Eight new Volvo trucks - six FM 4x2 tractor units and two FE 6x2 rigids - have entered service with SPAR wholesaler and distributor James Hall & Co., Ltd. The trucks were supplied by Thomas Hardie Commercials at Preston and will serve over 600 SPAR stores in the North of England.
The handover of the new trucks to the Directors and Senior Managers of James Hall & Co., Ltd., was attended by President, Volvo Trucks Europe Roger Alm and Volvo Trucks UK Managing Director Arne Knaben. They were also given a tour of the impressive site by the Directors of James Hall & Co., Ltd.
Ian Farnworth is Fleet Engineering Manager for James Hall & Co., Ltd. He praises Thomas Hardie Commercials for their flexibility and focus on communication, saying that the dealer is ‘quick to accommodate' their needs. Ian reports that the company hold regular meetings at senior manager level with Thomas Hardie Commercials in addition to the on-going flow of communications during the day, which take place as the need arises.
Mr. Farnworth explains that the FM tractor units particularly fit the James Hall & Co., Ltd., business in terms of the low entry to the cab. "The FM has very good low entry which suits a multi-drop operation." He says, before adding: "Every vehicle we have is potentially operating in a multi-drop environment."
Specification of the new trucks includes the Volvo 11-litre engine, which is rated at 410hp in the tractors and 320hp in the rigids, plus the automated transmission is Volvo's class-leading I-Shift. All the trucks are on seven year Volvo Gold R&M contracts with Thomas Hardie Commercials nearby Preston depot. The fleet's overall average annual mileage is in the region of 86,000 km per vehicle.
James Hall & Co., Ltd., began operating Volvo trucks in 1995 and the first 26 tonne GVW 6x2 rigid vehicle joined the fleet in 2016. The decision to specify the single-drive three-axle rigids, rather than two-axles, was taken, reports Ian Farnworth, in response to a long-term change in the profile of the stores the company delivers to - making it possible for them to accommodate a larger delivery vehicle.
The fleet currently comprises in the region of 86 trucks, of which 52 carry the Volvo badge. The split between artics and rigids is approximately 50:50 says Ian. The artic fleet operates at a maximum GCW of 40 tonnes and the company runs some Gray & Adams 13.6 metre, dual-temperature, double-deck fridge trailers as well as a number of 11.2 metre dual-temperature spec tandems from the same manufacturer.
The mix of trailer types and lengths ensures that the fleet can access a mix of locations. Ian reports that the ten drawbar outfits in the fleet tend to be used to transport fresh food and groceries, including some collections of local produce from specialist makers and growers.
One artic is dedicated to serving the James Hall & Co., Ltd., bakery which is located in Accrington, East Lancashire and also the company's sandwich production facility at Blackpool.