NS Clarke Transport is recording fuel savings worth up to half a mile per gallon from some of its first Mercedes-Benz new Actros tractor units, among them a Euro 6 model.
But the Staffordshire bulk haulier would not be running them at all, were it not for the service it receives from Midlands Truck & Van, which keeps its trucks on the road under three-year Mercedes-Benz repair and maintenance contracts.
Shaun Clarke, managing director of NS Clarke Transport, said: “The dealer’s Wolverhampton depot is about 16 miles from our base in Lichfield, and much of that journey is on congested roads. So when we bought our first five Mercedes-Benz trucks in 2009, it was on condition that they provide a collection and delivery service for routine maintenance and inspections. The deal would never have happened without that commitment.”
Midlands Truck & Van also sends mobile technicians to the operator’s yard most weekends to undertake a range of tasks, thus keeping downtime to a minimum.
Clarke continued: “Some weeks we’ll have 15 pieces of equipment going over to the workshop, while the fact that they’ll also come over here on a Saturday or Sunday is very convenient. Dealers rarely get praised but Midlands Truck & Van work very hard and do an excellent job.”
Underlining the success of the relationship, four years on from that first order, 33 of NS Clarke’s 51 tractor units now wear three-pointed stars, as do nine of its 15 rigids at 7.5 and 18 tonnes gvw.
The operator also uses eight refrigerated Sprinter vans for urgent and temperature-controlled deliveries.
Clarke said: “Our trucks have to perform, of course, and the New Actros are certainly doing that, which explains why we intend to buy another 16 before March. But so, too, do the dealer and, indeed, the manufacturer. It’s all about the complete package, and that’s what we get from Mercedes-Benz.”
Gary Banks, workshop controller at Midlands Truck & Van’s Wolverhampton dealership, said: “We appreciate how important it is to our customers that we keep their vehicles on the road and earning, and will do whatever it takes to achieve that end.”