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All to play for, as AV Dawson opens the door to Mercedes-Benz fuel efficiency champion

Multimodal transport logistics provider AV Dawson had made its first investments in Mercedes-Benz trucks following impressive fuel returns from a pair of demonstration units.

The Middlesbrough-based operator is now running four New Actros 2545s with 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines and aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs. All are being inspected and serviced under seven-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contracts at the Billingham branch of North-East franchisee Bell Truck and Van, the manufacturer’s reigning After Sales Dealer of the Year.

AV Dawson is a third-generation family firm, providing integrated distribution solutions for road, rail and sea. Dating back to 1820, Dawsons Wharf is the oldest of the company’s three Teesside sites, and now an advanced multimodal transfer terminal with a worldwide reputation. AV Dawson also makes extensive use of the nearby North Sea Supply Base, where it has four berths, and Ayrton International Railhead.

The company runs a fleet of 32 top-weight tractor units in which a Swedish brand has traditionally held sway. It placed its order with Bell Truck and Van following back-to-back trials of Euro VI models from the recently-crowned Motor Transport Fleet Truck of the Year range – in one of these, a New Actros 2545 averaged 8.9 mpg.

Two of the new trucks have been assigned to long-distance container and general haulage work; the other two are being double-shifted and making local deliveries, many of steel coil to a local car manufacturer.

“We’ll now be taking a good look at these New Actros to see how they stack up against the rest of the fleet,” says Senior Transport Manager Russell Spink. “It’s fair to say, though, that we’re really impressed with what we’ve seen so far. The demonstrations went very well and the Mercedes-Benz technology looks brilliant, while the feedback from the drivers has been excellent too – they like their comfortable, well laid out cabs, as well as the engine response and smoothness of the automated transmission.

“However,” he continues, “fuel efficiency and driver acceptability are only one part of the story. No matter how good they are, all trucks will break down at some stage. So back-up is every bit as important and we’ll also be monitoring Bell Truck and Van’s performance to see whether they, and Mercedes-Benz, can provide the level of support that we need.

“Again, Bells have made a very good start. We’ve had a meeting at the local dealership and they introduced us to all the key players, while their guys have also come across to meet our transport managers. We’ve never had that from another dealer, so they’re certainly saying and doing all the right things.”

AV Dawson was founded in 1938 by Arthur ‘Vernie’ Dawson and his wife Eleanor, who invested £50 in a horse called Dina, her shoes, a cart for her to pull and coal to sell. Today, their son Maurice is Chairman while the company is run by grandson Gary, the Managing Director.

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