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Musgrave choose Paneltex for bodywork as its fleet goes 100 percent temperature controlled

When Musgrave Retail Partners GB decided to upgrade part of its 400 strong distribution fleet for the Londis and Budgens retail outlets, the company chose Paneltex as its business partner for the first time. The Hull based manufacturer won the deal to supply all the multi-temperature rigid bodywork as well as supplying all the 8.2m and 9m refrigerated rear steer single axle multi-temperature trailers.

This was the first time that Musgrave have worked with Paneltex and the decision to specify their temperature-controlled bodywork for these new fleet acquisitions has already left a positive impression with the company.

According to Graham Thomas, LGV fleet manager at Musgrave Retail Partners GB, "Paneltex have been extremely good to deal with. Prior to finalising our decision, we did extensive research on the company and its product range, talking with existing operators and analysing the strength of their manufacturing skills. We decided that Paneltex would be an ideal potential business partner for us and what’s impressed us was, not only their competitive proposal but more importantly, the fact they gave us an extremely realistic promise on the actual delivery dates. We value their integrity."

As part of this fleet update deal, Paneltex has supplied Musgrave with 12 refrigerated bodies fitted onto Mercedes Benz Axor 18t rigid chassis cabs supplied by S&B Commercials, 19 refrigerated 8.2 m trailers and eight 9.2 m refrigerated trailers. All the refrigerated rigids and the single axle trailers have been specified for multi-temperature operation and, once the new fleet acquisitions are in service, the complete Musgrave distribution fleet will then be 100% refrigerated, offering a choice of chilled, frozen and ambient configurations.

"We have gradually phased out the non-refrigerated vehicles from our fleet in favour of temperature controlled vehicles whilst also increasing the number of semi-trailers that we operate. We feel that the use of compact single axle trailers offers greater functionality for us, in terms of meeting intensive delivery schedules whilst allowing more efficient preloading of trailers. The shorter semi trailers allow us better access to many of our retail locations," added Graham Thomas.

The 8.2 m rigid multi-temperature bodywork supplied by Paneltex on the Mercedes rigid chassis features longitudinal modular lanes to create a 1/3rd and 2/3rd split within the body. Refrigeration is provided by a Carrier Transicold Supra 850MT refrigeration system and a DataCOLD 250R temperature recorder is fitted. All the rigid vehicles also feature Dhollandia column tail lifts to Musgrave’s own specification.

Paneltex has also supplied 27 multi-temperature refrigerated trailers, manufacturing both the rear steer trailer chassis and the temperature-controlled trailer bodywork. 19 of these trailers are 8.2 m versions and, similar to the refrigerated rigid bodywork, feature a modular longitudinal lane system within the body, using Carrier Transicold’s Supra 850MT refrigeration system.

The remaining eight trailers are all 9.2 m multi-temperature refrigerated trailers with refrigeration supplied by Carrier Transicold’s Vector 1850MT System 3 trailer refrigeration system. On all 27 trailers, the Carrier Transicold DataCOLD 250T temperature recorder is fitted as well as Dhollandia rear column tail lifts.

Speaking as the first vehicles are being delivered, Chris Berridge, managing director, Paneltex said, "From the first days of our discussions with Musgrave, we have worked extremely closely with them to ensure that we arrived at the correct vehicle specification to meet their retail distribution requirements. Our long-term experience and understanding of manufacturing temperature controlled bodywork for retail customers has enabled us to provide Musgrave’s with a realistic and practical delivery schedule that we are all comfortable with."

The first of the rigid trucks went into service supplying the Budgens retail network, with the balance of the Paneltex bodied trucks delivered by the end of August 2011. The Paneltex semi-trailers will be delivered by mid September 2011 and Musgrave anticipates a vehicle life of six years for the rigid trucks and eight years for the semi-trailers.

For the trucks and trailers used on the Londis operation, the multi-temperature configuration is split into chilled and ambient longitudinal compartments whereas for the Budgens distribution schedules, the lane configurations are set for frozen and chilled products.

The rigid vehicles are to operate out of the Musgrave’s depots in Wellingborough in the Midlands and Thamesmead in south-east London, whereas the trailers will be working from the company’s four retail depots in Pontefract, Andover, Wellingborough and Thamesmead.

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