One of Britain’s biggest and best-known brewers has raised a toast to a pair of 7.5-tonne Fuso Canters, which are now delivering to pubs and other outlets that cannot be accessed by larger trucks.
Greene King chose the Canter for its market-leading payload, compact dimensions and low deck height, all of which make it ideally suited to local delivery operations.
Both are range-topping Canter 7C18 models with 180hp engines and smooth, efficient DUONIC gearboxes – DUONIC is the first twin-plate automated transmission to be fitted to a light truck.
Greene King has been brewing in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, since 1799. Its new trucks were supplied by Ipswich Mercedes-Benz dealer Orwell Truck & Van – the German manufacturer’s UK network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular Fuso Canter light truck range – and are the subject of a lease agreement with BNP Paribas.
The vehicles are fitted with curtainside bodies by GK Harvey, of Attleborough, Norfolk. One promotes Morland Old Speckled Hen bitter and operates from a depot in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, while the other wears a Greene King IPA livery and is based at the company’s headquarters in Bury St Edmunds.
Greene King’s Distribution Planning & Fleet Manager Paul Brett explained: "We’ve been using 7.0- and 7.5-tonne panel vans to deliver to smaller account customers we can’t reach with our bigger, 18- and 26-tonne drays.
"However, it’s a tough job and the vans don’t last much more than a couple of years. So we decided a 7.5-tonne truck would be more appropriate, but it had to be one that offered a high payload.
"Orwell’s Truck Sales Executive Rob Dale has been telling me for some time about the Canter’s outstanding payload, so we decided to give it a try. He’s certainly been true to his word, as we’ve had them on a weighbridge and our new Canters will each carry 4.1 tonnes – that’s a very impressive figure, a good half a tonne more than you’d get on a traditional 7.5-tonner."
Mr Brett continued: "The drivers love these vehicles too. I’ve driven one myself and was very impressed with the DUONIC gearbox, which makes life at the wheel very easy.
"The Canter’s relatively small footprint also means that it’s highly manoeuvrable and able to get in and out of spaces you might struggle to access in other vehicles in the same weight class."
Usually single-manned, the Canters are now making up to 15 deliveries a day. "It’s hard work which involves a lot of manual handling, so the vehicle’s low operating height is another bonus for our staff," said Mr Brett.
And he added: "We took comfort, too, from the fact that the Fuso Canter is backed by Mercedes-Benz. We intend to run these vehicles for five years but will be monitoring their mpg performance and other operating costs from the outset.
"So if all goes well there’s every prospect that Orwell Truck & Van and the Fuso Canter will again be at the top of our shopping list the next time we need new vehicles."
Greene King has won many awards for its beers – other big-sellers include Ruddles and Ridley’s – and also owns some 1,600 pubs, nearly all of which sell cask-conditioned beer.