Norwich-based FreightForce has underlined its determination to retain the best drivers while also attracting new ones by commissioning six new Mercedes-Benz tractors.
Fuel-efficiency was also key to the operator’s decision – an Actros demonstration unit supplied by East Anglian Dealer Orwell Truck & Van returned up to 13 mpg.
“Even when pulling a full 26 tonnes that truck was well into the 10s, which put it a good mile ahead of our 15-plate, Swedish-built trucks,” recalled FreightForce Managing Director Nick Jolley. “Our fleet average is 8.5 mpg so an improvement of this magnitude will represent a very tidy saving indeed.”
The new trucks are all Actros 2545 models with flat-floored BigSpace cabs and second-generation 330 kW (450 hp) straight-six engines, which drive through smooth and efficient Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions. They have replaced vehicles by another manufacturer and joined a mixed-marque fleet of 36 trucks and 48 trailers.
Founded in 1998, and still privately-owned and managed, FreightForce provides a full range of storage, distribution and logistics services to a diverse customer base, and seeks to translate ‘Operational Excellence into Competitive Advantage’.
As well as offering general haulage and groupage, it is a member of the Palletforce network, specialises in the handling and transportation of dangerous goods under ADR regulations, has a truck and trailer rental arm and runs its own driver training school.
Mr Jolley continued: “Following a recent restructure of the management team we were keen to send a signal to our drivers, which is that we value them highly and appreciate the ‘front line’ role they play in representing our company.
“One very good way of doing so was to reward them with the best vehicles in which to live and work. And that, we felt, meant the Actros BigSpace. We like to think that by spending a bit extra on these highly specified, comfortable, spacious and exceptionally safe new trucks, not only have we improved our chances of retaining existing staff, but we have also made the job of attracting new drivers that bit easier too.”
FreightForce has signed up to a CharterWay contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, under which its Actros are being inspected and serviced by the workshop team at Orwell Truck & Van’s Norwich branch.
“We bought a couple of Actros back in 2000 and they did well, but this latest deal effectively represents a fresh opportunity for Orwell,” continued Mr Jolley. “The Dealer put in a lot of time and effort to win our business, and we now need to see whether this arrangement stands the test of time.
“If the trucks continue to live up to their early promise, and Orwell performs as well as we hope when it comes to the all-important back-up, there is every prospect of our returning with new orders in the future.