Fowler Welch has revealed to MT that it is running an extensive Euro-6 trial, ahead of its planned fleet replacement purchasing next year.

Nick Hay, MD of the chilled, ambient and FMCG operator, said the company will be trialling 24 Euro-6 tractor units, comprising: five each from MAN, Mercedes-Benz and Scania, due for delivery by December this year; four from Daf, which will be on the road by January; and five from Volvo, which have already started working out of Fowler Welch’s Heywood, Lancashire NDC.

The duration of the trial will be dictated by manufacturer lead times, Hay told MT, however he is aiming for it to run until at least June.

All vehicles will work on comparable jobs, allowing benchmarking of results, and will be fitted with telematics to record key data, with results analysed by an in-house team.

Hay told MT it was important for the company to gain experience of the new Euro-6 technology as early as possible, and that he fully expected a few hiccups along the way, but he wanted to see how each manufacturer dealt with problems.

“We understand there will be challenges in this trial. We recognise it is new technology, we recognise there will be teething problems to overcome. We accept that. But we want to see how the manufacturers respond to this. Will we get the support we need?” he asked.

FowlerWelchNick Hay

Nick Hay of Fowler Welch

Fowler Welch plans to replace a quarter of its 400-strong truck fleet in December 2014, added Hay.

“Whether we will award the full order to one manufacturer will depend on whether someone stands out above the rest. It is doubtful we would order from more than two marques.”

  • Fowler Welch parent company Dart Group said in a trading update yesterday that: "Our distribution & Logistics business, Fowler Welch, continued to make good operational progress in the first six months but profitability was adversely affected due to the varied profile of volumes handled during late July, August and September. Nevertheless, the strategy of the business remains consistent; continuing to focus on growing its revenue pipeline and delivering operational efficiency improvements in a sector that continues to experience tight margins.