The new trucks will not only work for Ketra, but also for its sister business IEFS Logistics in Barking, east London. Both businesses are members of the Palletways pallet network: Ketra handles the SE and DA postcodes, while IEFS handles the IG and E postcodes.
Both businesses are owned by former Palletways MD Martyn Young. He said: "This is the biggest trading decision for Ketra since I took it over. We’ve previously contract hired de-fleeted trucks, but I look at these new trucks that we’ll be running for the next five years and I know we’re exactly where we need to be.
Key to this specification was ensuring the trucks were DVS-compliant. Young explained: "We needed to make the commitment to vulnerable road users in London; we wanted our trucks to be as safe as possible - and our old fleet would not have been DVS-compliant. This new fleet not only means that we’re compliant now, but also when the standard becomes tougher in 2024 and sets the minimum requirement at three stars - and this means we won’t need to worry about retrofitting vehicles or replacing them in three years’ time."
The DVS specification was a joint effort, featuring a mixture of Ryder’s preferred nearside sensors and audible warning system and Ketra’s choice of camera system. The 18-tonners feature a passenger side lower window to increase visibility.
Ryder has also fitted the new trucks with TRAILAR solar matting; the energy the mats harvest will be used to power ancillaries including the tail lifts. "It’s important to Ketra and our customers that our fleet is as efficient and green as possible. We look forward to the benefits the TRAILAR technology can deliver, especially a demonstrable reduction in our CO2 emissions."
The truck bodies feature a strapping system from CV Roller for load security and full rear closure Dhollandia cantilever tail lifts.
Young favoured DAF trucks "because of the reliability and the commitment to repairs and spares; we did look at others, but DAF was the right way to go".
Previously Ketra managed the service and maintenance of its trucks, but has now entrusted Ryder to do this through its accredited FleetCare providers. Young said: "We used to manage the maintenance, but we ran the numbers over and over again, and we were aware of the hidden cost of the management time spent on it. These new trucks will be looked after by HTC DAF Belvedere and Harris DAF in Thurrock, and we’re putting our faith in Ryder’s management of that service."