Enterprise Flex-E-Rent is providing 14 Multilift Commander container-handling trucks for use on the HS2 project.
The Hiab-built 32-tonne vehicles are based on Mercedes-Benz chassis and have previously only been used in the UK by the military.
They feature in a built-in arm that allows the vehicles to load and unload shipping containers or other similar-sized objects in remote areas.
Enterprise Flex-E-Rent is the first UK rental business to offer the vehicle for commercial use and is providing 14 examples to the joint venture between Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall (EKFB) for use on the central section of HS2.
Paul Bedford, senior logistics manager at EKFB, said: “Working across a delivery area of over 80km and supporting multiple worksites in rural and remote locations required a different approach. Having seen this type of equipment operating in austere military overseas environments, it was a logical fit.
“The ability to use a 20ft ISO container footprint to move plant, material and waste provides huge flexibility. Previously, several pieces of equipment and employees had to combine to load and unload vehicles, plus they needed a crane or alternative material handling equipment. This slowed the process down and could become expensive.
“With a single Multilift Commander, one driver can do all that work in potentially a quarter of the time: 10 to 15 minutes instead of 30 to 40. That’s a huge time and cost saving. The teams on the ground can then unload at their convenience, leaving the HGV to move on to its next task. There are also several safety benefits, such as the removal of working at height and the ability to strap loads when they are at ground level.
“Enterprise helped us devise an innovative solution, which led us to merging the vehicle with industry-leading safety equipment. Enterprise’s technical expertise and relationships with vehicle build specialists helped us to acquire the exact design we needed.”
The vehicles are split between the Mercedes-Benz Econic and the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3240 K 8x4 chassis and are fitted with an array of safety equipment, including Advanced Brake Assist 5, Stability Control, onboard cameras and tracking systems, and features ranging from headlamp mesh guards to puddle lights.
Danny Glynn, managing director of Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, added: “This project perfectly illustrates our capabilities - the widest range of standard commercial vehicles on offer as well as creating and renting unique designs to meet bespoke customer needs.
“Our aim is to provide the right commercial vehicle support for every customer requirement, and in this case, it meant bringing partners together to create a rental solution for a vehicle that was previously used primarily by the military.
“The unparalleled scale of the demands and challenges of the HS2 project requires a unique vehicle approach to transport all of the large, heavy welfare cabins to remote areas on a regular basis. Helping EKFB required creative thinking from everyone involved, and we’ve developed the depth of network and supplier relationships needed to deliver any type of vehicle anywhere.”
Enterprise is investing in its 28-strong network of Flex-E-Rent depots, with its new £1 million flagship site in Rugby providing a blueprint for the future.