Elddis truck

Elddis Transport has won the Haulier of the Year Award

Elddis Transport has decided to introduce a number of 'urban artics' to its fleet after a successful trial of a 10m trailer last month.

The Consett-based company has been looking for a viable alternative to the 18-tonne rigids it normally operates within towns and cities.

The shorter trailers will be used to deliver "complementary consumer products", such as wine and food stuffs, with greater capacity than a rigid can offer.

Elddis will use Actros tractor-units to pull its bespoke urban trailers, providing the flexibility to put the Mercedes-Benz units onto trunking duties with full-length semi-trailers at night. To facilitate this, Elddis has ordered six new-shape Actros Euro-5 trucks.

The service is part of a tie-up with Kent’s Lenham Storage, which Elddis MD Nigel Cook describes as “an alternative to a pallet network”. It sees Elddis cover the North and Lenham the South.

“You can’t stand still now, as if you do you go backwards,” Cook says of the business’s efforts to achieve ever greater efficiencies through initiatives such as the shorter trailers.

For the year ended 31 December 2011, the company saw turnover increase 7% to £24.4m (2010: 22.8m) thanks to increased volume from existing customers, new business and a rise in its fuel surcharge. Although pre-tax profit fell 25% to £400,034 (2010: £529,927),  with the FMCG sector it serves remaining fiercely competitive, Cook is content.

“From our point of view, in the current climate we are happy. Yes, things are slightly down but the business remains profitable,” he tells MT.

The company will also by the end of this week have taken delivery of 10 of its 11 longer semi-trailers (both lengths) that it is running under the 10-year DfT trial, having showcased a huge curtainsider in May as part of the project.