The business of transporting wet fish can be a real headache, as water sloshes about in semi-trailers and truck bodies playing havoc with electrical and other systems.
Specialist operator Quayside Distribution avoids such problems by investing in ‘fish specification’ temperature-controlled transport solutions from Gray & Adams, the latest of which have just entered service.
Operating from headquarters on the docks in Grimsby, Quayside supplies fresh and frozen seafood to supermarket RDCs throughout the UK. It also runs an export and import operation – providing next-day deliveries to France and Belgium and two-day services to Italy and Spain, with full and groupage backloads of fresh and frozen goods – and recently invested £4 million in a hi-tech, 11,000-pallet, bonded cold store in Grimsby.
Managing Director Mick Wilkinson founded Quayside in 1997. The business has since grown strongly, helped by the ever increasing popularity of fish as a healthy alternative to other foods. Today, Quayside also has distribution centres in Scotland, London and the South-West, and operates a fleet of some 80 trucks as well as more than 100 refrigerated semi-trailers.
The company takes pride in its modern, efficient transport fleet, with trucks being replaced after three years on the road. "But our Gray & Adams trailers are so robust and well built that we anticipate running them for at least 10 years," says Mr Wilkinson. "I know from previous experience that those produced by foreign suppliers don’t last anything like as long."
All the trailers are tracked both from a positioning point of view and temperature control, with alarm codes from the fridge visible to staff back at Quayside through the system.
Within the last six months Gray & Adams has supplied Quayside with two batches of single-deck trailers with fuel-saving Eco-Aer enhancements such as wide-radiused top cappings and vortex generators to smooth airflow.
Although equipped with single-temperature Thermo King refrigeration units, these trailers are also fitted with bulkheads and transfer fans so can be used for frozen and chilled distribution. Other fish specification features developed by Gray & Adams for operators such as Quayside include additional drain holes with special ‘stop cocks’ and extra sealing of the electrical and other systems to protect them from water ingress.
Mr Wilkinson continues: "Most of the fish we carry is transported in polystyrene boxes filled with ice. A certain amount of water leakage is inevitable and that can affect the electrics, as well as causing other problems.
"We have found over the years that other manufacturers don’t allow for this. But it’s never an issue with a Gray & Adams trailer because of the additional drainage and insulation features incorporated within the design."
Although most of Quayside’s trucks are tractor units, the fleet also includes a number of rigid trucks with single-temperature bodies by Gray & Adams.
At the suggestion of the bodybuilder’s General Sales Manager Andrew Brown, Quayside’s latest 10-tonne MAN trucks were downrated for operation at 7.5 tonnes gvw. They can thus be driven at this lighter weight under ‘grandfather rights’ by older drivers who gained their standard car licences before 1997. Anyone passing their test after this date needs a Category C1 LGV licence to drive a 7.5-tonne vehicle anyway, so should Quayside want to assign one of these trucks to a younger driver it can uprate the vehicle back to the maximum permissible 10 tonnes gvw and take advantage of the extra payload gained.
"That sort of thinking is typical of Gray & Adams," adds Mr Wilkinson. "They don’t just sell you a product off the shelf – they’ll sit down and talk through the operation with you, then come up with a solution which is tailored specifically to meet your needs. And as well as being a first class manufacturer, Gray & Adams also provides a first class after sales service."