Rhys Davies Logistics (RDL) has ordered 20 DAF CF trucks for its urban fleet, following extensive trials across a number of marques.
With a growth in palletised and urban distribution, the operator has taken a mix of DAF CF 460 FT 4x2 tractors, CF 330 FAN six-wheel 26-tonne rigids and CF 220 FA 18-tonners.
“We operate out of nine bases across the UK and have a fast-growing volume of work that takes us into congested urban areas. This has already driven us to take on a dozen urban trailers to ease the drivers’ job,” said Andy Williams, fleet operations manager.
“Our existing 6x2 tractors were still causing more problems than we wanted. We had plenty of work for those elsewhere, so opted to trial urban tractors from a range of manufacturers. We ran them out of our Haydock and Whitburn (Scotland) bases, operating ‘round the clock on like-for-like work,” he added.
The operator looked at fuel, driver behaviour and vehicle performance across each of the trial trucks, using telematics to deliver detailed, comparable reports on all vehicles throughout the trials.
Mark Richmond, managing director of RDL, said: “The business has been growing consistently over recent years, and our palletised curtain-side operations have been squarely behind our move to this urban fleet – a growth of some 30% in the fleet currently working on such contracts. The rigids are all part of the same development programme and feature trial box-body doors at each end and rear-steer axles to aid manoeuvrability in the tight urban environments where we now operate.”
The new tractors will be double-shifted, carrying out normal distribution operations by day, and then running as trunkers between RDL depots at night. This has brought about a change to the normal seven-year repair and maintenance packages the operator has taken in the past.
“With the opportunity to run these tractors on day/night operations, we reckon we will be covering about 110,000 miles a year. Whereas in the past we’d have run up to seven years on day-only work, with corresponding repair and maintenance, we are taking the DAFs on five-year packages, with a view to selling them on at the end of that period,” Williams explained.