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Waterline of Newport Pagnell has taken delivery of fifteen 12-tonne Volvo FL 4×2 rigids from Volvo Truck and Bus Centre London, Milton Keynes.

The vehicles are the company’s first Volvo trucks and are being used for the nationwide distribution of kitchen components from worktops and units to appliances and even lighting.

Group Logistics Manager, Matt Elborough says: “Driver and road-user safety, environmental impact, fuel economy, driver comfort, reliability, usability and network support were all identified as prerequisites when it came to renewing what is essentially over one third of our entire 40-strong fleet of trucks and vans.”

“In choosing the new trucks we started with a blank sheet and looked at all the options. Through this exhaustive process it was the Volvo FL that stood out as the only truck that met all of the criteria we’d defined at the outset. Needless to say, I think the Volvo iron mark on the front also does wonders for our corporate image, which is an added bonus,” he adds.

For overnight accommodation the new trucks’ day cabs are fitted with Super Sky Cab conversions by Hatcher Components of Framlingham, Suffolk and bodywork is in the form of ‘Cheetah’ fast back bodies from Cartwright Group of Altrincham for enhanced aerodynamic performance.

“We take the environment extremely seriously,” explains Matt. “Everything about these new trucks, from the fuel saving curved roof through the highly responsive and effective 6-speed overdrive I-Sync automated mechanical gearbox to the high torque at low revs 210hp engines is about efficiency and limiting our impact on the environment. This attention to detail has already been borne out in fuel figures that show we’re returning over 16mpg. This has really impressed.”

Running a low chassis frame height of 850mm above ground and with two bag rear air suspension, the new Volvo FLs have been specified with safety and comfort very much in mind. “The Hatcher conversion is the most comfortable for our drivers,” says Matt, adding, “Air suspended and heated driver seats with additional lumbar support continue that comfort theme into the cab and our drivers appreciate it. I am positive this investment has boosted their morale.”

When it comes to safety the new Volvo FLs are bristling with features and technology designed to put well-being to the fore. ”Driver safety is massively important to us as is that of vulnerable road users,” says Matt. To these ends, the new trucks are specified to FORS and CLOCS standards and include forward, rear and nearside facing cameras. Additionally, we have supplementary lights fitted in the steps on the driver’s side as well as additional lighting at the top of the box body to illuminate the loading area plus a Dhollandia tuck-away tail-lift. Furthermore, the box has been specifically tailored to precisely meet our needs in respect of safe loading and fixing.”

Dealer support from Volvo Truck and Bus Centre London at Tongwell in Milton Keynes has been pivotal in the realisation of the fleet renewal. ”The service from Tongwell has been excellent,” states Matt. ”The dealership really looked after our earlier non-Volvo trucks and I was keen to continue this relationship. Furthermore, when it came to specifying these new Volvo FLs, the dealer really helped us to arrive at something that is ideal for our needs. And with a 3-year Gold Repair & Maintenance contract I have confidence for the future.”