Truck buyers need not simply consider any changes to emissions standards when considering the futureproofing of their new truck acquisitions – there are other standards to bear in mind. One such example is the direct vision standards required by Transport for London which requires a minimum of three stars to operate in the area.
In light of this, the purchase of ten new Volvo FM 6×2 tractor units that have just been delivered into A.F. Blakemore & Son’s food distribution fleet, appears futureproof, as they each meet Transport for London’s three-star Direct Vision Standard (DVS) rating.
The 44-tonne FMs will work predominantly on the business’ contract delivering ambient, fresh and frozen goods to the supermarket chain Spar. Supplied by Hartshorne Group, the FMs are powered by Volvo’s proven D11K Euro-6 engine, delivering 460 hp and 2,200 Nm of torque.
Dave Higgs, Logistics Compliance Manager at A.F. Blakemore & Son, says: “We have a long and successful relationship with Volvo and the team at Hartshorne. It’s a product that we trust and have a lot of faith in. These new FMs are superb trucks – ideal for our distribution work and they fit perfectly into our operation.”
A.F. Blakemore & Son has specified the 10 trucks with multiple cameras which can be viewed through the driver’s nine-inch side display, plus an added window in the passenger door to improve safety further and ensure they are 3-star DVS rated for working in central London. These complement the new cab’s raised A pillars, combined with a large windscreen, low door line and modern mirrors, which deliver excellent all-round visibility.
“We’ve gone for three-star compliant trucks as forward planning on our part because I believe the DVS scheme will be rolled out across more cities sooner rather than later,” says Higgs. “These vehicles are on a seven-year contract hire agreement, so we’re future-proofing our fleet.”
The Duty Cycle
Working in tandem with double deck urban trailers, the FMs are expected to clock-up around 120,000km per annum. Each new truck is backed with a seven-year Volvo Gold Contract, guaranteeing the best possible uptime – with servicing and maintenance work to be carried out by Hartshorne Group’s skilled mechanics at A.F. Blakemore & Son’s onsite Vehicle Maintenance Unit, at its Willenhall depot.
Fuel efficiency is boosted by Volvo’s Long Haul Fuel package, specifically designed for vehicles used on long distance missions and incorporating the latest generation I-See predictive cruise control as well as the 12-speed I-Shift automated transmission.
The FM cabs benefit from Volvo’s Drive and Single Bed Living Packages, and comfort is improved further with an adjustable steering wheel with neck tilt, DAB radio, air-suspended and heated seats, plus rear cab upper storage.
“The drivers are very happy,” adds Higgs. “The new trucks have a great cab, a great engine and a great gearbox, they just do the job really well. Overall, the FM has got all bases covered.”
Ian Middleton, Managing Director at Hartshorne Group, says: “As a long-standing and valued customer, we are delighted A.F. Blakemore & Son has chosen to place its trust in Hartshorne Group again for this latest order. In every aspect, the new FMs are the perfect choice for its busy distribution fleet.”
Family-owned owned food & drink retail, wholesale and distribution business A.F. Blakemore & Son was founded in 1917 and is based at Longacres Industrial Estate in Willenhall, West Midlands. Peter Blakemore is the third generation of the Blakemore family to lead the company, which currently employs roughly 7,800 people across eight separate divisions and has a turnover in the region of £1.2 billion.