Norfolk’s Foulger Transport staged a fuel-efficiency shootout between its established fleet favourite and a Mercedes-Benz New Actros demonstration unit – true to form, the truck with the three-pointed star carried the day.
As a result, the haulier has just added seven New Actros 2545 tractors to the fleet of 100 trucks now operating from its base in Snetterton.
Supplied by Peterborough Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, all have aerodynamic, flat-floored StreamSpace cabs, and are powered by state-of-the-art 330 kW (450 hp) straight-six engines, driving through the latest Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions.
Group Transport Manager Paul Willis says: "Foulger Transport has run Mercedes-Benz trucks before, but not for some time. So although we’d heard good things about the fuel performance of the New Actros, it had to prove its worth to win a place in our fleet.
"Intercounty had the belief in their product to provide us with a demonstrator, which we ran for a trial period to gain an accurate, ‘real life’ impression of its performance – they were confident it would impress us, and so it did."
He continues: "We’d always expect new trucks to be slightly better than older ones on fuel. But the fact that some of our new Mercedes-Benz units are more than 3.0 mpg ahead of our current fleet tractors is certainly encouraging."
Indeed, so impressed is the operator that it has already returned to Intercounty Truck & Van with an order for more New Actros.
Mr Willis continues: "Like most in this industry, fuel efficiency is our biggest consideration in a new truck. But it’s not the only one. We also had to be satisfied that the New Actros would offer the driver comfort and reliability we need, matched by a high level of back-up from the dealer.
"We know from our previous experience of running Mercedes-Benz trucks that they’re extremely well built and durable. Although these are still early days, Intercounty have provided a very professional service, so the signs are certainly promising."
While three of Foulger Transport’s New Actros are on general distribution duties, the other four are equipped with hydraulic gear and pull bulk tipping trailers. A significant proportion of the operator’s work is undertaken for the agricultural sector – it provides a range of services to local farmers including lifting, cleaning and hauling their crops, much of it sugar beet bound for the British Sugar factory at Bury St Edmunds.
All of Foulger Transport’s New Actros are equipped with DaimlerFleetBoard telematics systems that monitor not only fuel consumption but also the performance of drivers, by measuring and recording aspects such as harsh braking, over-revving and unnecessary idling.
Established in 1935, the company is a member of the Palletline network and offers full or part-load haulage across the UK or, where required, to Europe and beyond. It also has extensive warehousing on its site next to the A11 trunk road, and operates its own workshop as well as a fleet of light and heavy breakdown recovery vehicles.