Ryder chips in with five wood pellet tankers06 March 2012

Five self-discharging wood biomass silo tankers are to be delivered by Ryder to solid fuels wholesaler Woodpellets2U, a division of CPL Distribution.

They will be supplied under a contract hire deal that will see the custom-built Feldbinder bodies getting a double life as they are retrofitted to new chassis after six years.

Two 32-tonne DAF CF85-410s, with a capacity of 38,000 litres, and two 26-tonne Mercedes-Benz Axor 2533s, with 30,000 litre capacity, will follow the 26-tonne DAF CF75-310, which has served s the pilot test for these Feldbinder silo tankers, thought to be the first of their kind to operate in the UK.

"We are already delivering thousands of tonnes of wood biomass and solid fuels around the country and across Europe, but we wanted to streamline the operation in line with our quest to deliver the highest quality product," comments Tim Minett, CPL Distribution's CEO.

"We had been approached by a variety of outsourced vehicle providers, ranging from truck manufacturers to finance houses, but none could offer a complete package," he continues. "With such specialised and expensive vehicles, we needed a competent supplier used to operating complicated vehicles and one that could put together a complete finance, maintenance and aftercare package."

Minett used to be chief executive of a truck rental and contract hire specialist firm and says Ryder was the only company with the expertise and flexibility to put together such a deal.

"Specifications were drawn up for 26- and 32-tonne tankers, with the chassis supplied on a six-year contract hire agreement, while the Feldbinder tanker bodies will have an extended 12-year double life and be retrofitted to new chassis after the initial six year period," explains Minett.

"Such is the flexibility provided by Ryder that the company was even able to take over ownership of the initial truck we had ordered ourselves and contract hire that back to us," he adds.

Minett says the firm knew it would need specialist trucks to transport and discharge wood pellets, and reveals that it initially looked at vehicles used with animal feed. However, tests revealed that the pellets would be degraded.

"We knew that 40% of energy in Austria is produced from wood biomass, so we looked at how the experts handled it and made contact with a local specialist manufacturer of truck bodies, Feldbinder, which had set up operation in the UK," he recalls.

"We were very impressed by their technical expertise and so ordered one 26-tonne truck to our specification. But we clearly needed a larger fleet of trucks to meet expected demand for our new biomass fuels.

"Overall, Ryder has exceeded our expectations in terms of service delivery to the extent that I've been virtually able to forget about the delivery of these new trucks and focus my attentions on our core business."

Brian Tinham

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