Leading paper haulier and distributor C&H (Hauliers) Ltd has set the seal on a £4-million overhaul of its fleet by investing in 40 Mercedes-Benz tractor units and 34 high-volume SDC curtainside trailers.
The trucks were supplied by dealer Sparshatts of Kent, and are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services operating lease. All are New Actros 2545 models with range-topping GigaSpace cabs and fuel-efficient 450hp straight-six engines.
The manufacturer’s Used Commercial Vehicle Centre at Wentworth Park, near Barnsley, played a key role in the deal – having recently begun supporting the Mercedes-Benz network by making part-exchange agreements, it took back 24 of C&H (Hauliers) previous Actros 2544 Long Distance units, all of which have since entered service with new operators.
C&H (Hauliers) is part of the Charles Gee Group of global logistics companies and transports more than 2.2 million tonnes of ‘forest products’ each year, including everything from reeled newsprint and palletised book paper, to packs of timber and tissues, and waste paper for recycling.
The company operates from a head office on the north bank of the Thames estuary in Tilbury, Essex, and from other depots in the ports of Chatham, Felixstowe, Hull, Kings Lynn and Liverpool. However, several of its New Actros are working from the Aylesford Newsprint mill in Aylesford, Kent, close to Sparshatts’ Sittingbourne HQ.
C&H (Hauliers) bought its first Mercedes-Benz trucks in 2002; today, most of its 113 tractor units wear three-pointed stars. The company trialled a New Actros ‘seed’ vehicle for six months before committing to its latest order.
Managing Director Steve Mercer says: "I’m always reluctant to talk about fuel figures because you need to let a fair amount of time pass before attempting to come up with an accurate fleet average. However, initial results suggest our Euro 5 New Actros are already about 0.3 of a mile per gallon more fuel-efficient than their predecessors, which is certainly encouraging as they should improve further as they ‘bed in’.
"What’s beyond any doubt," he continues, "is that aesthetically our latest trucks look absolutely tremendous, with their colour-coded bumpers and mirror housings. Driver feedback has also been exceptionally positive – the latest Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission seems to be more responsive than the version it’s replaced, and has been particularly well received."
Mr Mercer also relies heavily on Sparshatts, not only to undertake vehicle maintenance and repairs but also to manage relationships with those Mercedes-Benz dealers whose areas of responsibility coincide with other C&H (Hauliers) depot locations.
"Everything is looked after on my behalf by Sparshatts," he says. "The dealer’s support is fabulous. They keep us close and on the rare occasions that we’ve had an issue they’ve invariably responded very quickly."
C&H (Hauliers) will be presenting one of its New Actros at the Multimodal freight transport and logistics exhibition, to be held at the Birmingham NEC from April 23-25.