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Norbert Dentressangle invests in hybrid drive forklift trucks to reduce environmental footprint

Norbert Dentressangle is replacing 40 forklift trucks (FLTs) during 2013 with a new hybrid drive model that on average reduces fuel consumption by over 35% as part of its commitment to driving down the environmental footprint of its supply chain.

Following trials at its Northampton, Rowley Regis and Leigh depots last year, the company has already taken delivery of 11 STILL RX70 Hybrid Drive LPG forklifts that offer lower energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. The trucks are supplied on a five-year contract hire option.

The highly efficient FLTs are currently operating at Transport depots around the UK, from Wakefield and Darlington to Luton and Hounslow, and will be rolled out to other sites across the national delivery network by the end of the year.

As part of the replacement process, Norbert Dentressangle reviewed a number of materials handling equipment manufacturers against a "Whole Life Cost Model". This looked at on-going maintenance, environmental impact, tyre replacement costs, fuel, general reliability, parts pricing, response times (to ensure minimum downtime), effective fleet utilisation, and continuous improvement opportunities.

Simon Tebbs, Procurement Business Partner at Norbert Dentressangle Transport Services, said: "The initial trials demonstrated that the hybrid drive trucks would deliver a significant business improvement with an average 35% reduction in fuel consumption and, depending on use, some even saw a drop of almost 50%. The outgoing trucks use 5.4 litres of fuel per hour, whereas the new model uses 2.4 litres per hour, when measured against industry VDI 2198 Standard."

As well as reducing emissions, the new materials handling equipment is more ergonomically designed and has a number of built in safety features. Operators of the trial units praised the efficiency and ease of use. With one pedal operation, the new FLTs provide lower driver fatigue, a smoother ride due to cushioned cab and seat, and lower noise output in comparison with current trucks.

Mike Bridges, Managing Director of Norbert Dentressangle Transport Services, commented: "The new hybrid forklift trucks demonstrate our continued commitment to looking at all areas of the supply chain as we aim to improve our operational efficiency to support customers and minimise our environmental impact."

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