Container transport specialist IPL Haulage is hoping to slash its fuel costs after veering away from its established supplier to purchase its first Mercedes-Benz trucks.
The operator, which is based in Totton, Southampton, has just taken delivery from local dealer Pentagon Commercials of a pair of New Actros 2545 BigSpace tractors. The same dealer will deliver another two, identical units in January.
IPL Haulage Managing Director Ian Percival founded his business 20 years ago, after moving down to the south coast from his native Cheshire. Working alongside its New Actros are another 22 tractor units, all of which are by the manufacturer that IPL has relied on exclusively since 2004.
The operator enjoys a high profile and is well respected within the transport industry locally. No surprise, then, that the truck sales team at Pentagon Commercials are delighted to have achieved such a significant breakthough.
Launched last year, the New Actros has won widespread acclaim for its market-leading fuel-efficiency and it was this, coupled with Pentagon’s reputation for providing top-notch after sales back-up, which persuaded IPL to make its first investments in vehicles bearing the three-pointed star.
Pentagon supplied the operator with a couple of New Actros demonstrators. "I allocated one to a very good driver, and the other to a guy who’s less experienced," recalls Mr Percival.
"It’s difficult to make accurate comparisons, because our work is so varied. But the good driver achieved 9.5 mpg, which is very encouraging given that our fleet average is 8.75 mpg. The second driver didn’t do quite as well but still returned 9.1 mpg, an improvement of almost 0.4 mpg.
"Having also heard positive reports from other operators, I’m optimistic that these New Actros are going to prove very economical in service," continues Mr Percival, who takes pride in his ‘hands-on’ approach to the running of his business, and on knowing the precise make-up of his costs.
"A little bit of competition can be very healthy," he says. "And given that an improvement of three-quarters of a mile per gallon translates into an annual saving in diesel of around £6,000 for a single vehicle, there’s clearly all to play for as far as Pentagon and Mercedes-Benz are concerned."
Mr Percival has also been won over by the striking appearance of the New Actros. "It’s undoubtedly the best looking truck on the road right now," he says, "very modern and with real presence on the road."
But he adds: "It doesn’t matter how good the truck is, it’s the whole package that’s crucial. Pentagon has a good reputation in this part of the world, so I’m also looking forward to putting its back-up to the test."