Chichester-based NV Transport had a fuel efficiency target in mind when it ordered eight Mercedes-Benz Actros from south coast Dealer Pentagon Commercials – within just two weeks, the new trucks were already ahead of the game.
NV Transport is part of Madestein UK, one of the country’s most innovative growers of salad crops and herbs, and specialises in chilled distribution. It runs a fleet of 17 top-weight tractor units, all but five of which wear three-pointed stars.
The latest arrivals are Actros 2548 models with aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and 350 kW (476 hp) straight-six engines which drive through Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions. They are now being inspected and serviced under five-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contracts.
Director Steven Zwinkels says: “This was the biggest single order for new trucks that we’ve ever placed and, as such, these Actros represent a very significant investment for our company.
“Their introduction marks the culmination of 18 months of research, during which, as well as testing Mercedes-Benz demonstration units provided by Pentagon, we also trialled vehicles by two other manufacturers.”
He continues: “Our previous Axor units average 8.5 mpg but after two weeks on the road the lowest we’d seen from one of the new Actros was 9.5 mpg, while the best was 12 mpg. They’re already performing better than we’d hoped in terms of overall mpg returns, and the driver feedback has been very positive, so of course we’re very pleased with the way they’ve turned out.”
Both NV Transport and Madestein UK are family businesses. Steven Zwinkels runs NV Transport, with the support of Transport Manager Nick Cook. Steven’s brother Jonathan runs Madestein UK. Their Dutch-born parents Peter and Tineke are Managing Director and Company Secretary respectively, while Steven’s wife Amy works in Madestein’s Technical Department.
The first vehicles to wear NV Transport’s smart new livery, the Actros are now delivering to supermarket RDCs and food service suppliers throughout the UK; while 25% of the fresh produce it carries comes from within the group, most is grown by third-party customers.
Steven adds: “We’ve favoured Mercedes-Benz trucks for many years now, because they have a history of meeting our high standards in terms of economy, reliability – one of our units is nearly 10 years old and has clocked-up 1.4 million km but is still going strong – and Dealer back-up. All of these factors translate into highly competitive whole-life running costs.”