Circle Express is one of the UK’s leading freight distribution specialists. With warehouse facilities located close to five of Britain’s busiest airports – Heathrow, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Exeter – the company provides transport services for a host of air freight agents and their clients.
With its seven facilities often required to work 24/7, indeed, Heathrow and Manchester are 24 hr. operations, Circle Express relies on the efficiency of its materials handling equipment to maintain the high levels of customer satisfaction with which it has become synonymous in over three decades in business.
So, when its existing counterbalanced forklift truck fleet came to the end of its contracted life, the company undertook an extensive assessment of the lift truck market.
“We wanted to ensure that our new trucks would be a popular choice not only with our truck operators for their comfort and safety but also with our finance department for their efficient running costs,” says Chris Ayres, Depot Manager at Circle Express’s LHR facility.
Having reviewed various options, Chris and his team were left in no doubt that Circle Express’s needs were best met by models from Jungheinrich’s TFG range of hydrostatic counterbalanced trucks.
These gas-powered trucks feature hydrostatic drive engines which allow the forklifts to accelerate quickly and make changes in direction sleek and smooth, which means they are ideal for applications which involve a lot of shuttling work – such as Circle Express’s.
In addition, because hydrostatic drive technology requires fewer mechanical components, the trucks are low maintenance and easier to service. As a result, truck downtime is kept to a minimum and whole life operating costs are low.
Furthermore, the trucks provide a high degree of safety. For example, thanks to the special design of the counterweight and its high mounted safety steering axle, the truck has a low centre of gravity and, as a result, excellent stability is assured without the need for an additional electronic stability programme. In addition, to support Circle Express’s commitment to its Health and Safety responsibilities, Chris asked Jungheinrich to calibrate the operating speeds of these lift trucks to best suit their respective environments.
Circle Express operates what is essentially, a freight-to-freight cross docking logistics model. Airfreight arrives at the company’s hubs on trailers which are unloaded by the Jungheinrich forklifts. Loads are put away in racking or block stacked at floor level prior to onward distribution via Circle Express’s fleet of delivery vehicles – which range from small vans to 44 tonne articulated lorries.
Gas to refuel the entire Circle Express forklift fleet is held at the company’s Heathrow hub from where gas bottles are refilled and trunked to other facilities overnight.
“We were not only impressed by the Jungheinrich product but also by the level of after sales service the company is able to provide,” says Chris Ayres.
He continues: “Jungheinrich’s engineers are employed and trained directly and as a result can ensure that a high standard and uniform level of service is achieved across our fleet regardless of where our trucks are working.”
Jungheinrich has supplied Circle Express with over 30 TFG counterbalanced trucks in a range of capacities on a multi-year contract hire deal.