West Pennie Oswestry win Scania Service Team Award 2023

Oswestry win Scania Service Team Award 2023

West Pennine Trucks Oswestry have been declared the winners of the 2023 Scania UK Service Team Awards (STA).

The announcement was made at a black tie event at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, recognising excellence and consistency across the Scania UK network.

It’s the first time the Oswestry branch has won the prestigious competition that is focused on a number of key customer focused metrics, making it a particularly impressive achievement.

Darren Counsell, Branch Manager Oswestry said, “I’m absolutely delighted to finish top of the table in 2023. It’s our first time winning the competition and just shows how hard the team at Oswestry have worked. It’s an award for all members of the team across service, costing, parts and the workshop, recognising the continuing efforts that the team put in day to day to focus on our customers.”

Oswestry finishing first wasn’t the only success West Pennine Trucks had in STA 2023. Stoke finished a very close second, Trafford (5th), Middleton (6th), Telford (9th) and Knighton (11th). That resulted in West Pennine Trucks finishing with the highest STA average score in the Scania UK network as all 6 depots finished in the top 11 out of 84 branches.

Richard Gilliland, Aftersales Director said, “What is particularly pleasing about the 2023 results is the level of consistency the teams across the West Pennine Trucks network have shown. Oswestry winning in 2023 follows Trafford Park winning in 2022, so we’ve had back-to-back winners which highlights the focus we place on our customers irrelevant of location.

Gilliland continued, “For our other five depots to finish in the top 11 in 2023 shows that we are aiming to deliver the best service possible and that we take pride in what we do. A lot of hard work and analysis takes place throughout the year to continually improve so to finish 2023 with this result makes me incredibly proud.”

West Pennine Trucks will continue to strive to improve in customer focused metrics and make sure they deliver the best possible service to our customers across Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Mid-Wales.


Sapphire helps Sunswap’s maintenance service to shine

Sapphire Vehicle Services has been announced as the new maintenance provider to innovative solar-powered transport refrigeration unit manufacturer Sunswap.

With more than 15 years of experience maintaining thousands of vehicles, and a roster of over 200 highly skilled technicians, Sapphire offers industry-leading expertise that will ensure Sunswap customers receive best-in-class service.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sapphire will provide Sunswap’s regional aftermarket service across the East of England, from its extensive vehicle maintenance unit and mobile service network.

As an F-Gas-accredited and SafeContractor-certified supplier, Sapphire is ideally equipped to service Sunswap’s cutting-edge electric transport fridges, trailers and integrated solar arrays. Sapphire will provide a one-stop shop service allowing Sunswap’s solar panel-topped trailers and Endurance TRUs to be serviced in one go. This streamlined approach will help to get vehicles back on the road faster and reduce downtime.

Sapphire will also manage Sunswap’s stock logistics, which involves transporting parts to help maintenance run smoothly, thereby maximising the uptime of Sunswap’s transport fridges.

Further to this, Sapphire will assist with Sunswap’s busy trial service for prospective customers, maintaining demo units and moving Sunswap trailers between fleets.

Sunswap Head of Aftermarket Ashkan Zadeh said the partnership would strengthen nationwide aftermarket coverage and ensuring customers have access to expert service across the UK.

“It’s brilliant to have Sapphire as a key maintenance service provider, they have a highly technical team with a focus on quality and customer satisfaction, which will ensure we keep our customers on the road throughout the year,” he said.

Sapphire’s Group Commercial Manager Grant Tadman added: “We are proud and excited to be working with Sunswap. It’s great to know that our technicians are supporting clean technology that decarbonises the cold chain, and subsequently helps to move the logistics industry forward.


Mercedes-Benz Actros L hits the back of the net for Mark Harrod Ltd

Mercedes-Benz Actros L hits the back of the net for Mark Harrod Ltd

Sports equipment supplier Mark Harrod Ltd is in the business of moving the goalposts but one thing remains constant – its goods are delivered in Mercedes-Benz trucks.

Now the Stafford-based operator has added a new star player to its line-up, in the shape of a stunning silver Mercedes-Benz Actros L 18-tonne curtainsider.

The 1833 model was supplied to Mark Harrod Ltd by Dealer Midlands Truck & Van. It has a luxuriously equipped BigSpace cab and is powered by a 240 kW (326 hp) 10.7-litre engine. Its body was fabricated by Commercial Body Specialists, of Stoke-on-Trent.

It joins a small fleet that also includes another Actros 18-tonne curtainsider, a pair of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis cabs with platform bodies and three Sprinter vans.

“The new truck has taken its place at the head of our transport operation,” said General Manager Mary Brandrick. “It’s a moving advert for our business as well as a very serious workhorse, and certainly looks the part.”

Mark Harrod Ltd manufactures a wide range of sports stadium equipment such as goal posts, team shelters and more, for disciplines including football, rugby, hockey and basketball. These are delivered to clients ranging from schools and grass-roots organisations to some of the biggest names in football’s Premier League.

“Our deliveries are what I would call ‘ugly freight’,” said Mary Brandrick. “They are irregular shapes and sizes, and need to be handled by people who know what they’re doing. This means using third-party hauliers isn’t really an option, so we prefer to run our own trucks.

“The new Actros is already our vehicle of choice for the biggest deliveries and longest runs – especially if that involves going into London or other cities with clean air zones, where its Euro VI emissions standard helps protect us against unnecessary charges.

“Distances vary but the truck can often be out for three days at a time, making a number of drops. We think it’s only fair to give our driver a comfortable living and working space, which is why we specified the Actros L BigSpace.”

Net gains: Mary Brandrick says the Actros L is a winner on all fronts
Point of view: Driver Michael Brandrick is impressed with the clear field of vision through his MirrorCam screens

The Executive Board of Ballyvesey Holdings Limited is pleased to announce three new senior appointments in the business portfolio…

The Executive Board of Ballyvesey Holdings Limited is pleased to announce three new senior appointments in the business portfolio:

Tristan Savage has been appointed Head of Truck and Trailer Rental

Jonathan Campbell has been appointed Head of Plant, Access & Construction Equipment, Ireland

Mark Kennedy has been appointed Head of Plant, Access & Construction Equipment, GB

These three business leaders bring with them a wealth of commercial experience in their chosen sectors, all proven performers focused on growth. Ballyvesey Holdings Limited is delighted to announce these appointments as we continue to invest and grow across all our industrial sectors. Their appointment will provide added leadership and initiative to the growth strategies already in place and develop and deliver new opportunities to the business model.

Left: Jonathan Campbell, Head of Plant, Access & Construction Equipment, Ireland. Right: Mark Kennedy, Head of Plant, Access & Construction Equipment, GB
Tristan Savage Head of Truck and Trailer Rental

Intercounty Truck & Van – New Dunstable Site coming soon

Intercounty Truck & Van are thrilled to announce that we now have secured our new Mercedes-Benz Van Truck and Coach location in Dunstable.

Coming soon to Dunstable…
Located just off J11a on the M1.

We will be moving out of our existing Toddington depot and hope to be moved and fully operational by the end of 2023.

This newly acquired site is currently undergoing an impressive refurbishment project and every detail will be considered in the fit-out program to allow for the very best working practices, with a clear focus on maximising energy efficiency with state of the art equipment and providing customers and colleagues with a fantastic facility.

Our new Dunstable site will enable us to accommodate larger volumes of work and meet our customers growing needs more efficiently and effectively, whilst continuing to service and maintain our customers vehicles to the highest standards for both diesel and electric vehicles.

As Dunstable comes on stream, we will be moving out of our existing Toddington depot. We hope to be moved and fully operational by the end of this year.

Due to the increased capacity of the new site we are now recruiting additional staff in all areas of the business. Visit our careers page for our latest vacancies >

Keep an eye out on our social channels to stay up to date with the exciting developments as our new Dunstable depot comes on line.


Sapphire saddles up with Yamaha World Superbikes partnership

Sapphire saddles up with Yamaha World Superbikes partnership

Sapphire Vehicle Services has entered the fast-moving business of high-octane motorsport, as Official Transport Partner to the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK race team.


As well as joining the team’s list of sponsors, the partnership sees leading independent vehicle maintenance specialist Sapphire looking after the team’s two Mercedes-Benz Actros 510hp 1851 Tractor units, and pair of custom-built trailers, which transport bikes, spare parts and much more to race meetings across Europe.


The trucks attend 10 of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) 12 race weekends in 2023 meets, the other two being ‘flyaways’ to Australia and Indonesia. One trailer carries four motorcycles – a race bike and a spare each for the team’s two riders, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Andrea Locatelli – as well as a full complement of parts and tools. The second houses a suite of offices for riders and staff as well the team’s remaining race operations equipment.


Sapphire Managing Director Perry Reeves said: “The World Superbike series offers some of the most competitive and best-supported racing on two wheels and as the manufacturer’s official team, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK is right at the centre of the action. 


“There are clear business advantages for Sapphire Vehicle Services in this partnership – we gain a great deal of exposure for our brand, with the Sapphire logo displayed on the trucks, official race machines, and from next year all team clothing, as well as VIP hospitality opportunities and the chance to network with other partners – but we’re also just very proud to play a role in this exciting journey.”


The alliance is a winner for Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK too. Sapphire was already providing maintenance services to the team’s transport operation but now the links between the two brands are strengthened still further.


Team Principal Paul Denning said: “Competing to win a World Championship means that there is no margin for error when it comes to our transport logistics across the race circuits of Europe – the bikes, parts and technical equipment simply have to be there on time.


“We have worked with Sapphire Vehicle Services for some years now, and are delighted to develop the relationship to the point where we can announce Sapphire as Yamaha WorldSBK’s Official Transport Partner. Sapphire ensures that our trucks and trailers are always perfectly prepared, and in the rare case where an unusual problem arises they are able to use their network of partners to get us up and running again very quickly – wherever we are.


“The level of professional service we receive is something for any business to aspire to, and we look forward to welcoming guests from Sapphire and the wider Ballyvesey Group to the excitement of the WorldSBK Championship over the next couple of race seasons.”


Sapphire calls out to technicians who want to learn and earn

On the road to success: Some of Sapphire Vehicle Services’ latest crop of technicians on their upskilling programme – from left, Ryan Jones, Jamie Hooton, Liam Fitzsimmons, Andrew Bellamy, and trainer Ross Oakes of Blyth Automotive

Sapphire calls out to technicians who want to learn and earn

Sapphire Vehicle Services is on the hunt for car mechanics or other keen candidates who have the drive and ambition to ‘think big’.

The fast-growing independent commercial repair specialist is inviting a new crop of applicants for its training programme to upskill people with relevant experience into qualified – and higher paid – truck technicians.

“This course is targeted at people with a strong foundation of relevant experience,” said Sapphire Training Manager Tony Hewins. “Most will already be working as car or van mechanics, although we’ll also consider people who might be working in related fields.

“We’re looking for a group of up to 12 candidates. We’ll take them on as full-time employees and provide them with a 12-month programme consisting of six blocks of classroom training, each a week long, interspersed with time back in the workshop where they can put their new skills to use in a real-life setting.

“At the end of the year we expect all to pass their IRTEC accreditations and become fully fledged heavy vehicle technicians, with a recognised professional qualification which typically comes with a higher rate of pay than car mechanics can earn.

“They’ll also be working for a successful, expanding business that values ongoing career development, so there’s a great deal of potential for further improvement. All they need is the determination to learn and succeed.”

Classroom training will take place at Sapphire’s Northampton depot and be delivered by partner Blyth Automotive. Sapphire operates workshops across country, though, so applications are invited from candidates based anywhere in the UK.

Each week-long block will focus on a different topic, starting with an Inspection & Maintenance module and continuing through Chassis, Electronics, Diagnostics and Transmission before a final Review of the entire course content.

Sapphire already runs a successful apprenticeship programme aimed at candidates entering the industry for the first time but the upskilling scheme runs alongside that. Its aim is to fast-track highly-trained commercial vehicle technicians – who are in short supply throughout the industry – into the company’s national network of workshops.

“We’re always on the lookout for competent and experienced truck technicians but there’s a shortage of qualified people across the country,” said Tony Hewins. “So we decided to be proactive and train our own.”

One of Britain’s most successful independent commercial vehicle aftersales providers, Sapphire Vehicle Services looks after upwards of 28,000 trucks and vans at its 16 workshops nationwide, for a client portfolio that includes some of the biggest names in the supermarket sector.

Anyone eager to join the programme should contact Sapphire’s Head of Talent Acquisition Gary Rogers, on 07590 984994 or , or Group Commercial Manager Grant Tadman on 07880 264909 or .


Third FUSO Canter gives Kingsbridge Auto Repair & Rescue fleet a lift

A surge in the number of camper vans and mobile homes on the roads of Devon meant contractor Kingsbridge Auto Repair & Rescue needed a new breakdown truck to keep holiday traffic moving – and a 7.5-tonne FUSO Canter was the natural choice.


The truck was supplied to the operator, which works from Halwell, near Kingsbridge, by Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van. As a 7C15D variant, it employs a 3.0-litre common-rail powerplant that generates a range-topping 110 kW (150 hp) and up to 370 Nm of torque. A newly developed, compact exhaust system means the model also meets the EURO VI – STEP E emission standard.

Double top:
Michael Saunders, left, and driver Nick Smith with their new seven-seater FUSO Canter breakdown truck


Kingsbridge Auto Repair & Rescue specified a factory-built double cab, with seating for a driver and up to six passengers. Specialist bodybuilder J&J Conversions fitted the chassis with Super Hawk Underlift equipment, including a ‘spectacle’ lift with 2.5-tonne capacity and bodywork with secure lockers for tools and protective clothing.

“We cover a busy area of South Devon, including Torquay, the South Hams and Dartmoor,” said proprietor Michael Saunders. “In summer, especially, the local roads can be extremely busy with holiday traffic – and these days, an increasing number of those vehicles are vans.

“The 7.5-tonne Canter has the capacity to lift a camper, a large SUV or a heavy electric or hybrid vehicle, with ease, and there’s room in the cab for all passengers to be seated safely. We have a sub-frame which means we can recover motorbikes, and ‘dolly’ wheels to enable a full lift of a 4×4, too. It’s a bit of a ‘Swiss Army Knife’, and very well suited to our requirements – big and powerful enough to do the job but with relatively compact exterior dimensions, for a 7.5-tonner, so it’s easier to manoeuvre down narrow lanes.”

He continued: “The first requirement of a breakdown truck is that it should be reliable – you don’t want to break down yourself, when you’re supposed to be rescuing a stranded motorist. This is our third Canter so we know from experience that they are very robust and well-built.

“Intercounty Truck & Van have looked after us well too. Like our last new vehicle this Canter was supplied by Sales Executive Matteo Mirabile, and once again he handled our order very professionally. The truck was delivered on time and in perfect condition, and we’re delighted with our choice.”

Established in 2003, Kingsbridge Auto Repair & Rescue provides a range of garage services to local motorists, alongside its breakdown business – these include servicing, MoT testing, engine diagnostics, wheel alignment and gearbox repairs. As well as its new truck the company runs two other FUSO Canters and a larger recovery truck with platform body capable of carrying two cars.

“Like any small local business we rely on repeat business and word-of-mouth to stay successful,” said Mr Saunders. “We’ve worked hard to build a reputation based on honesty and customer care, and our dependable breakdown service shares those same values.”




Boston-Based Mercedes-Benz Franchise Intercounty Truck & Van Achieves 40% Productivity Gains thanks to Voice-Directed Maintenance & Inspection Solution from Dakota & Truckfile.

Boston-Based Mercedes-Benz Franchise Intercounty Truck & Van Achieves 40% Productivity Gains thanks to Voice-Directed Maintenance & Inspection Solution from Dakota & Truckfile.

With a company-wide ethos that ‘even the best trucks and vans are only as good as the support behind them,’ the business recognises that the standard of service which it offers its valued customer base is fundamental to growth, success and nurturing ongoing client relationships.

When Intercounty’s Boston Depot wanted to improve upon its productivity levels due to an ongoing increase in demand, they looked to technology to improve efficiency, accuracy levels and vehicle inspection processes in order to uphold its service provision in light of an ever-growing workload.

The Problem

Tasked with servicing around fifty trucks and vans on a daily basis, Intercounty’s Boston Depot previously used a tablet system to record data taken during its maintenance and inspection processes.

Steve Sargeant, Depot Manager at Intercounty Boston explains:

“Whilst the old system of using a tablet worked in terms of recording data taken during a vehicle inspection, the process was not one hundred percent efficient, as the flow of data and information was disjointed.

Our technicians had to continually pause from the inspection process to record the necessary information on the tablet, so standard inspections would take anything up to two hours each. With more and more vehicles coming through the door, it was a necessity for us that we looked at an alternative method to complete these inspections more quickly, whilst adhering to strict industry standards for vehicle compliance. And then of course there was the issue with potential human error, illegible writing and lost paperwork and devices, so we recognised that the whole process needed a complete overhaul.”


As a long-standing customer of Truckfile, having used its Workshop Software for a number of years, Intercounty Boston knew that Truckfile’s system was constantly evolving and using cutting-edge technology to improve system processes whilst reducing maintenance costs and downtime, so with that in mind, Intercounty Boston turned to Truckfile for assistance in helping to reinvigorate its maintenance and inspection processes.

Paul Whittingham, Managing Director at Truckfile explains, “Having worked with Intercounty Boston for some time, their request was extremely timely, as we had just launched our voice-enabled solution in conjunction with our partners Dakota, so we were keen to offer this new system to help improve Intercounty Boston’s inspection procedures and drive efficiency improvements across their maintenance and inspection processes. Having worked in partnership with Dakota for three years to bring this solution to market, we were confident that collectively we could deliver the gains and improvements that Intercounty Group were looking for.”

The Solution

Truckfile’s partnership with Dakota has enabled its industry-leading Workshop Management Software Application to become voice-enabled, allowing for the smooth transfer of data taken during vehicle inspections thanks to the real-time upload of information onto the host system over a WiFi network.

Philip Jarrett, Commercial Director at Dakota explains, “Voice-directed data capture solutions are fast becoming a popular choice within a variety of maintenance and inspection environments, particularly within industries such as truck and fleet, rail, automotive, manufacturing and aerospace, enabling businesses to run a better and more compliant business with voice. For many commercial entities, the documentation of maintenance and inspection processes is inefficient, with technicians having to enter their observations and findings as a separate process from the actual inspection procedure itself, leading to potential human error and discrepancies in vehicle compliance.”

With voice-directed maintenance and inspection solutions, prompts are delivered and operator responses are provided through the spoken word. Operators use a compact, wearable computer with a headset to receive instructions by voice. The computer is connected to the host system over a wireless network, so operators are able to communicate directly with the host system to confirm his or her actions verbally back to the system in real time, whilst working hands and eyes free.

Jarrett continues,In addition to a smooth flow of data and information, the ‘hands and eyes free’ benefit of our voice-directed solution means that operatives are able to work on vehicles much more safely, as both of their hands are free to use whilst conducting an inspection. This helps to ensure that all operatives remain safe while performing their day-to-day tasks. It also helps to immeasurably speed up the entire process, leading to massive productivity and efficiency gains.”

The Result

The results of the new system have been far-reaching, with Intercounty Boston recording a staggering forty percent increase in productivity.

Sargeant explains, “Vehicle inspections are now taking ninety minutes instead of two hours, so our productivity and efficiency has gone through the roof. We had initially hoped for a ten percent increase in productivity, but the reality of the solution has far exceeded our expectations. The system has basically paid for itself in under two months. All of our inspection data is now instantly uploaded and available on our Truckfile Workshop System for our customers to see, meaning that every vehicle leaving our depot is equipped with a fully compliant inspection sheet. Our technicians love the new voice solution and would never go back to how we were working previously. The depot is now functioning much more smoothly and efficiently than ever before. Voice has completely revolutionised our business, so I would encourage anyone working in the maintenance and inspection space to seriously consider implementing a voice-directed solution. Both Dakota and Truckfile have been phenomenal; they have supported us every step of the way and have been a pleasure to work alongside. We are very much looking forward to expanding the solution in the future, and we look forward to both companies being a part of this expansion and growth.”

Video Case Study

Voice-Enabling Maintenance & Inspection Processes at Intercounty Boston Mercedes-Benz with Truckfile & Dakota Voice


Volta Trucks appoints Sapphire Vehicle Services as its UK Certified Service Partner

Volta Trucks confirms Certified Service Partner for the UK.

Certified Service Partner to complement Volta Trucks’ own Hub in Tottenham, London, to provide comprehensive geographic Service and Maintenance coverage.

Sapphire Vehicle Services joins Top Truck which has been recently announced as the Certified Service Partner for France, Spain and Italy.

Volta Trucks, the leading and disruptive all-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider, has announced the appointment of Sapphire Vehicle Services as its first Certified Service Partner for the UK.

Sapphire Vehicle Services has industry-leading experience in the UK commercial fleet management sector and will provide vehicle maintenance solutions, designed around Volta Trucks customers’ requirements. Sapphire Vehicle Solutions has 16 Institute of Road Transport (IRTE) accredited service and maintenance facilities spread across the UK, from Scotland to the South Coast, along with mobile servicing units linked to each location. Their network will provide the optimum service to Volta Trucks customers and maximise vehicle uptime with a 24/7/365 operation. Along with experienced and knowledgeable electric vehicle trained technicians, specialists will also undergo extensive and ongoing training on Volta Zero vehicles, provided by the Volta Trucks Academy within the Hub in Tottenham, London.

As the Certified Service Partner, Sapphire Vehicle Services will complement the Volta Trucks Hub location in Tottenham, London, and will play a major role in the Volta Trucks’ Truck as a Service (TaaS) offering. Designed as a frictionless way to migrate fleets of all sizes to electric, maximising their uptime and operational efficiency, the TaaS proposition revolutionises the ownership, servicing, financing, and management of commercial vehicle fleets.

We are delighted to announce Sapphire Vehicle Services as our Certified Service Partner for the UK. Certified Service Partners are an integral part of our strategy for vehicle care, further supporting operations in cities and urban environments outside the vicinity of our Truck as a Service Hub locations. Servicing and maintenance is a cornerstone of the TaaS proposition, so with our Hub locations and Certified Service Partners working together, we’re providing customers with a comprehensive solution and ongoing confidence in the uptime of their Volta Zero.”​

“We are delighted to be appointed as a certified service partner for the UK and looking forward to developing the relationship in the future. Having already invested heavily in training, tooling, and charging infrastructure over the last two years we are excited at the prospect of working closely with our colleagues at Volta Trucks to develop the business and support customers across the UK. Having driven and experienced the Volta Zero and seen first-hand the extremely high level of support and staff already in place there we are confident this will be an industry leading solution for all operators in this marketplace.”​

About the Volta Zero

 The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built all-electric 16-tonne vehicle designed for urban logistics, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in city centres. The Volta Zero is designed from the ground up with an operating pure-electric range of 150 – 200 kms (95 – 125 miles).

Safety is also at the heart of Volta Trucks, with the ambition to produce the safest trucks for our cities. The Volta Zero was designed for electric from the outset, which facilitates a step-change in vehicle, driver and pedestrian safety. Thanks to the removal of the internal combustion engine, the operator of a Volta Zero sits in a central driving position, with a much lower seat height than a conventional truck. This combination, plus a glass house-style cab design, gives the driver a wide 220-degrees of visibility, minimising dangerous blind spots.

Volta Trucks is also innovating with its Truck as a Service proposition that is revolutionising the financing and servicing of commercial vehicle fleets. Truck as a Service offers fleet managers a frictionless and hassle-free way to electrify their fleet and helps them with every step by offering a single, affordable, monthly fee that provides access to an all-electric Volta Zero, and all its charging infrastructure, servicing, maintenance, insurance, and training requirements, maximising uptime and operational efficiency.

About Volta Trucks

Volta Trucks was founded in 2019 in Sweden by co-founders Carl-Magnus Norden and Kjell Waloen. The company, focused primarily on operations across all major cities in Europe and the UK, aims to accelerate the transition to fully electric trucks, reducing the effects of climate change and helping make our cities safer, healthier and more sustainable for everyone. Volta Trucks is partnering with a number of global leaders in the supply chain for the development and production of the Volta Zero, at pace and scale. In total, Volta Trucks has raised over €360 million funding to date.

The company’s contract manufacturing facility is in Steyr, Austria, where production of customer specification vehicles is starting in early Q2 2023. The company has also established a network of ‘Volta Trucks Hub’ service and maintenance facilities in its launch markets, with the first four already announced in Bonneuil-sur-Marne, to the south of Paris, in Tottenham, London, Duisberg, to the west of the Rhine-Ruhr region in Germany, and in Madrid, Spain.


Intercounty Truck & Van win Team of the Year award at the Commercial Motor Awards 2022!

Intercounty Truck & Van win Team of the Year award at the Commercial Motor Awards 2022!

On Thursday 08th December 2022, Intercounty Truck & Van were awarded ‘Team of the Year’ at Commercial Motor’s Road Transport Ball held at The Vox, Birmingham.

The Road Transport Ball, which combines the Commercial Motor Awards, the Thompsons Tipper Awards and the British Truck Racing Championship Awards celebrates the strength and excellence of teams working in the road transport industry.

Looking Glamorous: On the night, Demi Chapman (Left ) - Truck Bookings and Sharon Hurst (Right ) - Retail Van Bookings collected the award of behalf of the Central Bookings Team at Intercounty Truck & Van

The Team of the Year awards, sponsored by Asset Alliance Group, rewards exceptional teams who have been able to demonstrate consistent service levels to their customers in the past 12 months.

To be shortlisted for this award, the judges looked for evidence of establishing long-term customer relationships and genuine teamwork, tailored packages and services to support customers and innovative initiatives that help improve the road transport industry and the operations of customers.

The judging process was then opened up to Commercial Motor readers and businesses to vote and decide who the winner will be.

On the night, host Justin Moorhouse announced:

“Changes to the way they handle customer bookings with a new centralised service, has improved performance and allowed them to provide even better and more consistence customer service for their aftersales customers. This team has built great relationships and trust with their customers with their efficient and seamless professional experience”

Kim Horsman, Head of Marketing and Central Service at Intercounty Truck & Van has said “So proud of the team and how far they’ve come! We’ve met plenty of obstacles along the way since bringing our Truck and Van service bookings centrally, but consistency and customer service focus has been the key.”


Sapphire technicians join the heavy mob thanks to skills conversion programme

Sapphire technicians join the heavy mob thanks to skills conversion programme

Independent commercial repair specialist Sapphire Vehicle Services has hit on an innovative answer to the difficulty of recruiting qualified truck maintenance specialists – by launching a course to give car and van technicians the skills they need to look after HGVs.

The company’s first intake of six candidates are nearing the end of their training and, says Group Operations Manager Dave Williams, plans are already in place to repeat the exercise.

“We’re always on the lookout for competent and experienced truck technicians but there’s a shortage of qualified people across the country,” said Dave. “So we decided to be proactive and train our own.”

Sapphire already runs a successful apprenticeship programme aimed at candidates entering the industry for the first time but the new scheme runs alongside that and aims to provide a quicker fix.

“We’re taking car and van technicians who are already level-three qualified, and giving them an intensive, one-year course to equip them with the specialised knowledge and skills to work on heavy vehicles,” Dave explained.

The six started their training in February, and will complete six one-week blocks across a 12-month period before a final assessment. All are working full-time in Sapphire workshops across the country – in Bedford, Dartford, Northampton, and East Kilbride in Scotland – and hopes are high that every one of the six will pass with flying colours

One of two trainee technicians based at Sapphire’s Northampton depot is 31-year-old Isaac Adusei, who has eight years’ experience working on cars and vans.

“I’ve always been interested in developing my skill set and learning more about different vehicle classes, so the opportunity to join this programme was certainly attractive,” he said. “Since joining I’ve already achieved my BPW Axles certification and am keen to carry on my training, even after this course is finished.

“I’ve also been really impressed with the set-up at Sapphire, where there is a very positive emphasis on staff development. I’ve been supported all the way, with mentoring from Depot Manager Garry Craddock and colleagues, and am looking forward to becoming a fully qualified member of the team.”

Dave Williams added: “Isaac and fellow Northampton trainee Tom Saunders have really grasped the opportunity we’ve given them – but so have all six of the guys we recruited for this initiative. We’ll continue to look for imaginative ways to boost our staff with top-quality people but the upskilling programme has certainly been a success.”

One of Britain’s most successful independent commercial vehicle aftersales providers, Sapphire Vehicle Services looks after upwards of 28,000 trucks and vans at its 19 workshops nationwide, for a client portfolio that includes some of the biggest names in the supermarket sector.

Earlier this year auditors from the British Assessment Bureau declaring themselves happy with the Sapphire’s “inspirational leadership” and high level of “staff engagement”, when awarding the coveted ISO9001:2015 certificate in recognition of the company’s commitment to quality management, to cover the head office in Appleby Magna, Derbyshire, and all 14 workshops around the UK.

Looking up: Truck training is a positive career move for Isaac Adusei, right, with mentor Garry Craddock
Deeper understanding: Isaac Adusei, centre, demonstrates his knowledge to trainers Tony Hewins, right, and Garry Craddock

Sapphire’s 14-bay Basingstoke workshop promises sparkling back-up

Sapphire’s 14-bay Basingstoke workshop promises sparkling back-up

Independent repair specialist Sapphire Vehicle Services can now offer truck operators in and around north Hampshire support so good, it’s approved by not one but two leading manufacturers.

Sapphire’s Basingstoke depot is set up to look after trucks, trailers and vans of all makes – but has also won recognition as an authorised repairer of both Isuzu and Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

One of Britain’s most successful independent commercial vehicle aftersales providers, Sapphire Vehicle Services looks after upwards of 28,000 trucks and vans at its 19 workshops nationwide, for a client portfolio that includes some of the biggest names in the supermarket sector.

Sapphire took on the Basingstoke facility in 2018. Since then its team has been responsible for keeping vehicles including one customer’s fleet of more than 500 tractor units, rigid trucks and semi-trailers on the road and performing with optimum efficiency.

As an authorised repairer the facility is now able to work on Isuzu’s range of Grafter, N55-75 and F110-135 rigids, which span the range from 3.5 to 13.5 tonnes gvw, as well as Mercedes-Benz Actros, Arocs, Atego and Econic models, covered by the manufacturers’ contract maintenance plans – and can also undertake warranty repairs.

Ideally located on the site of Sainsbury’s Houndsmill Distribution Centre, a stone’s throw from the A339 Ringway and less than three miles from Junction 6 of the M3, Sapphire Vehicle Services’ Basingstoke operation is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The workshop is fully geared-up to maintain and repair semi-trailers as well as trucks. It has 14 bays, two with 35-metre pits and another with an 18-metre pit, and is comprehensively equipped with diagnostic and other tooling. Inspectors from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency carry out truck MOT Tests in its dedicated Authorised Testing Facility, while another lane is dedicated to calibrations and other work on tachographs.

The site also boasts its own bodyshop and holds extensive stocks of truck and trailer parts, while the customer reception and waiting area has been smartly refurbished. Further services available include tail lift repairs and LOLER inspections, 24-hour breakdown and recovery assistance, and access through other Sapphire group divisions to rental, contract hire and full fleet management packages.

Sapphire Vehicle Services is led by Managing Director Perry Reeves, a seasoned industry professional, but day-to-day running of the Basingstoke site is in the hands VMU Manager Steve Wright and Parts Manager Phil Savage.

Perry said: “We’d already brought in a new management team at Basingstoke before work on this project began 18 months ago. We’ve also spent in excess of £150,000 – and a lot of time and effort – to ensure the building is fully compliant with our authorised repairer status.

“Our aim at Sapphire Vehicles Services is to provide customers with exemplary standards of ‘one-stop shop’ aftersales support. The brand expertise that we have within the team at Basingstoke, coupled with the fact that we can undertake R&M contract and warranty work, means we’re now able to provide local operators with a truly comprehensive service in which they can have total confidence.”

For more information about what Sapphire vehicle services can offer contact the Basingstoke team on 01256 686048, or Service Manager Steve Wright on 07342 080364

Leading from the front: Sapphire Vehicle Services’ Basingstoke VMU Manager Steve Wright, right, is pictured with Grant Tadman, the company’s Regional Manager – South
At your service: Members of Sapphire Vehicle Services’ Basingstoke workshop team, from left, Mark Brooks, Ashley Vickers, Russell Taylor, Lee Treasurer and John Leigh

Montgomery Transport Group to attend Multimodal 2023

Montgomery Transport Group to attend Multimodal 2023

13 – 15 JUN 2023

Stand number: 2035

Montgomery Transport Group aims to be the preferred haulier of freight moving between UK and Ireland.

The Group comprises four divisions:

Montgomery Transport Ltd
Major UK & Ireland FTL operator with principle routes operating between the UK & Ireland from multiple sites.

Equipment Profile:

  • 135 tractor units
  • 580 ambient trailers including: 2.9m internal height curtain-siders & 3.1m internal height curtain-siders
  • Box vans

Market Segments:
Montgomery Transport operates largely in FMCG, retail / wholesale, manufacturing & construction offering a range of just-in-time services.

A large fleet size means capacity to cope with spikes in volume or demand and cater for companies requiring multiple trailers and seasonal volume on a daily basis year round. Utilisation of over 90% of available shipping routes to Ireland gives greater flexibility when restrictions are in place due to weather or other factors.

Montgomery Distribution Ltd
An extensive pallet & LTL distribution network throughout the UK & Ireland; operating from multiple depots around the UK means capacity to handle in excess of 1,500 consignments per day to the highest standard.

Four own operated distribution sites

  • Preston, Leeds, Rugby & Belfast

Five partner operated distribution sites

  • Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Nottingham & Glasgow

Member of Palletways

  • Montgomery Distribution cover three territories on behalf of Palletways: Manchester, Rugby/South Leicestershire and Northern Ireland
  • Palletways is the UK’s largest pallet network handling circa 22,000 pallets per night with a 25% market share in the UK
  • With a Pan-European Service offering Palletways provides regular connections to 20 European countries with a combined throughput of 40,000 pallets per night
  • Palletways services cover all UK & Ireland using market leading technology allowing real time track & trace of consignments

Montgomery Tank Services Ltd
Service Offering

  • Montgomery Tank Services help customers develop and maintain an efficient, best cost solution to serve supply chain for products that are transported in bulk tankers
  • Develop solutions long, medium and short-term for challenges in either dedicated or shared-user tankers

Sectors Served
Operating throughout the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, Montgomery Tank Services have a wide range of equipment serving the following markets in liquid and powder formats:

  • Food
  • Chemicals
  • Construction

Montgomery Freight Management Ltd
Worldwide operations of land, air and sea movements operating as a NVOCC allowing Montgomery Transport Group to service every customers entire scope of logistical requirements.

European Express Road Services

  • Dependability through regular short sea services
  • Flexibility through use of multiple European based asset operators

Ocean Freight

  • Multiple options for organisation of FCL & LCL Worldwide Ocean Freight movements
  • Choice of schedules, transit times and commercial operations as NVOCC

Air Freight

  • Experienced in specialised air freight movements
  • Adaptable service depending on customer requirements and airline routes

UK Domestic Freight Management

  • Internal UK Mainland full load management service of ad hoc FTLs through a range of reputable 3rd party hauliers