

Cleaner and safer buses destined for Brighton & Hove

20 June 2019

Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus will add 30 new ADL Enviro400H buses to their most popular routes by September.

As part of the £9.2m investment, the buses will also be fitted with SmartVision mirrorless camera monitoring systems from 21st Century.

The new vehicles should run on electric power only through Brighton & Hove’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a technique known as geofencing.

Despite being hybrids, the buses’ electric motors provide drive at all times. A small diesel generator is used to top up the battery but does not drive the wheels. Regenerative braking provides the bulk of the recharging on the move.

When the buses are running in zero-emissions mode – through the ULEZ – not even the generator will be operating.

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus’ Engineering Director, Steve Ambury, said, “The peripheral view and the clarity of the picture on the monitors is far better than normal mirrors. It’s much easier to spot a bike coming down the side of the vehicle, for example. It shows it from a long way away.”

Campion appointed TRL chief exec

20 June 2019

TRL – the UK’s transport research laboratory – has a new chief executive.

Paul Campion was until recently the CEO of the Transport Systems Catapult where he worked closely with government and industry partners developing collaborative investment projects to deliver innovation and growth in the smart mobility sector. Prior to that, Paul had a long career at IBM most latterly in senior operational and sales roles, with extensive international experience spanning Europe, Africa and the US.

Charles Rice, Chairman of parent company TRF, said, ‘’I am very pleased to welcome Paul to TRL. His extensive experience at IBM both in the UK and overseas will help us with the development of our software business internationally.

“More recently, as CEO of the Transport Systems Catapult he has developed extensive links with government, industry and university partners. Paul brings valuable experience to TRL at a time when we seek to develop our world leading expertise further into the new markets being created by the ‘new mobility’ revolution.”

Campion said, “I feel excited and privileged to join TRL at this critical moment: the transport sector is facing a perfect storm of change and TRL is well positioned to help its public and private sector clients navigate through it. I look forward to working with TRL’s expert team on the next stage of their development.”

Converter boxes clever with Nissan e-NV200

12 June 2019

Vic Young Conversions has unveiled a fully-electric box van based on the Nissan e-NV200.

The model offers a 575kg payload, low level entry and a large 8.553m3 – more than double that of the original e-NV200 – while retaining full zero emissions performance.

This makes the vehicle exempt from road tax and the London congestion and ULEZ changes.

Vic Young, Managing Director said, “This is an incredible achievement for us and I could not be more pleased with the team who brought this to fruition.

“We always look ahead with our conversion projects so that we can transform the market in new, exciting ways and I think the all-electric NV200 box van is evidence of this. I firmly believe that the market is ready to go all-electric with vehicles for trade and industry.”

Fully accredited and rigorously tested, the conversion comes with a comprehensive 5 year/100,000-miles warranty.

Biffa fits live camera safety system

12 June 2019

Waste management company Biffa is fitting live cameras to more than 80 vehicles in a move designed to improve safety.

The RXLite camera system, provided by Innovative Safety Systems (ISS), uses wide angle high definition cameras and an HD in-cab monitor to minimise operating risks.

It will be fitted to a mix of refuse vehicles, caged tippers and sweepers on two of Biffa’s major refuse and recycling contracts with East Sussex and Waverley councils.

Biffa’s Sussex waste and recycling collection contract, which runs for seven years, starts this month and calls for 60 vehicles. The Waverley contract, which runs for eight years from November, will require a fleet of 20 vehicles.

David Maidman, Biffa business director, said, “The workplace is becoming increasingly challenging with more traffic and greater demands on drivers and collection crews.

“Installing these live cameras will provide additional reassurance and security for our staff, and the public.”

Oliver Hoadley, UK sales director at ISS, said, “These are major contracts and we are delighted that Biffa has selected us as its chosen safety technology provider.”