Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services has placed the biggest single order yet for Mercedes-Benz Citan small vans.
It is now achieving valuable fuel savings after commissioning 152 Citan 109 CDIs. They were supplied, along with 23 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 313 CDI chassis cabs, by Dealer S & B Commercials and are the subject of a LeasePlan contract hire agreement.
The new company was formed late last year, through the merger of two businesses, Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services and Harsco Infrastructure. Both were based in the United States but operated on a global scale.
Although the Brand name is new to the UK, Harsco Infrastructure was well established in this country and had local roots dating back to 1919. Part of the group is a company called SGB Scaffolding, which also enjoys a high profile in Britain – SGB continues to trade, but does so now as part of the new company.
The company has a UK head office in Tamworth, Staffordshire, from which it manages a network of 11, strategically located depots. Most of its new Citans wear the SGB name, although 25 are in Brand colours. All are Extra-long Dualiner models with second rows of seats, and are used primarily to transport scaffolders and other operatives, together with their tools, to and from job sites.
On arrival at the ports of Killingholme and Purfleet the Citans were liveried, ply-lined and fitted by Mercedes-Benz technicians with special, top-hinged bulkheads designed by Brand’s UK Transport Manager John McKeever and his team. When deployed the bulkhead provides additional safety for staff – but when load carrying capacity is the priority, it can be folded out of the way, along with the rear, three-seat bench, to maximise the space available for cargo.
The 3.5-tonne Sprinters are fitted with dropside bodies by Bevan Group, of Halesowen, West Midlands. As with the Citans they are in a combination of SGB and Brand liveries, and are used to carry scaffolding required for small jobs, as well as for other light haulage duties.
McKeever, who held the same position with Harsco, has specified all of the new Mercedes-Benz vehicles with limiters that restrict their top speeds to 62 mph. This, coupled with the inherent fuel efficiency of their diesel engines – 90 hp in the case of the Citan, 129 hp for the Sprinter – has led to a significant improvement in economy.
“Some of the Citans are returning as much as 62 mpg, which represents a 12 mpg improvement over the light vans we were running previously,” he said. “The cost savings are obvious but more importantly, we’re a ‘green’ company and the reduction in emissions supports our environmental profile.”
Under the LeasePlan agreement each vehicle is contracted to cover 30,000 miles a year, with maintenance and repairs being undertaken by the most conveniently located Mercedes-Benz dealers.
McKeever continued: “We’ve always run Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans, so I’m a firm advocate of their quality and have strong contacts with the manufacturer. We have married every one of our depots with a local dealer and most of the work will be carried out through the night, so there’s no disruption to our operation.
“Should the worst happen, we’ve been given a guaranteed maximum emergency assistance call out time of 59 minutes, so we’ll be looking to the dealers to live up to this promise.”
McKeever has also been impressed with the service provided by S & B Commercials’ National Fleet Sales Executive James Jeffries. “James has led this account in a very proactive fashion from the outset,” he adds. “He’s ensured the vehicles were turned around very quickly at the ports, liaised extensively with LeasePlan, and is only ever a phone call away – in short, he’s a fully supportive account manager.”