Sapphire rolls on in joint venture with BPW

Independent truck and van repairer Sapphire Vehicle Services has joined forces with renowned axle manufacturer BPW to offer a streamlined, ‘one-stop shop’ service.

Sapphire is one of Britain’s most successful independent commercial vehicle repairers. BPW Ltd is the UK division of Europe’s leading trailer axle and suspension manufacturer. By working together, the two companies aim to reduce costly downtime and ease maintenance headaches for their customers.

As an accredited BPW Maintenance Provider and Service Station, Sapphire is committed to meeting strict standards. Its workshops must be equipped with special BPW diagnostic and maintenance tools, and hold comprehensive stocks of spare parts, while technicians undergo product-specific training. Regular audits are carried out to ensure customer service levels are kept uniformly high.

“The arrangement makes perfect sense,” said Sapphire’s Group Operations Manager, Dave Williams. “Our national network of dedicated vehicle maintenance units, and the new all-makes workshops that we’re now opening to all operators, already deal with trailers running on BPW equipment on a daily basis – approximately half of all the work we do is on trailers, and nearly all of those are fitted with BPW components.

“By entering a formal partnership we can now work together even more closely to offer a seamless service to those customers, to help get their vehicles through our workshops and back onto the road, where they earn their keep, as quickly as possible. For example, before gaining this accreditation any warranty issues would have to be sent out to an approved service agent – now, in most cases, we can deal with those in-house.”

The arrangement covers all 19 of Sapphire’s sites across the UK – every one of which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – as well as the mobile service vans which are based at each location. These now have the BPW Authorised Repairer logo added to their liveries, to reflect the partnership between the two brands.

“These vans, and Sapphire’s workshop technicians, will be the visible face of BPW Customer Services for many operators who use our axles and components,” said Michael Stayman, BPS National Maintenance Network and Fleet Sales Manager. “We already know that Sapphire provides extremely high service levels – they were comfortably ahead of the minimum standard required before we started this process. With the parts stocks and extra product expertise that we have added to the mix, customers can be assured they’ll be very well looked after.”

Working together: Dave Williams, left, and Michael Stayman
Customer service: A technician in Sapphire Vehicle Services’ Tamworth workshop checks a BPW axle

Sapphire gives operators a helping hand with new fleet management service

Sapphire Vehicle Services – already one of Britain’s most successful independent commercial vehicle repairers – has extended the range of solutions it offers to customers by launching a fleet management division.

Sapphire Fleet Services is the Derbyshire-based group’s newest brand, designed to take away the headaches of running delivery vehicles and allow operators to concentrate on what they do best.

“For many companies, owning and operating a fleet is not their core business,” explains Sapphire’s Head of Fleet Services, Paul West.

“Those who make or build products need to get their goods to their customers, for example – but their expertise tends to be in manufacturing not distribution.

“By allowing Sapphire Fleet Services to take over the management of their entire delivery operation, they can rest easy in the knowledge that not only are their vehicles being deployed with optimum efficiency and safety, they are also guaranteed to be legally compliant.”

The idea for a fleet management service came about after Sapphire was approached by one of its existing customers – which runs a line-up of trucks to provide traffic management and other services to utility contractors.

“We were already looking after the repair and maintenance of the vehicles, but the customer asked whether we would consider taking over management of its fleet,” says Paul. “With our expertise, experience and national network of facilities, it was clear we were ideally positioned to offer a high-quality, cost-effective and hassle-free solution not just to this business but to others too.”

Other customers quickly came on board and Sapphire is now in discussion with more operators – and offering its fleet management services to others.

“Every customer is different and their needs vary from case to case,” says Paul. “The Sapphire advantage is that we are big enough to take on the management of any fleet, but small enough to offer packages tailored to the individual needs of each particular operation.”

Sapphire Fleet Services can take over responsibility for maintaining trucks or vans of any size, configuration or brand, including all service planning and MOT scheduling, vehicle inspections and DVSA tests, as well as looking after account management, reporting of Key Performance Indicators, Road Fund Licence renewals, and even taking on existing drivers and support staff via TUPE – Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) – regulations.

Sapphire Vehicle Services is already a familiar name to many of the UK’s leading transport operators – it maintains upwards of 28,000 trucks and vans for its clients, in dedicated Vehicle Maintenance Units and independent all-makes workshops across the country. These offer inspection, maintenance and repair of all trucks, vans and trailers, including MoT preparation, and have mobile service vans equipped to undertake roadside repairs as well as technicians specifically trained to work on electric vehicles. All are open 24 hours a day.

Through its parent company, Northern Ireland-based Ballyvesey Holdings, Sapphire can also provide customers with vehicles on contract hire, lease or spot rental, as well as vehicle disposal services.

“There are literally tens of thousands of trucks and vans out on the roads, which are kept running smoothly by Sapphire workshops,” asserts Paul. “So even customers who have never heard of us can have complete confidence in our exemplary standards of support.

“By adding a full fleet management service to the packages we offer, Sapphire is becoming a true one-stop shop for everything truck and van operators need.”

Sapphire Vehicle Services operates 19 busy and successful vehicle maintenance units across Britain. Other divisions of parent company Ballyvesey Holdings work across related sectors including transport and logistics, truck sales and aftersales support, trailer manufacturing, transport industry services, construction equipment sales and property development.

At your service: Paul West, second left, with (from left) colleagues Dean Woods, Aaron Sherman and Ian Evans
Happy to help: Head of Fleet Services Paul West

Two more Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks keep Formula One in pole position

Two more Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks keep Formula One in pole position

The Formula One Group knows a winner when it sees one – which explains why the West Midlands-based fabricator and installer of premium-quality UPVC windows, doors and conservatories has been relying on Mercedes-Benz trucks since it began trading 24 years ago.

The recent arrivals of another couple mean it now runs a fleet of five eye-catching Atego 7.5-tonners, all of which were supplied by Midlands Truck & Van.

The Formula One Group commenced manufacturing operations in 1998, at the head office in Walsall that it still shares with associate business Rapid Frame. From the outset, Formula One sold its products nationwide on a supply-only basis. However, since opening a retail branch in Telford in 2009 it has also carried out installations at more than 2,500 homes across Shropshire and the West Midlands.

The company’s latest Atego are both 818 variants with 5.1-litre four-cylinder engines that produce 130 kW (177 hp) and drive through six-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated manual transmissions.

Their ClassicSpace S-cabs have optional ventilated driver’s suspension seats with integral armrests and were smartly finished at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Deep Black. Likewise the trucks’ roof-mounted air deflectors and box bodies, which are by Fred Smith & Sons, of West Bromwich.

Purpose-designed for light- and medium-duty distribution work, and construction applications, the Atego range from 7.5 to 16 tonnes GVW offers precise handling with exceptional ride comfort, and is renowned for its reliability and durability.

That reputation is certainly borne out by Formula One’s experience. Owner and Managing Director Martin Corcoran explained: “We take great pride in providing first class service and will always go the extra mile to ensure total customer satisfaction.

“It’s imperative to the success of our business that we honour the delivery commitments we make. We’ve always relied on the Atego because we know it won’t let us down. Ours average 75,000 miles a year but we still have a 2016-registered truck that’s now covered 1.2 million miles and continues to do a great job, day in, day out.”

Mr Corcoran continued: “In addition to its fantastic build quality the Atego is very smooth and comfortable, which is crucial given the distances our drivers have to cover. It’s also fuel-efficient, cost-effective to operate and, being a Mercedes-Benz, the safest vehicle in its weight class.”

Image is key to the Atego’s appeal as well. “The three-pointed star is an internationally recognised symbol of quality,” said Mr Corcoran. “As such, it complements our own brand values perfectly. Just like our Mercedes-Benz trucks, superior design, technical excellence, reliability and durability are all hallmarks of the Formula One Range™.”

Completing the picture for the Formula One Group is the customer-focused aftersales support it receives from the workshop team at the branch in Smethwick that Midlands Truck & Van opened at the end of 2020. “The Dealer is excellent in its response to any issues that crop up,” added Mr Corcoran.

Advancing with Atego: Formula One Group Managing Director Martin Corcoran and Sales & Marketing Manager Annabel Russell know they can rely on their Mercedes-Benz trucks

Montracon provide 3 brand new curtainsiders for Simpsons Premium Ltd

Montracon provide 3 brand new curtainsiders for Simpsons Premium Ltd, as always manufactured with quality, strength and longevity built-in.

Montracon curtainsiders are now part of the Simpsons Premium Ltd fleet. Initially providing three brand new curtainsiders, Simpsons have committed to ordering more of the same from Montracon. Craig from Simpsons has working hand in hand with our area sales manager Bob Acton to ensure the trailers are built to Simpsons Premium Ltd specifications, which are:

  • Postless Curtainsiders for clear side loading aperture
  • Mix of 4m & 4.2m over all height for operations into Europe as well as the UK
  • Full LED light package
  • Rear mounted dump plate
  • ENXL rated
  • Lift axle
  • Toolbox
  • TRI Cord for load security
  • Soft Docking system
  • Spare wheel carrier
  • 29mm hard wood flooring

Here’s what Craig Simpson had to say:

“We have had three curtain side trailers from Montracon in the last two years and all the trailers are manufactured to a very high standard, digital print and livery. These trailers were all delivered on time and within budget. Bob Acton was our contact from start to finish and made the process very easy. Highly recommend Montracon trailers and will certainly be using them in the future.” Craig Simpson – Simpsons Premium.

Montraon curtainsiders

Simpsons Premium Ltd, with the help of leading nutritionists, we have created a wide range of wet and dry food with your pet in mind, taking into consideration their health, wellbeing and dietary requirements. For dogs, we have varying flavours of sensitive, grain-free, Organic and high-meat dog food, as well as puppy food that provides all the nutrients for a growing dog. For cats, we have wet and dry food made with a range of healthy ingredients, as well as an organic wet adult food that will give your feline a balanced, natural diet.

Montracon are pleased that we can continue to support Simpsons Premium Ltd with all their trailer needs.

Whatever the application, Montracon has the curtainsider tailored for the job. Operators have the choice from a straight frame single deck to a high volume step frame double decker. These curtainsider models are all available with a fuel friendly canted roof line and side skirts and are also mounted on either tandem or triaxle bogies. All of our curtainsider models are offered with a full range of options designed to maximise your operating flexibility and your fleet efficiency. Our Curtainsider trailer manufacturing is of the highest engineering quality.

As well as postless curtainsiders, Montracon’s production excellence is founded on solid engineering principles in manufacturing trailers to the highest standard. With quality, strength and longevity being the company’s underlying values. Have a look at our range of trailers here.


Midlands Truck & Van are proud to be the approved Mercedes-Benz commercial dealership representing the West Midlands and Shropshire

At Midlands Truck & Van we are proud to be the approved Mercedes-Benz commercial dealership representing the West Midlands and Shropshire areas offering a first class customer experience through our staff by delivering four key components, Understanding, Commitment, Honesty and Trust.

It has been a great opportunity for Midlands Truck & Van to supply four brand new, unique Mercedes-Benz Tanker Trucks to Centurion Truck Rental, as part of their ever-expanding fleet.

 “At Centurion Truck Rental, we pride ourselves in being able to offer our customers with completely bespoke vehicles and felt that Midlands Truck and Van understood that requirement and delivered exactly what we needed. Their customer service and aftersales, are head and shoulder above the competition”

The Arocs 2635 provides an especially robust, resilient vehicle that is optimally prepared for use for almost any construction haulage challenge, with a load bearing capacity of the Arocs are fully reflected in the application specific cabs, from the durable, extremely tough cab shell to the athletic and powerful design.

Trucks you can Trust!


FSW recalls a century-long heritage with three new Actros from Midlands Truck & Van

FSW recalls a century-long heritage with three new Actros from Midlands Truck & Van

Boxer, Goliath and Tommy Boy are names that hark back to a bygone era of road transport. They’re also the names chosen by Black Country haulier FSW Storage & Distribution to adorn its latest Mercedes-Benz trucks.

The fourth-generation family concern is proud of its long history, so decided to call its new Actros tractor units after three of the shire horses used by founder Thomas George Fuller to pull coal on carts during the 1920s.

That’s where the connections with the past end, though, because the trucks – Oldbury-based FSW’s first from the current Actros model generation – are loaded with advanced technology for increased efficiency, safety and driver comfort.

Supplied by Midlands Truck & Van, they boast standard specifications that include an enhanced version of the fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control system, Active Brake Assist 5 with improved pedestrian recognition capability, and the Multimedia Cockpit, a radically revised dashboard that replaces conventional switchgear with intuitively operated twin screens, one with touch functionality.

The Actros are 2551 variants and have flat-floored BigSpace cabs. Their 12.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engines generate 375 kW (510 hp) and drive through 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated manual transmissions.

Smartly finished with colour-coded paintwork and chrome Kelsa light bars, the trucks are additionally fitted with Jost sliding fifth wheels and camera systems by SM UK Midlands, of Tamworth.

Parent company Fuller & Sons established its FSW brand in 2005, to serve the United Pallet Network, of which it is a shareholder member. FSW’s fleet of 16 trucks comprises five tractor units and 11 rigids, a combination of 26- and 18-tonners – all of these vehicles with the exception of a single six-wheeled curtainsider wear three-pointed stars.

FSW works almost exclusively for UPN – while two of the new Actros replaced older vehicles that have been stood down, the other represents an addition to the line-up, taken on to reflect ever-increasing demand.

The tractor units are double-shifted, making collections and deliveries in and around Birmingham and the Black Country during the day, and then trunking at night to the UPN hub in Lichfield, some 25 miles away. “They’ll start work early on a Monday and won’t go cold again until Saturday morning,” explained Director Stuart Fuller, a great-grandson of the founder.

FSW’s decision to order the three new trucks was based not only on its successful trials of a Midlands Truck & Van demonstration unit, but also of its long experience. “FSW has been pretty much an all-Mercedes-Benz operation since we set it up 17 years ago,” continued Mr Fuller. “The Actros suits us perfectly. It’s proved to be highly reliable, while the servicing costs are also competitive.”

The subjects of five-year Mercedes-Benz Complete Service Contracts, its latest Actros are being inspected and maintained at the impressive Dealerships in Smethwick and Wolverhampton built and opened by Midlands Truck & Van in, respectively, 2021 and 2015.

“We’re very happy with the Dealer’s aftersales support,” confirmed Mr Fuller. “The trucks go in for routine work on Friday nights and we pick them up on Monday mornings. It all works very smoothly, while if ever we’ve had an issue they’ve invariably been able to get the vehicle into the workshop and sorted very quickly. That kind of flexibility is exactly what we need.”

This is the first time that FSW has named its trucks, or equipped them with non-essential features such as light bars. “We’ve pushed the boat out with these latest Actros, and made a bit of a feature of them to create a good impression so that customers can see how the company is progressing,” said Mr Fuller.

“Also, of course, they should help us to retain drivers and attract new ones. The feedback so far has been entirely positive – the guys love the trucks, and particularly the new dashboard.”


Stuart Fuller’s father Graham retired in 2013 but continues to take an active interest in the business; likewise Graham’s brother Keith, who will still put in the occasional driving shift if needed. Stuart’s cousin Paul is also a Director and driver.  

Family values: Pictured with their new Actros are, from left, Graham Fuller, Keith Fuller, Stuart Fuller and Paul Fuller
Wheel appeal: FSW Actros drivers, from left, Dean Carlisle, Paul Fuller and Kevin Greenfield

Hilltop Transport moves on up with another FUSO Canter from Midlands Truck & Van

Hilltop Transport moves on up with another FUSO Canter from Midlands Truck & Van

Rugged build quality and reliability coupled with competitive pricing help to make the FUSO Canter the perfect ‘tough little truck’ for Hilltop Transport.

The West Bromwich-based operator has just taken delivery from Midlands Truck & Van of its third Canter in less than a year and now has a fourth on order. The Dealer sells and supports Mercedes-Benz as well as FUSO vehicles, both brands being part of the Daimler Truck family.

The latest is a 3.5-tonne Canter 3C13, with 96 kW (130 hp) 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine, and factory-fitted platform dropside body by Scattolini. The highly regarded Italian manufacturer also builds tipping bodies for Canter chassis at both 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes GVW, which are then fitted at FUSO’s main European production facility in Tramagal, Portugal.

The ready-to-work programme allows customers to set their new vehicles on the road a lot more quickly than would be the case if chassis were sent to third-party bodybuilders. Finished trucks are also covered by single invoices, simplifying administration and reducing associated costs. 

“We’ve been very impressed with the performance of our first two Canters and have come to trust the FUSO name,” said Director Darren Paine. “Midlands Truck & Van’s Canter Sales Specialist Martyn Hill has also provided a highly professional and attentive customer service.”

Hilltop Transport’s previous Canters are both 7.5-tonne 7C18 models. Their 129 kW (175 hp) versions of the same 3.0-litre common-rail powerplant generate up to 430 Nm of torque across a broad engine speed range and drive through smooth-shifting and fuel-efficient DUONIC automated dual-clutch transmissions with Eco Mode, Parking and Creep functions.

These vehicles have platform bodies by Fred Smith & Sons, also of West Bromwich. Due for delivery later this year, the operator’s next Canter 7C18 will be built to the same specification.

Hilltop Transport operates a diverse fleet of 29 vehicles, ranging from 44-tonne tractor units, through rigid trucks at 26, 18 and 7.5 tonnes GVW, to 3.5-tonne vans. Working nationwide, they are often loaded with steel in various forms, but also carry a variety of other loads.

The company was acquired in 2019 by husband-and-wife team Darren and Rachel Paine, who also run Evitts Transport, which is based in nearby Tividale. Their Canters are primarily assigned to urban deliveries, a role to which Mr Paine contends it is ideally suited.

“The big advantage of the 7.5-tonne Canter for our operation is its outstanding body and payload allowance,” he said. “It will carry a full four tonnes, which is close to a tonne more than most vehicles in the same weight class. This translates over time into a huge benefit in terms of increased productivity.

“The Canter has other strengths too. A lot of our work entails driving into London, and the truck’s relatively compact footprint and tight turning circle means it is very nimble on busy streets. Despite this, the cab is surprisingly comfortable.”

Mr Paine continued: “Reliability is important too, of course, and our first Canter hasn’t missed a beat, which is why we’ve had no hesitation returning for more. The Canter is clearly built to a high standard and is exceptionally strong, thanks in part to its ladder-style chassis – given that most vehicles in the 3.5-tonne weight segment are based on vans, this was key to the appeal of our latest truck.”

He added: “Overall, we’re delighted with all three Canters. They’re excellent workhorses and absolutely fit for our purpose.”   

Peak performance: Hilltop Transport Director Darren Paine has high praise for his Canters
City slickers: Drivers Nathan Johns, left, and Richard Lewis favour the FUSO Canter for urban deliveries

Andyfreight achieves new levels of economy and safety with MirrorCam-equipped Mercedes-Benz Actros

Andyfreight is enjoying a welcome increase in fuel efficiency from its latest Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks – the Black Country haulier has just added another three tractor units to the six supplied by Dealer Midlands Truck & Van last year, and will be taking delivery of a further eight in the spring.

With average returns of 11.27 mpg, even Andyfreight’s previous-generation Actros are half a mile per gallon ahead of its trucks by two other manufacturers, while a single unit from a third brand trails a lot further behind.

Andyfreight commissioned its first six Actros from the current model generation in 2020. Despite being fitted with conventional mirrors rather than the acclaimed MirrorCam system, those trucks have consumed significantly less diesel and are returning 11.9 mpg.

Now, the operator’s MirrorCam-equipped Actros are putting even more ‘clear blue water’ between the best and the rest, with returns up to 12.03 mpg. As well as increasing safety, MirrorCam boosts economy – Mercedes-Benz Trucks estimates by up to 1.5% – through reduced wind resistance from the compact and streamlined camera housings.

The Mercedes-Benz truck’s impressive fuel-efficiency and popularity with the operator’s drivers, coupled with Midlands Truck & Van’s outstanding aftersales support, explain why Andyfreight is replacing other vehicles with more Actros.

Operations Manager Dan Harris confirmed: “We are certainly favouring Mercedes-Benz at the moment, not least because the Actros is so competitive in terms of overall lifetime costs. We don’t tend to run at maximum weights but on a like-for-like basis it’s a lot better on fuel than any of the other trucks we’ve tried, particularly the new model with MirrorCam.”

Established by Managing Director Andy Pountney with a single 3.5-tonne pick-up in 1986, Andyfreight provides a comprehensive portfolio of flexible and cost-effective nationwide haulage, distribution and warehousing services to customers large and small.

The company has been running Mercedes-Benz trucks for more than 30 years, some of the first being pre-owned examples that it purchased from the manufacturer’s Wentworth Park facility, near Barnsley.

Once its remaining seven new Actros are in service, Mercedes-Benz will account for some two-thirds of Andyfreight’s 35 tractor units. It also runs five 18-tonne curtainsiders with sleeper cabs and tail-lifts, every one of which wears a three-pointed star. The back doors of these vehicles, like those of its semi-trailers, bear the operator’s trademark image of a baby, and the message: ‘Just about the only thing not delivered by…’.   

Acquired with the competitive funding support from Mercedes-Benz Finance, the 17 units it ordered for 2021-22 are all Actros 2545 variants with 12.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 330 kW (450 hp). All have been specified with roomy BigSpace cabs, apart from three flat-floored StreamSpace variants that Midlands Truck & Van supplied from stock last summer.

MirrorCam makes a major contribution to safety by providing improved rear vision – particularly helpful when reversing with a trailer – and eliminating forward-facing blind spots.

Predictive Powertrain Control manages gear changes and ensures that full use is made of the Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmission’s Eco Roll function to maximise fuel-efficiency and reduce emissions. The latest, enhanced version covers virtually all A roads, and many B roads, and takes account not only of topography but also of corners, roundabouts, junctions and traffic signs to deliver fuel savings of as much as 5%.

Other standard features include upgraded interactive versions of the stylish and intuitive Multimedia Cockpit, which replaces traditional switchgear, and Active Brake Assist 5, the latest emergency braking aid, which now employs a camera as well as radar, and is even more responsive to pedestrians crossing the truck’s path.

Dan Harris continued: “We live in a world where everything is advancing and you have to be at the forefront of technology if you want to remain competitive. I can see every HGV being mirrorless before very long.

“The drivers certainly got to grips with MirrorCam very quickly and they’re very positive about it now. Reversing is a lot easier now and by removing that blind spot Mercedes-Benz has made a massive contribution towards safety. The fact that the cameras also help to save fuel is an added bonus.”

Andyfreight’s Actros are inspected and maintained for the first two or three years of their lives under Mercedes-Benz Complete Service Contracts. “The support we receive from the team at Midlands Truck & Van’s Wolverhampton workshop is superb,” enthused Mr Harris.

“They’ll collect our trucks on Fridays and invariably have them back with us by the Sunday lunchtimes – it’s a very slick operation and by far the best service we’ve received from any Dealer. Given that we’re incredibly busy at the moment, this level of back-up is priceless.”


Mercedes-Benz Econic is a proven winner for Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council

Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council adhered to a tried and tested formula when commissioning its latest refuse collection trucks, a pair of Mercedes-Benz Econics.

The 26-tonne chassis arrived with the West Midlands authority via the Coventry branch of Dealer Midlands Truck & Van.

As 2630 L variants the new trucks are powered by 7.7-litre ‘straight-six’ engines that produce 220 kW (299 hp). They drive through six-speed Allison automatic transmissions, while steered rear axles enhance manoeuvrability.

Fitted with FAUN Variopress compactor bodies and Zoeller Delta high-level automatic split binlifts, Nuneaton & Bedworth Council’s latest six-wheelers have joined a Mercedes-Benz- dominated fleet of 16 refuse collection vehicles.

The authority serves approximately 57,000 households, from which it collects recyclable material, general waste and garden cuttings in wheeled bins.

Head of Waste & Transport Glen McGrandle said: “The 6×2 rear-steer Econic with FAUN Zoeller bodywork is now firmly established as our preferred configuration. The chassis offers excellent build quality and reliability, cost-effective performance, a high level of safety, and comfort and ease of use for our crews.

“Operatives appreciate the ease of access, while the cab is spacious, airy and well laid out. The low seating position and deep, panoramic windscreen provides drivers with a great view and makes it much easier for them to keep a close eye on colleagues working around the vehicle as well as other vulnerable road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians.

“Our area has a lot of narrow terraced streets,” he continued, “and the rear-steer set-up means these trucks are also very nimble for their size.”

As with all new Econics supplied through the official Mercedes-Benz Trucks Dealer network, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council’s new vehicles are backed by comprehensive three-year/160,000 km manufacturer’s warranties, and came with an impressive arsenal of standard safety equipment.

The Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking aid, for example, combines camera and radar technology to detect vehicles ahead and stationary objects in its own lane, at speeds of up to 56 mph (90 km/h). Detection of a dangerous situation triggers a three-stage reaction: first, the system warns the driver with visual and audible alerts; then, if the driver fails to react, it applies partial (approximately 50%) braking; finally, if the driver has still not intervened, it initiates maximum braking to bring the truck to a halt, applying the Electronic Parking Brake and activating the hazard warning lights to alert drivers behind.

At speeds of up to 31 mph (50 km/h) Active Brake Assist 5 is capable of applying full braking when encountering pedestrians crossing its path, approaching from the front or walking ahead. Not only does this remarkable technology increase safety for vulnerable road users and vehicle crews, but it also helps to relieve stress for drivers.

Mr McGrandle continued: “These new trucks were part of our rolling replacement programme and have slotted seamlessly into our bin collection operation. Experience has proved that the Econic is extremely well engineered and can be trusted to provide many years of dependable service.

“The HGV fleet is maintained primarily by our transport partner Coventry City Council, supported by NBBC’s internal transport team and by regular parts deliveries from Midlands Truck & Van, and if expert warranty or technical advice is ever needed we know it’s only a phone call away.”

Midlands Truck & Van Sales Executive Alan Stokes said: “We are delighted to be a trusted partner to Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council and it’s great to know these trucks will be working hard on streets just a few miles from our Dealership site.”

Stewart Gregory, Commercial Director with primary contractor FAUN Zoeller, added: “Working in partnership with Midlands Truck & Van we’ve provided top-quality vehicles with a simple, headache-free procurement process – a very effective solution all round.”


DMC Trailers appoints Phil Day as new Managing Director

Ballyvesey Holdings are pleased to announce the appointment of Phil Day as Managing Director of the DMC Trailers rental business, with immediate effect.

Phil joined the company early in 2021 as General Manager, overseeing the management and operations of DMC, he comes from Enterprise with a wealth of experience in rental business…

In his new role Phil will assume full responsibility for the development and marketing of the business which currently operates a contract and transient fleet of mixed trailer assets fridges being a speciality.

Our ambition is for DMC Trailers to offer customers a professional approach, offering long and short term contracts and dedicated aftermarket support to all existing and potential customers, which is indeed both Phil’s and indeed the company’s mission statement.

We wish him every success and support in this challenging role. 

Ballyvesey Holdings Limited.


Trailer Parts Delivered Nationwide by Montracon

Montracon have an extensive range of trailer parts that are ready and waiting to be shipped.

During these difficult times where lockdowns and brexit have taken their toll on the availability and distribution of raw materials, a lot of haulage companies are looking at trailers parts as the solution. It’s an attitude of replace and repair the existing stock rather than waiting for the logistics market to pick up. Montracon parts have seen a significant upturn in business as a result of this turn of events, with trailer parts delivered length and breadth of the country.

Trailer Parts delivered

With parts outlets located all around the country, Montracon have all the trailer parts you need ready and waiting to be shipped at the click of a button. And with same day delivery on selected parts you will be impressed with the level of service that you receive. As well as the fast delivery Montracon parts offers:

  • OEM prices
  • Bulk Discounts
  • Overnight VOR
  • Fridge Repair Panels
  • Flooring Kits
  • Imprest Stock
  • Workshop Consumables
  • Paint

Our website offers a fast, efficient service for whatever trailer part that you need, so take a look and have a browse here. If you can’t find what you are looking for, be sure to give us a call on 01302 732500 and we’ll be happy to help.

To get your trailer parts delivered we have 3 locations across England and Northern Ireland from which to ship your parts from. These are:


Carr Hill,
South Yorkshire,
T: 01302 732561


Tat Bank Road
West Midlands,
B69 4NU
T: 01302 732555

Northern Ireland

11 McKinney Road,
Co Atrim,
BT36 4PX
T: 01302 732693

As well as parts, Montracon’s production excellence is founded on solid engineering principles in manufacturing trailers to the highest standard. With quality, strength and longevity being the company’s underlying values. Have a look at our range of trailers here.


Montgomery Transport Group rewards Intercounty Truck & Van for its outstanding support by purchasing 100 Mercedes-Benz Actros

A customer-focused commitment to keeping Montgomery Transport Group’s fleet on the road and operating efficiently was crucial to the success of Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van in winning a prestigious order from their shared parent company.

Both businesses are part of Newtownabbey-based Ballyvesey Holdings, which is investing in 100 fuel-efficient Actros. The majority of these vehicles are going to Montgomery Transport, which provides a range of just-in-time services to a broad cross-section of customers working across the FMCG, retail and wholesale, manufacturing and construction sectors. Its new Actros 2545 tractor units employ 12.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 330 kW (450 hp) and have been specified with either StreamSpace or BigSpace cabs.

Focused on the future: Montgomery Transport Group’s new Managing Director Ian Dickinson is now consolidating what was previously a mixed-marque fleet around the Mercedes-Benz Actros


Five of the Streamspace models are being assigned to Montgomery Distribution Ltd, as well the rigid vehicles ordered. The first of these 13 curtainsiders is scheduled to enter service next month. All are 18-tonne 1824 models with 175 kW (238 hp) 7.7-litre straight-sixes, ClassicSpace S-cabs, and PPS Commercials bodies with Dhollandia tail-lifts.

Although Intercounty Truck & Van is a ‘sister’ company to the two businesses now introducing the new Actros to their respective fleets, it won the order in the face of strong competition from other manufacturers.

Montgomery Transport’s new Mercedes-Benz vehicles are replacing trucks from rival marques. Its first from the latest Actros model generation, they are equipped with ground-breaking technology such as MirrorCam, the camera-based replacement for conventional mirrors; the radical Multimedia Cockpit, with its stylish and intuitively-operated twin screens; and the Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking system, with improved pedestrian recognition capability.

Once the last of the new trucks has entered service, all but 10 of Montgomery Transport’s 119 tractor units will wear three-pointed stars. Its newly-promoted Managing Director Ian Dickinson confirmed: “Intercounty Truck & Van has had to work hard and prove it is worthy of our business. Its success in doing so reflects the quality of the Dealer’s people, as well as the quality of the Actros as a product.”

Mr Dickinson highlighted the competitively priced package put together by Intercounty Truck & Van, which includes funding from Mercedes-Benz Finance, and Complete Service Contracts.

Montgomery Transport also undertook extensive trials at various sites of vehicles by all three of the truck-makers with which its parent company has a direct association, as well as a fourth from outside the group.

“The new Actros did very well and the excellent fuel economy we recorded during our evaluation exercise has been reflected in the returns from the first 50 units that we’ve put into operation,” confirmed Mr Dickinson. “They’re consuming 14% less diesel than our previous fleet average.”

There was praise, too, for the ongoing programme of driver-training delivered by Noel Marno, Intercounty Truck & Van’s Handover Specialist. “Noel’s support has been invaluable,” enthused Ian Dickinson. “He’s been to three locations so far, including our headquarters in Northern Ireland, and has spent a great deal of very productive time with our own driver-trainers, who are now passing on his knowledge to those on the front line. Noel’s a fantastic guy, always available when we need him, and represents a big ‘tick in the box’ for the Dealer.”

Equally important to Montgomery Transport has been the performance of Intercounty Truck & Van in running the vehicle maintenance unit at its primary English depot in Preston. Appointed to this crucial role in March, the Intercounty team is led by Head of Fleet Workshops Rob Powell, who is supported by Depot Manager David Birch and Workshop Controller Ann Marley.

“We’re very pleased with the way the VMU is running,” reported Mr Dickinson. “Since the Dealer took on responsibility for our workshop we’ve seen a definite improvement in vehicle uptime, with fewer repetitive issues and more ‘first time fixes’.

“Rob runs a very efficient operation. He and his team have been maintaining vehicles by all three of the manufacturers represented on our fleet, and are proactive and responsive, agile and flexible. The relationship is still relatively new but there is a definite feeling within our business that we are a valued customer, and that if we ask for something to be done then it will be done, and quickly too.”

Ian Dickinson added: “The Montgomery Transport Group has evolved significantly over the last couple of years and we continue to make progress against the current, challenging backdrop. As with every other haulage company we’d like more drivers and I’m confident that our latest state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz vehicles will help us not only to attract new recruits, but also to retain those highly valued colleagues who already contribute so much.”

Ballyvesey Holdings was established in 1970. In addition to transport and logistics, and truck sales and aftersales, the group has interests in trailer manufacturing and spare parts sales, transport industry services, construction equipment sales, and property rental and development. 


NS Clarke achieves valuable savings with damage-resistant upgrades to its Mercedes-Benz Actros

NS Clarke achieves valuable savings with damage-resistant upgrades to its Mercedes-Benz Actros

Bulk haulier NS Clarke Transport has reported a significant reduction in repair costs since it became one of the first customers for new options designed to protect Mercedes-Benz Actros that venture onto off-road sites.

Over the last year Dealer Midlands Truck & Van has supplied the Staffordshire-based operator with its first 12 units from the fifth-generation Actros range.

NS Clarke Managing Director Shaun Clarke led calls for Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK to introduce a more resilient steel front bumper that could be specified instead of the standard plastic item.

He was naturally delighted, therefore, when the manufacturer responded by adding to the long list of Actros options not only the steel bumper, but also the same straight front axle and headlight arrangement as a flat-floored unit from the Arocs range, which is purpose designed for construction-related applications.

The result is an Actros that offers up to 85mm (depending on tyre choice) of additional ground clearance, and therefore carries a lower risk of underbody damaged caused by ‘bottoming out’ or getting stuck while manoeuvring on rough ground.

NS Clarke also took the opportunity to equip its Actros with rubber-mounted steps that allow a certain amount of lateral movement. Already popular with Arocs customers, these rugged steps also offer repair cost savings.

Shaun Clarke explained: “We’ve always favoured the Actros over the Arocs because our trucks spend most of their time on the road. However, they also go to quarries and onto other sites, where they can take a bit of a battering.

“It can be very easy to take out a front corner, and if you’ve lost the headlight as well you’re looking at a pretty expensive repair bill. Over time the steel bumpers might not look as smart, as they get knocked about and the paintwork suffers, but I can live with that.

“Most importantly, the combination of raised height and the more rugged and durable construction bumper means we’ve seen a noticeable reduction in accident damage to our latest units. This, in turn, has resulted in some very welcome cost savings.”

“The same is true of the rubber-mounted step option. It just has that bit of ‘give’, so that if the driver catches one on a kerb it’s not necessarily going to break and need replacing.”

He continued: “It’s to Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ credit that it listened to what we were saying and introduced the steel bumper we were calling for. This option won’t be right for many operators, but for us, and for others in the same line of business, it’s a very important development.”

NS Clarke Transport works from headquarters in Rugeley and runs a fleet of 155 trucks which is dominated by the three-pointed star. In addition to its bulk powder and tipper operations, the company provides general haulage, flatbed transport and courier van services.

Its latest Actros are 2551 variants with flat-floored BigSpace cabs. Their 12.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engines produce 375 kW (510 hp) and are paired with smooth and fuel-efficient 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated manual transmissions.

Standard Actros specification now includes MirrorCam, Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ ground-breaking, camera-based alternative to conventional mirrors; the Multimedia Cockpit, which replaces switchgear with stylish and intuitively-operated twin screens; enhanced, fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control technology; and the Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking system, with industry-leading pedestrian recognition capability.

The operator’s Mercedes-Benz vehicles are maintained under Complete Service Contracts by Midlands Truck & Van, which provides a collection and delivery service for inspections and scheduled maintenance, while also sending mobile technicians to its customer’s base at weekends, to undertake relatively minor tasks.

Shaun Clarke added: “Some weeks we’ll have 15 pieces of equipment going over to the workshop, while the fact that Midlands Truck & Van’s sends technicians over here on a Saturday or Sunday helps us to minimise downtime. Its team work very hard and do an excellent job.”

NS Clarke also runs a vehicle recovery arm. Established in 2016 to support its own fleet, this has proved so successful that the company is now contracted to recover breakdowns and accident-damaged vehicles from stretches of the M6 and M42 motorways. It supports other transport concerns too, as well as dealers, including Midlands Truck & Van’s Birmingham and Wolverhampton branches.

As with its other recovery units, the most recent additions to the fleet are by Mercedes-Benz. Midlands Truck & Van supplied an 8×4 Arocs 4153 and a 15-tonne Atego 1521, both of which were fitted with purpose-designed bodywork and equipment by specialist manufacturer Boniface.

Meanwhile, Shaun Clarke has added another string to his company’s bow by purchasing a 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Unimog from specialist Dealer Lloyd Ltd. A U5023 UHE extreme off-roader first registered in 2017, the vehicle spent the previous two winters with a rental customer in Scotland but had only covered 5,500 miles from new. It is fitted with a Palfinger crane and split dropside body, and came with a snowblade.

Mr Clarke was just 23 and his wife Janet 22 when they established their business in 1983 with a single truck, and now work alongside sons Russell and David. NS Clarke bought its first Mercedes-Benz truck in 2009 and has not looked back since.

That was then, but this is now: NS Clarke’s latest Actros offer more ground clearance than their predecessors
On the up: NS Clarke’s latest Actros have steps with rubber mounts which are more rugged than the standard items and designed for vehicles that work on construction sites
Different strokes: NS Clarke’s recent Mercedes-Benz acquisitions include its first fifth-generation Actros tractor units and a 4x4 Mercedes-Benz Unimog for vehicle recovery work

Mercedes-Benz eSprinters help Coventry van operators take a positive step towards a zero emissions future

Coventry Council is supporting local business owners who want to make the switch to electric vehicles, with the help of a quartet of battery-powered Mercedes-Benz eSprinters supplied by local Dealer Midlands Truck & Van.

The local authority has been awarded funding from the Highways Agency to set its own fleet of electric vans and cars on the road. These are now being offered to those working in and around the city for free extended trials, allowing them to assess how effectively cleaner, ‘greener’ vehicles could fit into their businesses.

The aim is to reduce pollution and improve air quality in Coventry. Participants in the  ‘Electric Fleet First’ scheme are offered the use of a van or car for at least two months. All are fitted with telematics systems that generate reports recording usage patterns and allowing easy calculations to be made on potential reductions in running costs.

The Council also provides support and advice on integrating electric vehicles into established fleets, as well grants and assistance with the provision and installation at attractively subsidised rates of connection points from approved partner EO Charging – those taking up this offer could save up to £500 per charger.

While electric cars have already been provided to a driving school and local taxi operators, the Mercedes-Benz eSprinters are the biggest of the vans being offered through the scheme. The first proved so popular with local traders that Coventry Council has now added three more – all arrived via Midlands Truck & Van’s branch in Whitley, Coventry.

The eSprinter is powered by a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. It can travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) on a single charge – ample for most urban delivery and ‘last mile’ applications. Recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the batteries’ output. 

The vehicle is based on the L2 (medium length), H2 (high roof) Sprinter. Its 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space. As a result, the eSprinter’s 11m3 load volume is identical to that of its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than the rear-wheel drive equivalent.

Among those who have already trialled an eSprinter under the Electric Fleet First scheme is Coventry-based catering business The Paneer Wrap Streetfood Company, headed by local entrepreneur Dev Bhamra.

“The eSprinter is fantastic – a really impressive vehicle,” he enthused. “It certainly created a buzz among our customers. The people who buy our food are generally very aware of environmental issues and were delighted to see us using a van that produces zero exhaust emissions.

“The eSprinter has a very practical load area, with space to stand up inside, and is so easy to drive. It’s also built to a very high standard – as I knew it would be, having operated Mercedes-Benz Vito vans for several years.

“I’m now seriously considering investing in a battery-powered Mercedes-Benz. Working in Coventry, there are so many public charge points in the city that running out of power need never be a worry.

Five other English local authorities are running similar schemes with Highways Agency backing, the others being Bristol, Kent, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Coventry prides itself on being a leader in the drive towards electrification. The city already has more than 400 public recharging points and the council recently announced plans to bid for funding to add another 400, to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles by households without private driveways. Meanwhile, moves are underway to convert the city’s bus fleet to all-electric by 2025.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, said: “This is a great scheme that’s supporting local businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles. By enabling risk-free trials, we’re showing businesses that now is the right time to make the move to electric. With the 2030 deadline for the manufacture of petrol and diesel cars fast approaching, there has never been a better time for companies to invest in this green form of transport.”

He continued: “Coventry is leading the way when it comes to transport electrification. With more charging points than anywhere outside London, not only is Coventry one of the most convenient places in the UK to own an electric vehicle, but with the establishment of the publicly-funded UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, we’ve placed our city at the heart of the green industrial revolution. I’d urge all our local businesses to take a look at this scheme to see if an electric vehicle is right for them.”

Amy Shakespeare, Coventry’s Electric Fleet First Project Leader, commented: “We aim to support local businesses who want to explore their options, by allowing them to trial an electric vehicle for an extended period in their day-to-day work, but without any need for a big financial commitment.

“The Mercedes-Benz eSprinters are the biggest vans on our electric fleet and as such they offer a practical option for operators who need lots of space to carry large cargoes. There’s been a great deal of demand for these vehicles from business operators, which is why we now run four of them.

“They’re generating a lot of interest and we hope that by becoming a talking point among local companies, and being seen out on the street, they’ll help to raise the profile of electric vehicles across the city.”

Midlands Truck & Van Sales Executive David McKay, who managed Coventry Council’s orders, added: “The Electric Fleet First scheme is a fantastic way to introduce people to the potential benefits our electric Mercedes-Benz vans can deliver, so we are delighted to support the authority’s forward-looking initiative.”

Register for FREE trial at

Forward thinking: Dev Bhamra of The Paneer Wrap Streetfood
Company and Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs,
Regeneration and Climate Change