All are Mercedes-Benz models, with the exception of the latest – a 7.5-tonne Fuso Canter. Despite having a different badge on the front, it, too, is from the Daimler family; the FUSO Canter light truck range is sold and supported by Mercedes-Benz Trucks and its dealer network in Great Britain.
A 66-registered 7C18 model, the Canter is powered by a 3.0-litre common-rail turbodiesel which produces 129 kW (173bhp) and up to 430Nm of torque across a broad engine speed range. It works alongside a Mercedes-Benz Axor on the Pall-Ex pallet delivery network contract, which John Dinham Transport took up last year.
Though initially reluctant even to try the Canter, Dinham agreed to take the test drive offered by City West Commercials. He was so impressed with the experience that he purchased it there and then.
The Canter is proving highly productive, thanks to its weight-carrying capacity and the compact size that makes it exceptionally agile. “We cover Bristol postcodes for Pall-Ex, and the Canter is ideal for delivering palletised goods in and around the city, as well as heavy consignments for builders’ merchants and the like.
“Ours offers an outstanding payload allowance of approximately 3.8 tonnes, while its tight turning circle is also a huge advantage. It doesn’t carry as much as the 18-tonner, of course, so might have to do two trips for every one by the bigger truck, but the fact that it gets around so much more quickly gives it a big advantage.”
Established by Dinham in 2013 with a single truck which he drove, the company that bears his name now runs 20 vehicles, and puts work the way of subcontractors as well. Most of the trucks on the John Dinham Transport fleet are Actros tractor units, one of which trunks nightly to the Pall-Ex hub in Coalville, Leicestershire.
“The Actros has been a great asset to the business over the last four years, due to its reliability and low running costs,” he confirmed. “It’s also very popular with our drivers, not least because we choose big, flat-floored cabs, which helps when it comes to retention”.
John Dinham Transport was also kept busy throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period by one of the biggest names in online retailing. It has just moved into new premises in Avonmouth. At 1.6 acres, the operator’s new site offers 50% more space than its previous base, giving it an ideal platform from which to pursue its growth strategy.
Explaining his approach to vehicle acquisitions, Dinham said: “We’ve always preferred to buy used rather than new vehicles because they represent such good value for money.”
An Approved Used Mercedes-Benz or Fuso truck undergoes multiple inspections, must be less than seven-years old and have covered fewer than 700,000 km. It also comes with a minimum of six months’ MOT and mechanical breakdown insurance cover.
Continued Dinham: “We maintain our trucks in-house but rely on City West Commercials’ very good parts back-up.”