At Truckpages we always list tonnes of used box trucks for sale, this is because box trucks are widely regarded as a cornerstone of transportation in the UK.
However, they are not right for every business, here are some of our ideas on how best to utilise your box bodied vehicle.
It may be that your business would be better served with a curtain side truck which would give you added flexibility – or perhaps a more specialist type of box truck, like a Luton body or a refrigerated box truck.
Indeed, you can buy highly specialist box bodied trucks that are demountable or even have a curtain on one side and rigid box on the other.
The fact remains that the white box truck is one of the most common trucks on the UK’s roads – not quite the same as a white van man – a white box truck man!
In recent times the dimensions of box trucks have become more standardised. This is thanks to the tightening of the type approval system for a new truck build which resulted in a smaller number of large body builders making a narrower choice of box body lengths for each chassis manufacturer.
This means that finding an extra high, extra low extra long or short box bodied truck is becoming increasingly difficult. They do exist, but would probably have required in individual test when new.
The box van was developed in the United Kingdom
As with everything, the box class will keep evolving as new and innovative ideas are implemented, but here are some of the most notable and recent innovations to the class as a whole. One of the innovations which has made life much easier for drivers of box vans, and more efficient for those operating box vehicles, is the inclusion of an electronic tail lift. These facilitate the loading and loading of the box vehicles allowing for time and effort to be saved by the driver. These also tend to add an extra level of security to the box class vehicles. Another interesting development, the trend towards manufactures designing and building their own box bodies.
There are many different types of box bodies, and their development over the years shows how dramatically the face of industry in the UK has changed.
One of the earliest types of box van is the Luton Van. These vans had and have a distinctive lip hanging over the cab which can be accessed from the main cargo area and contains functional space for storage of products. This was developed in order to store the high volume low mass products that were produced in Luton at the time.
This type of body is instantly recognisable and is still in use today, in lots of models including the Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter vans. You will find all of these types of used box trucks for sale here at Truckpages.
One of the main advantages of owning a box bodied vehicle over its direct competitors like a curtainsider or a flatbed truck is the increased security for your goods that the box vehicle provides. The rigid sides of the Box which enclose your goods make it much more secure than its competitors. This is not only because it hides your load from view, but also because the solid walls of the box provide a much more challenging obstacle to overcome than the almost total lack of protection that a flatbed offers or the fabric of the curtains on a curtainsider.
The rigid sides also come with another advantage, they make sure that the cargo is not exposed to the mercy of the weather. The solid sides, once again, provide a much greater level of protection to the goods as the chance of water coming into contact with the goods is decreased. Furthermore, it allows you to create a relatively stable atmosphere within the box, if you so choose, this could be useful for high-value goods or goods that require a certain temperature to keep effective.
A further advantage is the opportunity to showcase your brand on your new vehicle. The sides of a Box Truck are the perfect location for you to display your brand. This not only gives your current customers the idea that you have a professional operation, but also serves as a moving advertisement attracting new customers.
Your trucks, when roaming the streets, come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers and you could take advantage of this potential exposure through the prominent display of your brand on the side of your truck.
There are problems associated with owning a box bodied vehicle. However, most of these can be mitigated with proper planning and attention to detail. An unfortunate consequence of the rigid sides that provide so many of the box truck’s benefits is that they make it extremely difficult to change the load order during the delivery route if there is a change in schedule.
This has the effect that, the driver and back-office staff must pay particular attention when deciding upon the route and loading the cargo into the truck. Another possible problem is that if the load is even slightly too big for the box, it will not fit. This is in contrast in some extent to a curtainsider but in stark contrast to a flatbed where you have a bit more wiggle room.
Box bodies can be constructed out of a range of materials, from aluminium to Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) – many use a combination of these materials. Aluminium is lighter, but more difficult to repair, whilst GRP can have any dents and scratches filled and painted over.
Flooring too is important. Opt for a lightweight aluminium checker plate floor for lightness, or go for more traditional hardwood, such as Keruing.
It is important that all loads are secured, but differing loads require differing securing points. Palletised goods can be safely lashed to the floor using floor mounted lashing rings (these can be recessed) whereas a taller load or series of boxes may well require the use of securing bars. These are spring loaded bars that can be inserted into special grooves all the way along the length of the box body.
Box Trucks often rely on tail lifts for loading and unloading goods. This sounds straightforward, but there are three different types of tail lift.
In the UK we have traditionally used ‘column’ tail lifts. The columns run up the rear of the box truck using cables or chains and a hydraulic motor which then raise and lower a platform which is stowed as a tailgate when not in use. These are cheap options and work best when the box van does not load from a loading bay. If this is the case, look for a tuck-away tail lift.
These lifts are similar to column lifts, since they are stored like a tailgate behind the truck when not in use – indeed, the tailgate can be designed to be long enough to cover the whole of the rear aperture which means the box van does not require a rear door. With a tail board of this size, it is possible to drive a car onto the tailgate for lifting into the truck. These tail lifts are operated using a series of hydraulic rams, rather than columns and chains.
This type of lift for a box van can a complex folding mechanism which means that it can be stowed under the box body when not in use. This means that the truck can be reversed up to a loading ramp without having to worry about damaging the tail lift or lowering it to load up.
Since the introduction of European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA) the number of manufacturers of box bodies has fallen. As a result, the large body builders have increased in size and the truck manufacturers themselves have taken to selling trucks from the factory ready-bodied.
For standard box bodies, this makes perfect sense as there is only one backside to kick if the new truck you are buying is wrong or delivery is delayed. If you need something particularly high, low, short or long, then you will have to look to a body builder and you may even have to have the new box truck approved individually at a testing station.
The problem does not arise with second hand box trucks for sale, but it is good to know the more successful brands of box bodies.
Midlands-based JC Payne is an experienced body builder, in business since 1926 and can build box van bodies from 10 feet to 30 feet in length.
Alloy Bodies have been building box bodies in Manchester for over 50 years, currently making some 50 per week.
Bevan Group are also based in the Midlands and have been building box bodies for over 40 years are now located in Wednesbury in a purpose-built 17,000sq ft factory. They make standard box bodies plus their aerodynamic teardrop shaped Bevan21 streamlined box body.
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There is usually no straightforward answer to this question, for example, some manufacturers may make excellent Box trucks at the top of the weight range, but their lighter weight models are less well thought of - perhaps they are too heavy or not engineered correctly for the duty cycle.
Remember too, that there are only seven or eight major truck manufacturers that market their trucks in the UK. DAF Trucks are the outright market leader, so you would usually expect them to top this poll for all categories. However, this is not always the case.
So how can we help to decide the best manufacturer of Box trucks for the UK market? Using the amount of information we hold at Truckpages regarding the popularity of the trucks, looking at the most popular trucks for each body type would usually show us the best Box trucks for the average operation. With this in mind we can definitely answer the question:
In first place comes DAF with a great range of DAF Box trucks with 144 examples currently advertised on Truckpages.
To look at DAF's approach to the market, it's worth taking a look at their used tipper trucks are broken down by individual model groupings - to check the models out, click on the link to browse further.
Second place sees the Iveco Box appear on the podium with a choice of 52 currently availble at Truckpages as of January 2022.
The last podium place goes to the Mercedes Box with 40 examples currently advertised for sale at Truckpages as of January 2022.