Chandlers builds for the future with three of a kind
Published: 04 March, 2011
RINGMER: Fast-growing builders’ merchant Chandlers is running a trio of new trucks – each is from a different model range but all wear the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz.
Supplied by Eastbourne dealer Rossetts Commercials, two are 26-tonners – an Actros and an Axor – while the third is a 10-tonne Atego. They are fitted with dropside bodies and rear-mounted Hiab cranes; those on the two six-wheelers are remote radio-controlled.
The Actros and Axor are based at Chandlers’ headquarters in Ringmer, East Sussex, which specialises in ‘heavy side’ materials for groundworks, roofing and the like. The Atego, meanwhile, works from the company’s depot in Lewes, from where it delivers general building and plumbing supplies.
Chandlers serves customers throughout Sussex, Surrey and Kent – it also has branches in Petworth, West Sussex, and Thanet, Kent, as well as another in Halesowen, West Midlands.
Most significant of the new Mercedes-Benz arrivals is the premium specification Actros, a 2541 day cab model powered by a 410hp engine. It was chosen to work in drawbar configuration at up to 40 tonnes gtw, with a tandem-axle trailer which Chandlers has also just purchased.
This represents a new departure for the builders’ merchant, which is now using the rig to transport product between its different locations, as well as for site work.
Chandlers’ transport manager Mick Foster explained: “Our business is expanding and the requirement for inter-branch movements is increasing. As fuel prices continue to shoot up, we felt that a drawbar combination offered the most flexible and cost-effective solution to the problem of increasing volume capacity with a single vehicle.
“We can also deploy the Actros as a solo rigid, of course. So we might, for example, drop the trailer at one of our yards and then, while it is being unloaded, use the truck to deliver to a customer location before returning later in the day to pick up the reloaded trailer. The result is time saved and increased efficiency for our business.”
The 26-tonne Axor, with rear-steer axle for extra manoeuvrability in yards and on sites, is an established favourite of Britain’s builders’ merchants. Chandlers’ new Axor 2529 has a 290hp engine and offers a highly competitive, 14-tonne payload – as with the Actros, its six-metre body is the work of Colliers Truck Bodies, of Maldon, Essex.
A much-needed increase in carrying capacity also explains why Chandlers chose to replace the 7.5-tonne Mitsubishi Fuso Canter – also supplied by Rossetts – it was previously operating from Lewes, with the 10-tonne Atego 1018. This truck, which has a four-metre body by Solent Bodybuilders, of Fareham, Hampshire, will carry a 4.5-tonne payload, but has a similar-sized ‘footprint’ to a conventional 7.5-tonner.
Chandlers bought its first Mercedes-Benz – an 18-tonner uprated to 25 tonnes gvw – in 2001 (that vehicle went to driver Terry Luck, who continues to live up to his name, having just been allocated the big Actros). Today, Mercedes-Benz accounts for 14 of the 16 trucks on the Chandlers fleet.
“We choose Mercedes trucks because they have proved to be strong, reliable and economical to operate,” confirmed Mr Foster. “Rossetts’ sales executive Jon Sunderland provided a first-class service while the dealer’s back-up is excellent too – we always sign-up to seven-year Mercedes-Benz R&M contracts, which work very well for us.”