Fast-growing JCT Truck & Trailer Rental landed a prestigious contract hire deal after making a compelling case for the operation of premium quality Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The company, which is based in Tamworth, Staffordshire, has just taken delivery from Dealer Midlands Truck & Van of two 26-tonne Actros – one of which pulls a drawbar trailer – and a trio of 3.5-tonne Sprinter chassis cabs.
All wear the eye-catching livery of JCT’s new customer SAS International. The market-leading manufacturer of internal building products has headquarters in Reading, but the new trucks and vans are now working from its production facility in Oldbury, West Midlands.
JCT Truck & Trailer Rental is a trading name of J Clarke Transport, a company with roots that date back to 1950. J Clarke Transport was primarily a haulier until 2005, when it changed tack to focus on what had previously been a sideline – vehicle rental. Today, JCT owns a mixed-marque fleet of approximately 400 trucks and 100 vans.
Director of Operations Rob Pallett explained: “Cost will always be critical in the rental business, and our new Mercedes-Benz vehicles were certainly competitively priced. But other factors came into play, too. We were keen to source the trucks and the vans from a single supplier, which ruled out several other manufacturers from the outset.
“The product itself had to be right, of course. For example, SAS wanted big sleeper cabs on the trucks, a requirement we were able to fulfil by specifying long-distance Actros models. We also know from our previous experience of owning Mercedes-Benz vehicles that they offer the reliability, fuel economy and driver appeal SAS was looking for.”
Aftersales support was crucial, too. Routine inspections and servicing of the SAS vehicles will be undertaken at the purpose-built base to which J Clarke Transport moved in 2015, where facilities include a five-bay workshop and a bodyshop.
However, Midlands Truck & Van will carry out any warranty or more complex maintenance work, while also making timely deliveries of Mercedes-Benz GenuineParts. “We like the customer-focused back-up we receive from Midlands Truck & Van,” continued Mr Pallett.
Fitted with curtainside bodywork by Transport Enterprises, of Broughton Astley, Leicester, the new vehicles are now delivering SAS International’s products – metal ceilings, architectural metalwork, lighting and room comfort systems – to customers nationwide.
The Actros will each cover 140,000 miles a year. Both have aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and lifting tag axles, and employ state-of-the-art six-cylinder engines paired with smooth, fuel-efficient Mercedes PowerShift transmissions.
The drawbar unit is a 2540 model with 10.7-litre engine producing 290 kW (394 hp). Plated for operation at up to 40 tonnes GTW, it offers SAS an ideal combination of carrying capacity and flexibility, with the driver able to drop the twin-axled trailer then complete deliveries in busy towns and cities using the truck alone.
The solus Actros 2532, which carries a Moffett Mounty forklift, is powered by a 7.7-litre straight-six with 235 kW (320 hp) output, while all three Sprinters are 314 CDI variants with 105kW (143 hp) 2.1-litre turbodiesels.
“When we weighed up the complete package, everything pointed towards Mercedes-Benz as the brand that offered the best solution for our customer,” confirmed Rob Pallet.
J Clarke Transport is a fourth-generation family enterprise. The grandparents of Managing Director Andy Rowe acquired the company from the widow of founder Jim Clarke in the late 1950s – Mr Rowe’s sons Jamie and Oliver are also in the early stages of their careers with the business.