Following the decision to change body specification for its 3.5t home delivery vehicles, from refrigerated van conversions to box bodies, leading organic food delivery specialist Abel & Cole has ordered 45 additional new vehicles for its fleet, with each one specified with a Paneltex 3.8m refrigerated box body.
Explaining the rationale behind the switch to box bodied vehicles, Nick Cannell, transport manager at Abel & Cole said, "We were looking for a better payload to achieve more efficient delivery routes and a better fit for our product range. Paneltex came up with the best payload by far, with an increase from 940 kg on our earlier van models and up to 1060kg on the latest Iveco Daily chassis cabs that we have just purchased."
To date, Paneltex has supplied Abel & Cole with 35 new box bodied vehicles and there are a further 10 additional vehicles currently in build at the company’s manufacturing site in Hull. All the vehicle bodies feature the Hubbard 360 direct drive refrigeration system, with the Paneltex refrigerated box body being compliant with ATP Class C standards and designed to operate at chilled temperatures of +8° C.
Each body has triple rear insulated doors, with an integral central double step, and the bodywork has been custom built to meet driver requirements, comprising of flexible shelving space and sufficient roof height to allow drivers to stand up fully inside.
All the Iveco chassis cabs feature air deflectors, with the exception of the vehicles that run solely within the Greater London conurbation for whom air deflectors are not required, enabling even better payload to be carried on these particular vehicles.
On most routes, the Paneltex bodied Iveco Daily chassis cabs run on gruelling stop/start delivery routes, handling up to 75 drops per day per vehicle, with this figure rising to in excess of 115 drops per day within the London area.
The 95 strong Abel & Cole home delivery fleet is now fully 100% Iveco with the latest Daily 35S13 chassis cabs being purchased from dealer Hendy Van & Truck, supported by a five-year repair and maintenance contract. Whilst the chassis cabs have a five-year working life, Abel & Cole will use the Paneltex bodies for a further five years, with them being switched to new chassis, giving them an overall 10-year working lifespan.
"From the early days of our discussions with Abel & Cole, we worked closely together to identify the correct specification for the box bodies. Without doubt, the intensity of their distribution operation over a 10-year working life requires a top-quality body that can withstand the rigours of such a demanding schedule. We are pleased that Paneltex are now regarded that as the primary supplier of their refrigerated box body requirements," said Chris Berridge, managing director, Paneltex Ltd.
Abel & Cole is a pioneer of organic food retailing in the UK operating from distribution centres in Andover, Maidstone, Wimbledon, Harlow, Tamworth, Warrington and Sharpness.