Elddis Transport is focusing on efficiency with new trucks and trailers in a bid to mitigate the effect of the rising price of fuel.

The Consett-based operator will take delivery of 10 new Actros units in June from Bell Truck and Van, having already bolstered its fleet with 20  Euro-5 units.

MD Nigel Cook told MT that while he welcomed the fact that the fuel duty rise was cancelled in the Budget, rather than deferred, he wants the government to do more to tackle the issue.

“Fuel is still a major issue in the industry and it is something that the government needs to help support. Last year was a fairly good year from a business point of view, but fuel remains the major issue as it is hauliers’ largest cost,” Cook said.

Although Elddis has had a fuel surcharge in place for more than a decade, which it reviews monthly, Cook said fuel price volatility in recent years meant the contingency  was imperfect.

Last year, Elddis found a Mercedes-Benz Euro-6-powered 420hp artic was more fuel efficient than its old shape Euro-5 Actros trucks, after running them side by side.

However, it opted for Euro-5 new Actros trucks, which it expects will deliver greater mpg efficiency than the new Euro-6 unit.

The operator also plans to get its 11th longer semi-trailer into operation this year, which will complete its DfT allocation. “Our longer semis are running very well; our busiest one has covered more than 325,000km without incident,” said Cook.

Elddis Transport increased its turnover by 7% to £24.3m (2010: £22.7m) in 2011 following a boost in existing and new business, but pre-tax profit dropped 25% from £529,927 to £400,034.

Additional reporting by Derren Hayes