AAG lands lucrative Reed Boardall contract

31 July 2019

A new £3 million contract to supply 32 double-deck refrigerated trailers to leading temperature-controlled food distribution specialists Reed Boardall has been awarded to Asset Alliance Group.

Operating out of the company’s Boroughbridge site, a dozen 13.6 metre tri-axle double-deck Gray & Adams reefers have already joined the 300-strong trailer fleet, with an additional order of 20 due later this year.

The new additions will be used to complete round-the-clock deliveries of frozen food.

Each trailer has been supplied on an operating lease contract, meaning Reed Boardall will manage its own vehicle maintenance, servicing and tyre management, whilst Asset Alliance Group will fund the finance of the vehicles for the seven-year contract.

The new additions mark an ongoing investment from Reed Boardall to upgrade its fleet and extends a longstanding working relationship between the two companies.

Graeme Richardson, managing director of Reed Boardall’s transport division, said, “We work our fleet intensively, so it’s essential we use trusted suppliers who meet our high standards when it comes to all aspects of our vehicles.”

MAN delivers new trucks to British Army

31 July 2019

The British Army’s effectiveness in the field has been given a boost with the delivery of five new SX45 (L) Variant vehicles by MAN Truck and Bus.

This delivery was project managed by MAN but the vehicles were manufactured by the brand’s strategic partner, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Austria (RMMV Ö), through a subcontract worth €2.6 million.

The vehicles will be used as a mobile platform for the British Army’s deployment of highly specialised radar equipment.

MAN previously provided five of these vehicles in 2012 to support the British Military’s Land Environment Air Picture Provision System (LEAPP) Programme.

These five vehicles are the last SX45 (L) vehicles that will ever be produced.

Granite City set for global public transport first

31 July 2019

Aberdeen is set to become the first city in the world to introduce hydrogen-powered double decker buses.

The new additions to the hydrogen fleet will underline the city’s role as a pioneer in green energy.

The contract which was signed this month will deliver 15 city buses. The project has been funded by Aberdeen City Council, European Union (FCH JU) and Scottish Government with an investment of about £500k per vehicle, building on the initial research funding contributed by the Scottish Cities Alliance.

The vehicles will be operated by First on the 19 (Culter to Tillydrone) route and is part funded by the European Union’s JIVE project, which aims to aid commercialisation of hydrogen buses through joint procurement between cities.

Cities that will follow Aberdeen’s footsteps include London and Birmingham, with Dundee and Brighton and Hove being lead partners in JIVE2.

It is claimed the buses are more efficient than electric equivalents, with refuelling taking less than 10 minutes and offering a greater range. Water is the only emission from the vehicles, reducing carbon emissions and continues to contribute to the city’s commitment to tackling air pollution.

The buses have been produced by Wrightbus, based in Northern Ireland, and will complement the existing fleet that the city already boasts 10 buses as well as a range of vans and cars.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said, “We were delighted to contribute to the funding which has made this exciting next phase of Aberdeen’s hydrogen journey possible.

“This important investment will help the city achieve its decarbonisation ambitions and further cement its reputation for innovation and technology.”

FTA reveals logistics awards shortlist

31 July 2019

The shortlist for the FTA Logistics Awards 2019 has been announced.

Now in their third year, the awards celebrate the companies and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the logistics and supply industry.

David Wells, Chief Executive of FTA, said, “These finalists represent the ‘best of the best’ of our sector; the businesses and individuals determined to keep Britain trading, both at home and overseas.

“They have been selected for their outstanding commitment, knowledge and expertise, and represent a wide range of UK companies across transport modes and business sectors.

“With a record number of entrants this year, each shortlisted business had to fight off very tough competition to secure their place in the final line up, and those who scoop the top prizes will be truly at the top of their business games.”

Volvo and Samsung enter strategic alliance for electromobility

24 July 2019

Volvo and Samsung have joined forces to develop battery packs for electric trucks.

The strategic alliance aims to accelerate the pace of development and strengthen Volvo Group’s long-term electromobility offerings in different truck segments and markets.

Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO of the Volvo Group, said, “The Volvo Group is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles. With electromobility the increasing needs for transport will be done in a cleaner and quieter way, which opens up new possibilities for our customers and society as a whole.

“The alliance with Samsung SDI is an important next step on our journey towards offering the world’s most truly sustainable transport system with fossil-free alternatives for our commercial vehicles.”

Young-Hyun Jun, CEO of Samsung SDI, added, “Samsung SDI is truly privileged to enter into a strategic alliance with the Volvo Group.

“As we stand at the crosscurrents of the mobility and transportation industry, we are convinced that this alliance will provide superior offerings pertaining to energy, safety and sustainability to the commercial vehicle industry and beyond.

“We are confident that this alliance will secure the market leadership of the two companies in the long-term.”

Heating firm is hot for new Berlingo

24 July 2019

Long-standing Citroën van customer Robert Heath Heating is adding the new Berlingo to its nationwide installation and maintenance fleet for the first time.

The vans will replace existing Citroën vans on their 200 strong fleet that have reached the end of their contracts.

The new Berlingo vans will also be joined by a delivery of the larger Citroën Dispatch model in an order amounted to 80 vehicles in total.

Martin Gurney, Groupe PSA fleet director, commented, “Robert Heath Heating are loyal Citroën customers and I’m proud to say we have been supplying them with new Citroën vans for some 12 years.

“The latest batch of New Berlingo Vans are fitted with Citroën Connect Box with Emergency and Assistance as standard, giving Robert Heath Heating access to service and maintenance monitoring as well as emergency assistance if needed.”

New tech offers 360-degree steering capability

24 July 2019

A new concept that integrates advanced powertrain, steering and suspensions technologies could give the next generation of commercial and urban transport vehicles limitless 360-degree steering.

The Protean360 module, developed by Protean Electric specifically for CV applications, will allow for exceptional versatility on busy urban streets, and parking in tight spaces with absolute kerb-side precision.

The system’s compact packaging would also allow the development of UTV’s with entirely flat interior floors for improved access.

Once stationary, the pneumatic ride height control of Protean360+ will enable the vehicle to ‘kneel’, dropping the vehicle entry-point to kerb level. This will afford stepless and virtually gapless ingress and egress for heavy or cumbersome loads or for passengers with impaired mobility.

KY Chan, CEO of Protean Electric, said, “Transport-as-a-Service urban mobility is gaining momentum, and with it the need for a new class of urban transport vehicles.

“Whether shared or private, for passengers or goods deliveries, human-driven or autonomous, these new vehicles will require new technologies to be fit for purpose.

“The Protean360+ corner module was borne from our team’s innovative thinking about how to meet the requirements for these next-generation urban vehicles.”

How Bibby has used telematics to transform driver performance

24 July 2019

“You can have all the telematics in the world, but if you don’t engage the drivers, help them understand the information and help them drive more safely and efficiently, it’s pointless.”

That’s the message from David Morley, Driver Training and Telematics Manager at Bibby Distribution – the man who has helped oversee a dramatic cultural shift among the company’s 800 drivers.

The extent of this transformation was brought to the fore earlier this year when the company triumphed at Microlise’s Driver of the Year Awards.

Mark Field was named overall Driver of the Year as well as receiving the award in the ‘Short Distance’ category, while John Males was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award. Dale Coppin and Philip Starkie were also shortlisted in the HGV Hero Award category, with Dale being named runner-up.

But the story goes much deeper than improvements in the performance of a select handful of drivers.

When Bibby Distribution began working with Microlise in 2016, vehicle operator performance had clear scope for improvement, with around 38 per cent of drivers achieving a grade A or B standard according to the telematics provider’s grading system.

Over the next two years, the driver training team, led by Morley, coached drivers to increase the percentage achieving grade B and above. Telematics enabled the team to tailor training based on individual performance,

To augment the programme, in 2018 Bibby Distribution installed forward-facing and inward-facing cameras from Microlise across the fleet. The footage has been used to bring driver coaching to life by demonstrating specific scenarios, as well as supporting accident investigations and claim mitigations.

As a result, Bibby Distribution has seen an incredible transformation in driving behaviours with more than 86 per cent of drivers scoring grade B and above by the end of 2018 – 45 per cent of those at grade A.

Information obtained from the Microlise system has also shown that compared to 2015, road traffic collisions are down 28 per cent, work-related road injuries have reduced by 75 per cent and Bibby Distribution’s total CO2 per vehicle kilometre has been lowered by 10 per cent.

Morley said, “Drivers make up the largest proportion of our workforce and it can be a difficult and stressful job. With cameras and telematics, we can identify drivers who need our support and give them the help they need. They feel valued and cared for, and we also reduce the risk of accidents, protecting our people and the public.”

The changes have prompted tangible changes to driver morale and safety figures, it’s also allowed the business to make sizable savings across its 550-strong tractor unit and rigid truck fleet.

By working with drivers to analyse and improve their driving style, with gentler acceleration and braking and improved anticipation of the road ahead, the 3PL has substantially reduced spend on wear and tear parts like brake discs and tyres. More significantly, the use of dashcams has been beneficial for the company’s insurance premiums.

Morley adds, “With the help of telematics technology, we’ve developed a tailored training programme that works. It has been a complete success – as shown by our driver award wins – and we’ll continue to invest in our team to make sure we’re even better in the future.”

Royal Mail delivers on green ambitions with new electric vans

24 July 2019

A total of 190 new electric vans have entered service with Royal Mail, almost trebling the size of the company’s pure EV fleet.

Operating in London and across the South East, the new arrivals are a mix of Mercedes-Benz eVito and Peugeot Partner models.

Added as part of Royal Mail’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions, the new vans are wrapped in green rather the company’s traditional red.

The investment forms part of Royal Mail’s involvement in Ofgem-funded Optimise Prime – the world’s largest commercial electric vehicle project.

Paul Gatti, Royal Mail fleet director, said, “As a Company, we are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact, whilst ensuring we continue to meet customer expectations.

“This trial is part of a programme of initiatives across our business that will ensure we can continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and in the most environmentally-friendly way possible.”

Optimise Prime is led by Hitachi Vantara and UK Power Networks. The initiative aims to bring together leading power, technology, fleet and transport companies – including SSEN, Uber and Centrica – to test and implement the best approaches to the EV rollout for commercial enterprises.

Nicole Thompson, director, social innovation and co-creation partnerships at Hitachi Vantara said, “The Optimise Prime consortium is delighted to see the first tranche of new commercial electric vehicles on the road. By sharing data and collaborating with this industry-led initiative, Royal Mail is helping us pave the way for the mass adoption of electric vehicles in the UK.”

Dennis and BYD clock up century of EV double decker sales

24 July 2019

A partnership between Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and BYD Europe has now clocked up 100 full electric double decker bus sales.

ADL is a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (NFI), one of the world’s largest independent global bus manufacturers and BYD is a world leader in batteries and electric buses.

The pair reached the landmark as National Express placed an order for 19 Enviro400EV models for its West Midlands bus operation in Birmingham.

“This is a notable achievement by the BYD ADL team in the UK, underlining the strength and depth of the partnership,” said Arthur Whiteside, managing director, UK sales at ADL.

“We have achieved significant market penetration in just three years, while the uptake for the Enviro400EV has been extremely encouraging since we started production in February.

“The move to electrification is well underway and we’re pleased to be leading the charge.”

Frank Thorpe, managing director at BYD (UK), added, “We see the demand for full electric mobility only increasing and for two good reasons – public demand and fleet productivity.

“An increasingly well-educated public is calling for a sustainable future and zero-emissions public transport can play a key role in helping people switch to an energy-saving mindset.

“Pure electric operation is having a truly dramatic impact on air quality in our towns and cities, and that’s good news for everyone.”