Pratt’s Bananas falls over itself for Mercedes-Benz Actros tractors 21 December 2012

Britain's biggest, privately-owned importer and distributor of bananas has stood down its old fleet of 15 Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units, and replaced them with 20 new vehicles.

As before, Pratt's Bananas' new vehicles have Long Distance sleeper cabs and are the subject of a CharterWay contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services – arranged by dealer S&B Commercials.

This time, though, the Luton-based operator has gone for an increase in power: its latest trucks are all Actros 2546 models with 460bhp outputs, up from the 440bhp ratings of its previous Actros 2544s.

According to distribution manager David Frost, the result has been an immediate improvement in fuel efficiency. "We were previously running at 8.7 mpg but the fleet average is now sitting around 9 mpg," he states.

"Given that the vehicles are fully freighted at 44 tonnes most of the time, that's a figure we're very happy with," he continues.

"The Mercedes-Benz back-up is excellent," he adds. "S&B Commercials has just delivered another programme of training to our drivers, a number of whom are Polish – the fact that the dealer's driver-trainer has Polish parents and speaks the language fluently is a big help."

Pratt's was previously an own-account only distribution operation, but in the summer of 2011 the company launched a third-party logistics service covering ambient, chilled and frozen products.

"We might previously have made a delivery of bananas to Wakefield then returned empty," says Frost. "Now, though, we'll send the truck over to Bradford to collect ambient product, or to Grimsby for frozen product. This new venture has proved very successful and continues to grow strongly."

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
Mercedes-Benz UK Ltd
S&B Commercials plc

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