The ability of Mercedes-Benz to offer a 26-tonne chassis with six-man, type-approved distribution cab prompted high-profile global relocations specialist Matthew James to invest in two stunning trucks from dealer Rygor.
Strikingly finished with airbrushed cab artwork celebrating Elvis Presley and the Disney film Frozen, both are 6×2 Actros 2530 LnR models. They are the biggest rigid vehicles on the operator’s fleet, their low frames allowing for an exceptional 2.9 metres (9ft 6in) of internal height, and a cavernous load volume of 2,400 cubic ft. As a result each truck can carry six removals containers, one more than its other 26-tonners.
Matthew James recently secured coveted Gold accreditation from FORS (the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme), an achievement that reflects its commitment to safety. Both trucks are equipped with a comprehensive array of Mercedes-Benz systems including Stability Control Assist, Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Attention Assist (the last three specified before they became standard features following the introduction of new legislation in November 2015)
They are also fitted with all-seeing Brigade Backeye 360° cameras and tracking systems that highlight incidences of fast cornering, harsh braking and sudden stopping, allowing the company to encourage and promote best practice by its drivers.
Matthew James Managing Director Matthew De-Machen said: “With roads both at home and in Europe becoming busier by the day, the safety of our drivers and crew is paramount. The Mercedes-Benz commitment to accident prevention gives me the peace of mind that comes from knowing we’re sending our staff out in vehicles that as well as being comfortable are also designed to ensure they reach their destinations safely.”
Matthew James is a third-generation family business with headquarters in Dartford, Kent, that provides national and international relocation services, and specialises in moving UK citizens throughout Europe. It has depots in Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga, and runs weekly road train services to and from France, Spain and Portugal.
The Actros, however, will be used primarily for domestic assignments. They represent the first in-roads by Mercedes-Benz and Rygor, into a mixed-marque fleet of 20 trucks.
Both are powered by advanced, 7.7-litre BlueEfficiency engines that produce 220 kW (300 hp) and drive through smooth-changing, eight-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions, while other features include high-performance engine brakes and axle load measuring systems.
Also key to the appeal of the Actros for Matthew De-Machen, was the crew-carrying capability of their 2.3m StreamSpace sleeper cabs. The bottom bunks double as bench seats for up to four passengers, all of whom get seat belts, with the top bunks, folded flush to the rear bulkheads, providing rear cushioning.
“With rules and regulations getting tighter, having extra porters simply sitting on a conventional bunk is no longer an option for any diligent operator,” he explained. “We’ll use four porters for most jobs but these Mercedes-Benz trucks give me the option, for example when we’re packing up at a big house, to send out as many as six in a single vehicle,”
“That extra flexibility represents a huge advantage in this business. My Swedish truck supplier can also do me a six-man cab, but only one that’s built to fire engine specification and is way too big and expensive.”
The Actros bodies are by SBR Specialist Coachbuilders, of Preston, and fitted with a full complement of underfloor lockers and load rails, as well as ramps – the reduced height of the chassis means these are deployed at a low angle, making loading and unloading easier. The striking airbrushed artwork, meanwhile, was created and applied by Andy and Tom Scott at Custom Painthouse, of Barnsley, with the preparation and lacquering undertaken by Lee Aitchison at the nearby LA Spray Shop.
“I like my trucks to catch the eye and these Actros certainly look the business,” continued Mr De-Machen. “The liveries were designed to appeal to different generations – Elvis is a familiar figure to the older generation, while Frozen will be instantly recognised by youngsters. My daughter’s face when she saw herself painted on the truck was priceless!”
He added: “I’ve known Rygor’s Marcus Cahalin for a number of years. He’s a first rate sales executive, and since joining Rygor has also sold me a couple of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans – we run six altogether and love them for their reliability and comfort. But he’d also been badgering me to try a Mercedes-Benz truck and I’m very glad that he finally succeeded, because we’re delighted with our Actros.”
Marcus Cahalin added: “Matthew James is a highly respected and influential operator within the removals sector. With this order Rygor has demonstrated once again its ability to deliver truck chassis which are perfectly tailored to meet the precise needs of a diverse and in some cases highly specialised range of applications.”