Volvo goes with the grain at Pontrilas Sawmills21 August 2017

Hereford-based Pontrilas Sawmills Ltd, 70 years old this year, is adding seven new Volvo FH-500 tractor units to its fleet.

The first three trucks were delivered in early July, whilst the remainder will go into service at the beginning of September.

Supplied by Darren Padfield at Truck and Bus Wales & West, Hereford, the Globetrotter cab-equipped FHs feature 3.2m wheelbase 6x2 tag axle chassis, Volvo D13K engines rated at 500hp and 12 speed I-Shift automated gearboxes.

The FHs join a 35-strong fleet that delivers round timber into the firm’s mill in Herefordshire and distributes finished soft and hardwoods across the UK. Pontrilas Timber also operates a hire and reward haulage service covering the UK mainland from Carlisle and Newcastle southwards.

The recent arrival of Volvo trucks comes after a successful trial using an FH demonstrator.

“That vehicle produced good fuel consumption figures and the purchase price was also attractive,” reported Phil Davies, group transport manager. He adds: “The new Volvos will operate right across our three main work streams, hauling round timber from the forest into our sawmill. They will also distribute milled timber products to our customers and be part of the general transport fleet hauling curtainside and flat trailers across the UK.

Volvo’s 6x2 tag axle tractor unit chassis will also deliver improved traction for the company on gravel roads and increased manoeuvrability on narrow forest tracks.

Pontrilas Timber operates a three-year retention period for its frontline tractor units and the seven new trucks all benefit from 36-month Volvo Gold Contracts.

“I have high hopes for the fuel consumption returns on our new Volvos, which each will average a round 120,000km per year,” Davies noted, adding, “I’ll be monitoring the performance levels with Dynafleet and I’m also pleased with the vehicle interior specification which includes Drive Plus, Living package with a single bunk and extra storage solutions. We operate a ‘one driver, one vehicle’ policy which helps keep the trucks to the highest standards inside and out.”

Will Dalrymple

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