Tipper Haulier of the Year Mick George Ltd has further enhanced its impressive safety credentials by commissioning the first Mercedes-Benz Econic construction vehicles for operation outside London.
The new trucks will spend much of their time working in and around historic Cambridge, which has been described as the UK’s ‘city of cycling’.
The Mercedes-Benz Econic combines a panoramic windscreen and full-height glazed passenger door, with a low seating position that allows the driver to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians at junctions and in traffic.
This means the low-entry chassis offers significant safety advantages in a university city where, it has been estimated, one in five journeys is made by bike, many of them by students.
A leading supplier to the construction industry in East Anglia and the East Midlands, Huntingdon-based Mick George operates quarries, landfill sites and waste transfer stations, and provides bulk excavation and earthmoving, aggregate supply and waste management services.
The company’s success in winning the Tipper Haulier of the Year title at the 2016 Tip-ex/Tank-ex awards came shortly after it secured coveted Gold accreditation from the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). Mick George is also a CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety) Champion.
Its new construction vehicles are being supplied by Orwell Truck & Van, and will be inspected and serviced under Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance contracts at the East Anglia Dealer’s recently-opened branch in Newmarket.
The order comprises five 18-tonne Econic 1830s with Hyva skip-loader bodies and five 32-tonne Econic 3235 ENAs with alloy tipping bodies by Wilcox. The eight-wheelers, which offer a highly competitive payload of 20,450 kg, have single front steer axles, double-drive bogies and rear-steer axles. This configuration gives the vehicle an impressively tight turning circle, and makes it significantly more manoeuvrable than a standard 8×4 construction truck, a major advantage for operation in tight streets.
Orwell has also supplied Mick George with a pair of 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Arocs 1824s with Multilift skip-loading equipment, and is currently processing orders for three more Econics with Heil refuse bodies, an 18-tonne 1830 and two 26-tonne 6×2 2630s.
Like all of Mick George’s trucks, its new Econics and Arocs are fitted with an additional safety armoury comprising five cameras, nearside proximity scan systems, left and right turn audible alarms and additional warning markings.
Explaining the company’s decision to purchase its first Mercedes-Benz trucks, Transport Manager Joe Gossage commented: “The Econic is one of only two bona fide low-entry urban safety vehicles currently available, and by far the more industry proven. That said, the procurement decision also came down to which manufacturer and dealer we believe can offer us the best service and breakdown provision.”
Mick George has a number of partnerships in Cambridgeshire, including a high-profile, five-year waste collection and disposal agreement signed recently with The University of Cambridge. In addition to the provision of a sustainable and fully auditable ‘zero to landfill’ waste management programme, the company’s commitment to the safety of local communities was key to its success in winning this contract.
“The safety of our staff, communities, clients, contractors and the people we work alongside is of utmost importance to Mick George,” continued Mr Gossage. “The introduction of these Econic chassis further underlines our determination to minimise the risk to vulnerable road users. The enhanced field of vision which this vehicle offers will be a real advantage to our drivers when navigating through cities or in complex situations, while its two-step, low entry minimises the possibility of injury when accessing the cab.”
Mick George invests heavily in the training and development of its drivers, all of whom receive practical and classroom-based instruction that focuses specifically on urban environments and the protection of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. One element of this programme entails drivers getting on bikes themselves, to gain a cyclist’s perspective of what it is like to ride in heavy traffic.
Mr Gossage added: “Low-entry, high-visibility vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz Econic will play an important part of our road transport operations future. Having made such a significant investment in these vehicles, we hope they will prove viable for future procurement decisions and can be rolled out to some of the other areas in which we operate.”
Over the last 12-18 months, the heightened focus on cyclist and pedestrian safety has enabled Mercedes-Benz to win a string of high-profile orders for Econic-based tippers, tipper-grabs, skip-loaders and mixers from construction sector operators working in London. Mick George’s are the first Econic construction vehicles to enter service outside the capital.