The latest additions to the Leicester-based temperature-controlled distribution specialist’s fleet are all from the new-generation Actros range and arrived, like their predecessors, via East Midlands Dealer Mertrux Truck & Van.
Front-runners: Pictured from left, are Samworth Brothers Driver-trainers Paul Golding, Richard Straw, and Matt Pickering, Operations Director Paul Marrow, Transport Manager Dave Alexander, and Fleet Manager Ian Cooper
Most are Actros 2545 models with flat-floored StreamSpace cabs and 12.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engines which produce 330 kW (450 hp). Ten, however, are Actros 2546 variants with 340 kW (460 hp) 10.7-litre ‘straight sixes’. They have 2.3m StreamSpace cabs, the narrower of the two widths available, and the 320mm engine tunnels which have earned this model a 3-star Direct Vision rating from Transport for London.
All feature the ground-breaking technology which saw new Actros win the International Truck of the Year 2020 crown in November. Highlights include MirrorCam, which replaces conventional mirrors and represents a major safety advance, while also offering improvements in economy due to the compact, streamlined profile of the camera housings; the state-of-the-art Multimedia Cockpit, which brings connectivity and intuitive operation to the fore; and enhanced versions of the Active Brake Assist emergency braking and fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control systems.
The new trucks have lined-up alongside the 18 Actros 2545 StreamSpace units which have so impressed since they entered service with Samworth Brothers in December 2018, thanks, in no small part, to the timely, customer-focused back-up provided by Mertrux.
Samworth Brothers Operations Director Paul Marrow confirmed: “We’ve forged excellent relationships with the Dealer’s Fleet Truck Sales Manager Bob Holt and his colleagues, and with the manufacturer’s Strategic Account Manager Matt Lee, which are based on transparency and integrity. Mertrux are very supportive, while we’ve felt from the outset that Mercedes-Benz really wanted our business and had a fantastic vehicle which could meet our high expectations. So it’s proved.”
The operator maintains its trucks in-house but relies on Mertrux for technical assistance and management of an imprest parts stock. “The feedback I get from my vehicle maintenance and transport managers is really positive,” continued Mr Marrow. “In the 12 months we’ve been running them our first clutch of Actros have proved totally reliable, and haven’t spent anything like as much time in the workshop as other vehicles we run. The Dealer’s response times, meanwhile, irrespective of whether the query relates to service or parts, are always very good."
“We spend a lot on fuel, so economy has obviously been a huge factor in our decision-making process. We’re getting a better mpg performance from our first Actros than we do from other, comparable vehicles, and I’m very excited about the additional benefits in terms of further reductions in diesel consumption which the new models offer.”
Samworth Brothers operates more than 120 of its own trucks, as well as approximately 230 semi-trailers of various configurations – it also supplements the fleet with rental vehicles. The bigger, flat-floored units are on nationwide distribution work, much of which entails pulling double-deck trailers. The smaller models are assigned to more local duties.
Mr Marrow explained: “We make a lot of collections from production facilities in and Leicestershire. The fact that the 10.7-litre Actros are so much more compact, and offer better low-down visibility, makes life easier for drivers. These trucks are interchangeable between shunting and distribution activity, though, which means we have the flexibility we need within the fleet.”
Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ leadership in the field of safety was instrumental in convincing Samworth Brothers to place its first multiple order for Actros – the operator’s only previous unit was withdrawn from front-line duties last year after clocking up one million km, refurbished by Mertrux, and is now used by its acclaimed Supply Chain Academy.
Paul Marrow added: “Fantastic Mercedes-Benz technology such as MirrorCam and Active Brake Assist 5, combined with the third-party camera systems we fit on all our trucks, and our industry-leading commitment to driver training, mean that our new Actros are right up there with the safest trucks on the road.”
Back for More from Mercedes-Benz: Samworth Brothers Paul Marrow, left, is pictured with colleagues Transport Manager Dave Alexander, centre, and Fleet Manager Ian Cooper