volvo truck photoAs part of a general restructuring of the way the company handles its transport and logistics, two ‘Classic’ Volvo FH-500 6×2, 44-tonne GCW tractor units and a Volvo FL-240 18-tonne 4×2 GVW rigid dray vehicle have joined the fleet of Black Sheep Brewery.

The ‘Classic’ FHs are the first Volvo tractor units to join the Black Sheep Brewery fleet of eight vehicles.

Following an intensive evaluation programme involving several truck manufacturers, the award-winning Yorkshire brewery – which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012 – has restructured its  transport fleet to reduce operating costs and improve vehicle uptime. 

The trucks were sourced from Crossroads Truck and Bus at Boroughbridge. All are on Volvo Repair and Maintenance contracts with the trucks being dropped off at the dealership for scheduled ‘O’-Licence inspections at 6pm, ready for collection by 6am the following morning.

Black Sheep Brewery’s Production Director Alan Dunn and Andy Wallace, who is Transport & Distribution Supervisor, report that the company was attracted to Volvo by the reputation for good fuel economy and overall operating costs.

“As part of the evaluation process,” says Alan Dunn, “Crossroads and Volvo Financial Services provided the most competitive purchase cost and source of lease purchase funding.”

Crossroads are also carrying out trailer maintenance for Black Sheep Brewery. In addition to ambient trailers, the trailer fleet includes a Lawrence David chilled curtainsider which doubles up as a mobile bar for use at outdoor shows, such as The Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate.   

While the Globetrotter XL-cabbed ‘Classic’ FHs handle primary distribution duties to wholesalers and retailers’ distribution centres nationwide, the FL – which is double manned – is engaged on deliveries to free trade pubs, other breweries and pub multiples direct.

These ‘local’ deliveries are typically made within a 50 mile radius of Masham, the picturesque town in the Yorkshire Dales where the Black Sheep Brewery is based.

Part of the restructuring included the introduction of four Transit vans which have recently replaced non-Volvo rigid trucks on local deliveries to the licenced trade and retail multiples.

Andy Wallace reports that the FHs, which have dedicated drivers and are expected to cover in the region of 160,000kms per annum, are achieving 10.9mpg overall. This represents an improvement of 3mpg in fuel economy compared to the older non-Volvo trucks they replaced.

Chris Bright, an experienced Black Sheep Brewery driver, took part in the finals of the Volvo Trucks UK Driver Challenge 2012. The event was held in Co Galway and Chris was one of the top ten competitors.

According to Alan, the FL is achieving 12mpg and, with only around 6,000kms on the odometer, that is expected to improve, he says.

The FL was specified for distribution on the narrow roads of rural areas and country towns. It is equipped with a 7.3 metre, low height Micra body, low profile 295/60 R22.5 tyres on the drive axle, a D’Hollandia taillift and Volvo’s I-Sync auto transmission.

The result is a competitively low chassis height for side unloading and a kerb weight of 7,900kgs, thus achieving a 10,100kgs payload. The vehicle was spec’d around what Black Sheep Brewery drivers wanted, says Andy.

“Many of our deliveries are timed,” says Alan, before adding: “Therefore, reliability and vehicle uptime are of paramount importance to Black Sheep Brewery. We are always developing new markets and extending our range of products so we need a modern, reliable fleet to ensure delivery schedules are adhered to.”