Arla’s one-of-a-kind trailer and tanker combo hits the highways 09 October 2012

Arla Foods has introduced a bespoke combination trailer into its fleet that it says will set the standard for the dual transportation of raw milk and finished dairy products.

Paul Lloyd, vice president of logistics at Arla, explains that its new hybrid trailer is half milk tanker and half refrigerated container.

"Arla's logistics network is responsible for over 4,000 daily deliveries to stores and regional distribution centres nationwide," comments Lloyd.

"The new trailer is just one of many solutions we are delivering to ensure our carbon output and costs are as low as possible," he adds.

Arla worked with Crossland Tankers to produce the milk tank, and Gray & Adams for the refrigerated trailer.

Gordon Irvine, Arla's group fleet director, expects the trailer to cut the number of road miles travelled by the company's fleet, as it enables collection of milk from farms, as well as delivery of both cages of milk and pallets of other dairy products.

"There were occasions when we were sending out a vehicle full of finished product, and then later sending out an empty milk tanker to collect milk," he recalls.

"They could both travel the same route, but carry a load in the opposite direction. We aren't the only company faced with this dilemma, but we are the first to deliver a solution and put one of the country's most innovative trailers on the road," he asserts.

Standing at 4.4m tall, the trailer looks very similar to a standard double deck trailer, but is 30cm taller than a standard refrigerated unit. It is 12.2m-long by 2.6m wide and has low profile running gear, with a lowered step-frame section on the bottom deck to accommodate the milk tank.

Built to operate at the maximum 44 tonnes allowed in the UK, the milk tank can hold 19,000 litres while the trailer accommodates 85 milk cages or 22 pallets.

Two years in the making, the new combination tanker trailer is now being trialled out of Arla's transport hub in Stourton, Leeds, using a new lightweight Scania tractor unit.

"We apply a detailed three-stage implementation plan to validate its performance," explains Gordon. "The individual farms collected by the trailer will be carefully selected, as the trailer is significantly larger than a normal farm collection tanker.

"It has been a tremendous project to work on, especially in the knowledge that we were breaking new ground," he adds.

Irvine says Arla intends to increase its fleet by 30 combination trailers by the end of 2013 in the UK. Arla's Sweden and Denmark logistics units are also considering incorporating the new combination trailers into their fleets.

Author
John Challen

Related Companies
Arla Foods plc
Crossland Tankers Ltd
Gray & Adams Ltd
Scania (Great Britain) Ltd

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