Thanks to the good folk at the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Tachoblog can bring you a roundup of Commercial Vehicle news for this week…

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Millbrook shows 3% saving from fuel catalyst

Independent tests on a so-called fuel catalyst, at the Millbrook proving ground late last year seem to show a 3% fuel and emissions saving for trucks.  The Fitch fuel catalyst has its origins in the US around a decade ago and is now being distributed by Fuel Harmonics in the UK.  This is the first independent verification of occasionally glowing reports in the past, including one from City of York Council.  Fuel Harmonics invited John Lewis to provide Millbrook a 2004 Daf 85 with 1,014,886km on the clock for the tests.  According to its report, dated 4 December 2009 and seen exclusively by Transport Engineer “the improvements are interesting”.
More from Brian Tinham on +44 (0)1 322 221 144 or

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February registration fillip for vans

February UK registration data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show 10,348 vans and trucks registered in the month.  Within that, there were 8,978 vans, up slightly, and 1,370 trucks, still well down.  The rolling year total was down 32.2% to 220,521.  This includes 188,048 vans, down 30.6% and 32,473 trucks, down 40.4%.  “Despite the hesitant economic recovery, demand for new vans has picked up, though trucks still struggle in one of the most difficult markets since the early 1990s,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “We don’t expect a consistent recovery for some time, either for new vans or trucks, so durable growth in business investment and confidence is vital.  The government’s 2010 Budget needs to deliver clear, supportive and dependable policies, including better access to business credit to sustain that recovering demand for vans and trucks.”
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AA deal goes to BT Fleet

BT Fleet has won a five-year deal to manage and maintain 2,500 breakdown assistance and recovery vehicles for the AA.  Targets for the deal include maximum vehicle availability and minimum downtime for the van and light truck fleet.  Janet Entwistle, managing director, BT Fleet said she was “particularly pleased” to have kept the business as the AA was the firm’s first major fleet customer.
More from Richard Knowles on +44 (0)2 073 565 366 or

Last year’s weak demand hits bus and coach registrations

Data from the SMMT show big bus registrations down 40% in the three months to February compared to the same period last year.  By contrast big coach registrations were up 22%.  Overall the industry remains wary about the prospects for an early revival and expects big bus demand will remain weak through 2010.  “Demand for buses and coaches has remained low for many months and this shows in February’s registration data,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.  “We don’t expect to see a sustainable recovery in registration data for many months.  This means durable growth in business investment and confidence is vital to protect the sector.  The government’s 2010 Budget needs to deliver clear, consistent and supportive policies, including better access to business credit to encourage a recovery in demand for buses and coaches.”
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RHA training at CV Operator Show

The Road Haulage Association is one of several exhibitors that will run training hot spots on their stands at the Show, planning to offer the latest advice to visitors.  The RHA says training is now a vital part of the success of any transport firm but transport training needs change on an almost daily basis.  To help operators cope, its training division, represented on the RHA’s stand number 5626, covers all aspects of training including Health and Safety, Driver Certificate of Professional Competence, Rescue and Recovery Driver CPC and the Professional Driver Update 2010.
More from Kate Gibbs on +44 (0)1 932 838 917 or

Allied goes for electric van market

Allied Electric says it plans to tackle the electric van market.  It unveiled more of its plans as Gordon Brown, UK prime minister, visited its Glasgow factory recently.  The firm, part of the Allied Vehicles Group, works with firms like Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz to make wheelchair accessible cars, taxis and minibuses.  Its range of Peugeot Boxer-based electric vans has won government-backed deals and examples will work around the UK.  Allied will also supply electric Peugeot Partner and Peugeot Expert cars and MPVs for a trial project supported by Glasgow City Council, Scottish Power, Strathclyde University and Dundee-based battery-maker Axeon.
More from Donald Pow on +44 (0)1 413 363 211 or

Joedan avoids more misfuelling

“We bought from Aide Automotive after several incidents of misfuelling,” said Dan Pardoe, group purchasing manager at Joedan Holdings Group.  He was able to fit diesel keys to the firm’s 13-strong fleet for the same cost as the repairs after one of these incidents.  “Aide’s response was brilliant, answering all my questions and supplying a really simple and effective product.  This means we never have a misfuelling issue again.  I can’t recommend the product more highly.”
More from Matthew Burke on +44 (0)115 845 6471 or

Senta site goes live

The SMMT will launch its web-based whole vehicle approval advice, service, called Senta, for SMMT European and National Type Approval, on its stand at the CV Operator Show in April.  “But we’ve opened website at early so that bodybuilders and others customers can register their interest,” said Allan McKenzie, senior technical manager at the SMMT.  “We expect a lot of demand for the service from across the industry.  Firms that can offer the full range of approval options will have an increasingly important advantage in a market that is bound to get even more competitive.”  Once launched, the Senta service will be free to SMMT members and will cost non-members £900.
More from Allan McKenzie on +44 (0)2 073 449 202 or

What’s stopping us?

New EU rules on the strength of rear under-run protection equipment on trucks and trailers start in the rest of Europe on 11 March, but not in the UK.  “Our government has decided in its wisdom to postpone implementation of the directive,” says David Wilcox, editor at Commercial Vehicle Engineer.  “Yet it is neither difficult nor costly to engineer rear under-run beams to be still more effective at saving lives and minimising injuries.”  He says this month’s issue explains this fully; it is at  “Fleet operators and truck and trailer suppliers should think more carefully about rear under-run specification and go beyond the bare minimum demanded by UK law.
More David Wilcox on +44 (0)1 428 605 605 or

Trucks to use Bristol car pool lanes

Trucks will be able to use the snappily named High Occupancy Vehicle lane on the A4174 Avon Ring road, thanks to the Road Haulage Association.  When South Gloucestershire Council opened the car pool lane, the RHA asked that trucks be allowed to use it as the road gives access to the whole of the eastern side of the Bristol conurbation.  The council refused.  But when it published plans to lengthen the lane, the RHA tried again and the council agreed.  “We are very pleased that councils now appear to be listening to us,” said Mike Farmer, RHA regional director.
More from Kate Gibbs on +44 (0)1 932 838 917 or

DPS wins with JD Sports

Telematics firm DPS says sports fashion retailer JD Sports has chosen its Vehicle Routing and Scheduling software to manage sports and casual wear deliveries to 400 stores across the UK.  “The results we got from logixcentral were as good as or better than from traditional systems but at a fraction of what we would have paid for a desktop version,” said Matthew Kieras for JD Sports.  Charges on a “pay-as-you-go” basis mean the firm recovers running costs immediately and sees “immediate and very significant financial benefits”.  The firm runs a 57-strong, mostly 7.5 tonner fleet out of depots at Dunstable, Heywood and Peterlee..
More from Paul Palmer on +44 (0)1 215 856 633 or

Watson moves to Mercedes

AS Watson, parent company of Superdrug and Savers will move its 101-strong truck fleet to Mercedes-Benz.  Most will be Axor 1840LS two-axle tractor units with high-roof sleeper cabs and PowerShift automated transmissions, though the deal also includes 17 box-bodied Axor 18-tonners and a single 10-tonne Atego.  Intercounty Truck & Van won the business on the back of its successful operation of Watson’s vehicle maintenance units in Dunstable and Pontefract distribution centres.  It also looks after the firm’s 180 trailers.  The fleet does some 2,500 deliveries a week to around 900 Superdrug stores and 200 Savers outlets.
More information from Julia Elkins +44 (0)1 908 245616 or

Midlums for Maxi Haulage

Ayrshire-based firm Maxi Haulage has got five new Renault Midlum 180.08 trucks.  These have curtainsider bodies with tail lifts and will do some 60,000 miles a year.  They join a 100-strong fleet.  Jobs include delivering Volvo and Renault truck parts to dealers across the UK, working from Maxi’s UK depot network.  Jim McFarlane, fleet engineer at Maxi Haulage says he finds the Midlum “a good, reliable, value-for-money vehicle”.  Maxi Haulage has an annual turnover of more than £31m and is part or the Maxi Group.  Renault Trucks Midlands did the deal.
More from Penny Randall on +44 (0)1 582 479 619 or

BPW to make suspensions in the UK

BPW has spent £500,000 at its Leicester base so that it can assemble trailer suspension systems in the UK, reports Transport Engineer magazine.  The move means BPW won’t need to import finished products from its German HQ.  Most of the cash went on a new jig, with the remainder spent on an overhead crane system and new assembly management software.
More from John Challen on +44 (0)1 322 221 144 or

Mycompanyfleet wins KLM software deal

After a long selection process, Mycompanyfleet has won a deal to provide the fleet management systems for KLM Equipment Services, a subsidiary of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.  The firm will manage a fleet of 2,500 vehicles and equipment at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.  KES runs a mixed fleet, ranging from small ground vehicles like light vans, coaches and mini-buses, to specialised power units, pallet loaders, aircraft tractors and lifting platforms.
More from Andrew Leech on +44 (0)8 450 777 760 or

Geodis wins three-year Agro deal

Geodis Calberson has won a three-year, multi-million pound extension to its warehousing and distribution deal with Dow Agro Services, part of Dow Chemicals.  This takes the contract to 2011.  DAS, based in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, makes insecticides, fungicides and pesticides.  Geodis manages logistics on the 120 acre site on a 24/7 basis and handles global distribution, mostly in European, Eurasian and Baltic markets. This involves some 10,000 pallets a year.  Because of the chemicals involved, all people working on the site must have safety training and be ADR-registered to handle hazardous goods.  Geodis also does on-site logistics work for DAS at its sites in France and Italy.
More from Celeste Clarke on +44 (0)2 476 228 881 or

“Incredible response” to misfuelling device

After a recent Transport News Brief story on Thatcham’s accreditation of the Diesel Key anti mis-fuelling device.  “We’ve had an incredible response for Diesel Key since its appearance in Transport News Brief in January,” said Matt Burke from Aide Automotive.  “We’ve had interest from large and small fleets alike, all trying to save the cost of repairs after a driver has mis-fuelled with petrol.”
More from Matthew Burke on +44 (0)115 845 6471 or

Electric first for Ryder

Truck rental and contract hire firm Ryder has delivered its first leased 10-tonne electric truck.  This goes to Bunzl and will do distribution work for the catering and hospitality sector in central London, based at the firm’s Charlton depot.  The truck will have a range of some 80 miles and carries its own recharging kit so that it can recharge from any three-phase electric outlet.  It also has regenerative braking technology to extend battery life.  Trials show that one charge could last for up to three days on Bunzl’s normal delivery routes around the capital.  Ryder says that if the truck proves reliable it will order more in 2011 for other UK cities.
More from Colin Peck on +44 (0)1 784 482 336 or

Fuel Anti-Siphons for £1.50 a week

Protecting your fuel from theft has just got easier, according to TruckProtect.  The firm now offers a finance package to spread the cost of anti-siphons for up to three years.  “Times are still tough for the sector and more than ever trucks and vans need protection,” said the Terry Winter, finance director.  “This avoids payment up front and is open to our established customers and to new customers buying through our distributors.  The finance rates are excellent and remove another barrier for an operator.”
More from Terry Winter on +44(0)1753 890 911 or

More members for Pall-Ex

Pall-Ex just said Oxfordshire haulier DA Clayton Ltd and Suffolk’s Karl King Transport Ltd will join its 90-strong UK network.  Clayton’s base gives good access to the M40 corridor and the M1 and M4 motorways, while King runs more than 100,000 ft2 of warehousing at its Suffolk base.  The latter specialises in the storage and delivery of goods entering the UK through Felixstowe, Ipswich and Harwich.  Pall-Ex boss Hilary Devey says joining its network brings real benefits for new members like Clayton and King and “allows us to remain at the forefront” of the industry, “continuing our expansion” as “one of the most innovative” palletised logistics firms in the UK.  The network has access to over 7,500 vehicles and 5million ft2 of warehousing.
More from Neil McDonald on +44 (0)1 698 787 855 or

Five tonne Sprinters win in London

Balfour Beatty has put 13 new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter five-tonne tippers to work on general road and pavement maintenance work in Westminster.  Derby-based dealer Mertrux won the deal on the back of the Sprinter’s Euro 5 engine and the fact that even with a steel body and crew cab, each truck still delivers a payload of about two tonnes.  “Environmental measures top the agenda for Balfour Beatty and our customer, Westminster City Council,” said Garry Merrils, workplace transport and plant manager for Balfour Beatty.
More from Julia Elkins +44 (0)1 908 245616 or

New man at IAAF

The recently formed Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation says Mike Owen will manage its all-new Garage Section.  It says he is a leading independent garage campaigner and organiser.
More from Gary Barak on +44 (0)1 753 650 004 or

New car CO2 report

The SMMT just launched its ninth annual New Car CO2 Report.  This shows a 5..4% cut in average car CO2 emissions last year, continuing a now 12 year-long downward trend.  The average new car sold in the UK in 2009 emitted just 149.5g/km of CO2, down 5.4% on the 2008 figure and 21.2% better than the 1997 base level. The rate of reduction was the best on record, three times the average rate achieved since data was first measured in 1997.
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Cut blind spots and damage.

Steve Ransom at Reversing Made Easy says that despite new laws on truck mirrors, there are still too many driver blind spots.  “These mean vehicle and building damage, injuries and sadly, deaths.”  His firm supplies simple nearside front and rear sensor systems that cover dangerous blind spots.  “The system alerts the driver to an unseen object, allowing them to stop and avoid any danger or costly impact.  Search StepProtect or Trailermatic on Youtube and see for yourself.  Better still, you can try any system free of charge.”
More from Steve Ransom on +44 (0)1 825 768 555 or

New anti-spill valve and website for TruckProtect

TruckProtect says its new website at gives clear, factual information on features, the firm’s range of models, their installation and use.  Perhaps more importantly, the site introduces TruckProtect’s new award-winning retro-fittable anti-spill valve.  Called StopSpill! this fits into existing anti-siphons.  “The reaction from major fleets with the environment and CSR on their agenda has been terrific,” says Richard Fowler, technical director.  The site details the firm’s three global supply deals with major truck makers.  It also aims to support the firm’s hundreds of distributors and 3,000 dealers and covers comparative fuel security device tests by MI Technology.
More from Russell Fowler on +44 1753 890911 or

Zenloc wins a security world first with Allport

Zenloc Security Systems Limited says that Allport Limited is the first firm to specify and fit the Zenloc Container Alarm.  Barry Schofield, who invented the award-winning freight alarm, delivered the first units to the Allport offices at The Haven in Ipswich.  The alarm gives a remote warning of an attempted security breach and Zenloc says it has no doubt many more freight forwarding firms will prove keen to adopt its new container security device.
More from Barry Schofield on +44 (0)1 293 401 625 or

And finally, “must contain at least nothing”

New Scientist’s Feedback column says that when Kevin Picton tried registering for the daily newsletter of the magazine Inside Retailing, he was told in no uncertain terms:  “The password specified is invalid.  Please specify a valid password.  Passwords must be at least 7 characters in length and contain at least 0 non-alphanumeric characters.”  He is still trying to work that one out.
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