Miniclipper Logistics has taken delivery of two new DAF LF260 18-tonne diesel 4×2 curtainsiders as it continues to re-shape its 70-strong truck and trailer fleet for the future.

It is the first time the DAF brand has made it onto the solus MAN Miniclipper fleet but following an urgent need to grow its urban delivery fleet it took delivery of two trucks following a cancelled dealer order.

This delivery coincided with two MAN XXL 6×2 diesel tractor units (one 440 and one 470) and two Lawrence David double deck trailers joining Miniclipper as it continues to re-focus its truck and trailer fleet on reducing emissions and improving utilisation.

“We have seen a major growth in new contracts in the Home Counties and into London including a doubling of home deliveries which generally requires smaller trucks. We have used the vehicle and trailer shortage to evaluate what the next level of fleet investment we might need to be to accommodate this new workload,” explained Lee Atterbury, Miniclipper’s new transport operations director.

“This includes starting to evaluate vehicle and routes more carefully to understand how electric trucks might work for us. We have also had initial conversations about a hybrid electric/hydrogen approach.”

Its most recent evaluation is with a twin-axle urban trailer which enables Miniclipper to visit the same locations as an 18-tonner but with an extra six pallets on board.

Miniclipper has also equipped 24 of its trucks to meet Direct Vision standards, even though many don’t yet run into London. These have been welcomed by drivers as the rear facing camera and screen have improved extra visibility and resulted in fewer reversing bumps which should reduce insurance premiums.

“Drivers have been positive about the improved visibility provided by the reversing cameras and screens, particularly on home delivery jobs which have risen from 9% to 20% of our transport work. Home deliveries often mean restricted access and drivers find themselves better equipped to tackle these challenges with Direct Vision kit fitted to the trucks,” explained Atterbury.

“Our fleet has grown by 18% in the past year, but our accidents have been reduced by 50%. Our bumper-to-bumper accidents have reduced from 14 to seven, so we are expecting to see a fall in our insurance premiums as a result,” he added.

Miniclipper has also equipped its eight 7.5 tonners with 1,300kg motorised pallet trucks to help its drivers make deliveries to private houses easier and avoiding injury.

Miniclipper is already participating in DfT trials of extra length double deck trailers with three on the fleet so far which saves one full trailer load per night trunking to its Midlands hub. This has reduced fleet mileage by around 60,000 miles per annum. Moving to its new Dunstable transport operation in June 2021 has also reduced night trunking emissions. By the end of 2022 it will have saved 58,950 tonnes of CO2.

“It’s an exciting time to be in transport with lots of new challenges and new technologies being introduced to help overcome them. It is a perfect time for us to take a step back and make the fleet as efficient and sustainable as possible for the future,” said Atterbury.