Driver acceptance and training key to success
Compliance generates new work across UK and Europe
Premier Carriers, based at Bow in East London, has invested in what is believed to be the first flat-bed Mercedes-Benz Econic, designed to go above and beyond current safety regulations, for work on major infrastructure projects in busy urban environments, such as Crossrail.
Originally configured as a waste handling vehicle, the 26t truck was supplied and specially adapted in just eight weeks by S&B Commercials at Welham Green, part of the Imperial Commercials Group. As part of preparing it for the Premier Carriers fleet, the truck underwent work to re-inforce the load-bed to create the flat-bed body – all overseen by S&B. The dealership then made changes to the original spec and mapping of the vehicle, including re-configuring both gearbox and air suspension as well as undertaking a full inspection of the electronics within the chassis. Then, with the chassis and road wheels shot-blasted and repainted, the cab was painted and the interior thoroughly valeted with some panels replaced. The final act was the fitting and connection of the external safety cameras.
Sales director at S&B, Will Davey, said, “We enjoy working with Premier Carriers and thought this vehicle would do a great job for them. From our point of view, it was a chance to demonstrate further what the M-B Econic can do to bring real quality to the demands being placed on operators in London by TfL and the other involved parties. This was our first refurb and modification of an Econic for a new role and we’re as delighted with it as we believe Premier Carriers is.”
Within days of delivery, the Econic started work delivering blockwork for use in the construction of two new Ticket Halls at Crossrail’s Farringdon Station.
The entire Premier Carriers fleet and driver team is now fully compliant with all the requirements of major construction sites across the capital. Talking about the new vehicle, Jamie Gray, business development manager at Premier Carriers, said, “We’ve always had a good relationship with S&B, and when they told us about this truck we had to take a look. Once we had seen it and realised how well it fitted into our London-compliant fleet, we just went for it straight away. We are confident that all of our fleet and drivers can now deliver to any site by meeting, or in the case of the Econic, surpassing the current compliance and regulations standards, and that is hugely important to us. This Econic adds another dimension to that and we’ve already had some very favourable comments from our customers and, just as important, our drivers. We’ll definitely consider more.
The vehicle is just so efficient – the perfect ‘town truck’. Apart from the high visibility crew cab, the rear-steer gives us a terrific turning circle for making deliveries in tight operational environments. What it does best of all though, is allow our drivers to worry less about the truck itself and be far more aware of the other road users around them. They are more relaxed, sharper, efficient…safer! ”
The first move to an all-compliant fleet came just a little over three years ago for Premier Carriers. The company was unable to make a one-off delivery to a Crossrail site in central London as the vehicle was not compliant with the new standards that had been introduced to cut the impact of commercial vehicles on the streets, other users and the people of London.
Three years later, from being ‘unacceptable’ at such sites, Premier Carriers is now positively recommended for transport and logistics support by Tier 1 Crossrail contractors such as the BAM, Ferrovial, Kier Joint Venture, to their own suppliers. That acceptance today, as specialists in compliant logistics support, routinely takes Premier Carriers across the UK and Europe collecting materials for many of London’s major construction projects and London’s newly introduced Safer Lorry Scheme.
As a result of the investments it has made in vehicles and staff, Premier Carriers is now awaiting Gold membership accreditation with FORS, is a recognised CLOCS champion company, compliant with the WRRR Directive and has all its drivers trained to Crossrail, SUDS and Safer London compliance standards.
“It has been a fantastic journey for us,” adds Jamie Gray, “and a real partnership with our customer, Crossrail and their suppliers. Apart from helping our business grow and prosper, we know we are all achieving something solid for the safety and well-being of London’s pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. It’s been expensive, but you can’t ever put a price on safety. If even just one life has been saved that is all anyone needs to consider.”