MSL Scotland has added three Actros tractor units kitted out with the latest MirrorCam system after a trial of the camera received glowing reviews from the Broxburn haulier’s drivers.
Whilst the rest of the Broxburn-based operator’s 18-strong fleet of Mercedes Benz trucks have traditional door mirrors, the three new Actros, supplied by Western Commercial, come with the rear-facing MirrorCam cameras that relay their images to screens mounted on the A-pillars inside the cab.
The camera eliminates blind spots, offers all round visibility and cuts diesel costs by around 1.3%, thanks to its streamlined housings which reduce aerodynamic drag.
MSL Director Dave Sharp said: “Western Commercial supplied a demonstration unit with MirrorCam, which I assigned to one of our experienced drivers. He’d never seen anything like it and was initially apprehensive, but within a few miles was fully converted.
“Everyone who has since tried the system – myself included – has reached the same conclusion. Once you’ve seen the improved visibility it offers, especially down the blind side when making tight turns, you would not want to go back to old-style mirrors. MirrorCam is definitely the way forward.”
MSL acquired its first Actros tractor units in 2013. By 2016 it had converted its entire fleet to Mercedes-Benz. It now runs a fleet of 18 trucks. Most are tractor units, but the line-up also includes three 26-tonne curtainsiders with rear-mounted forklifts.
The new tractor units, which are on a contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Finance, come with GigaSpace cabs. The 2548 models are powered by 350 kW (476 hp) 12.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engines.
Western Commercial has also just delivered another 26-tonne Actros, a 2530 with StreamSpace cab and 7.7-litre ‘straight-six’ producing 220 kW (300 hp). Its curtainside body is by Truckcraft of Stalybridge.
Sharp added: “We put all our eggs in the Mercedes-Benz basket four years ago because the Actros had proved to be extremely fuel-efficient and very popular with our drivers, while Western Commercial’s back-up was exemplary.
“Since then our relationship with the dealer has gone from strength to strength, and we now have a great rapport with its team.
“As for the trucks, they just get better at the pumps. At 480 hp the demonstrator we trialled represented a step up in power from our established 450s, but it still produced average mpg returns that were comfortably into the 10s, and the early indications suggest that our new tractors will do every bit as well.”
Sharp said the quality of the fleet was key to driver retention and maintaining customer service levels and safety standards.
He said: “We’re up against some big hauliers in this part of the world, so have had to carve our own niche. We focus on providing the best possible customer service, and to deliver on that promise we make a big effort to recruit and retain the best drivers.
“That’s why we choose the biggest cabs and high specifications – the guys are away from home all week and if they’re in a comfortable, well-designed vehicle they’re much better able to work safely and efficiently.”
The company has been relatively unscathed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as trunking between mail and parcel delivery depots, its trucks have been transporting Covid-19 testing kits to and from an NHS testing hub in the Midlands.
“Purely by accident, it’s been a very busy year,” Sharp said. “We’re proud to have played a small part in the important work our customers undertake, and that our Actros fleet helps us to provide them with the reliable service they need.”