Citing Volvo’s proven reliability as one of the main reasons, Palletforce member Sureway Express Transport of Bristol has taken delivery of the company’s first new Volvo trucks for five years. The four FH-500 6×2 tractor units were supplied by Truck and Bus Wales & West, Avonmouth. The trucks are double-shifted and work round the clock.

“We’re operating 24-hours per day so reliability is crucial. We need the right kit to achieve this and in the main this has been Volvo,” reports Sureway Express Transport Managing Director Rob Lloyd. “We had a break in 2011 and tried alternative trucks for a while, but nothing compared and now I am glad to be back with the iron mark on the grille. In retrospect, I wish we’d never changed away from Volvo. It’s not a mistake we’ll be rushing into again.”

In addition to reliability, Rob Lloyd also says that the driver training and general support provided by Truck and Bus Wales & West represent key differentiators that were pivotal in the company’s decision to return to Volvo, following a five year hiatus.

“Over the past 30-years we’ve grown our business from one man and a van,” says Rob Lloyd, “to a mixed fleet of 23 vehicles and this growth has been down to hard work and the company’s quality and reliability of service.”

The four new Volvo FH-500 6x2s are equipped with Globetrotter XL cabs, featuring leather upholstery, fridges and double bunks. “We provide general haulage services regionally and I am sure the higher specification will reflect in the residual values in due course.” Added Rob Lloyd.

Residual value is also the driver for the company’s choice to have the trucks ‘wrapped’ in the corporate colour scheme by Avonmouth Signs of Bristol, rather than painted.

“We have these trucks on three-year contract hire with Truck and Bus Wales & West,” says Rob. “I think trucks are so technically advanced these days that contract hire gives us absolute peace of mind – We have a fixed cost over three years, so know exactly where we stand. There’s no nasty surprises lurking at any point.”

While the trucks are double shifted, day and night time duties are distinctly different. “Night times are pretty much all about Palletforce,” explains Rob. “We have several trucks that take full loads up to Burton-Upon-Trent and then return with full loads. For this we use SDC double-deck curtain side trailers, while in the day time the trucks generally haul standard height, single-deck curtainsiders within a 150-mile radius of base.”

With fuel costs rising, Rob is looking forwards to monitoring the consumption of the new Volvo tractor units. “Our drivers have just had the Volvo driver training and they were unanimous in their verdict,” says Rob. “They couldn’t speak highly enough of the trainer and what they learned in terms of getting the most from the new trucks. From my perspective, I think this training is invaluable and I genuinely look forward to seeing how it impacts on our fuel returns. I’m confident I’ll be pleasantly surprised.”