Blakemans continues its transition to a full Volvo fleet

Sausage maker James T Blakeman and Co. Ltd has taken delivery of three Volvo FH Globetrotter XL trucks after making the decision to entrust its entire distribution fleet to the Swedish manufacturer.

The 6×2 tractors join three existing FHs that were delivered in 2020, with the new models benefiting from updated styling, improved fuel saving features and a newly designed interior, incorporating an instrument display 12-inch all-digital high resolution. Supplied by Mark Lingard, Customer Solutions Manager at Thomas Hardie Commercials, the FHs are powered by Volvo’s D13K Euro-6 engine, rated at 500hp and generating up to 2,500Nm of torque.

Nathan Hodgkiss, transport manager at Blakemans, says: “We felt it was the right decision for us to switch to a one-maker fleet and it was a fairly simple choice to go with Volvo. It is a manufacturer of premium trucks with excellent build quality, very high safety standards, reliability and excellent fuel economy. We get a very good level of service from Thomas Hardie Commercials, which is essential for us to eliminate downtime.

“Driver influence was another big factor. All the drivers really like Volvos and these new models from FH with the Globetrotter XL cabs go even further. It’s a great truck and a really nice working environment. We still have one truck to replace, but by the end of the year, all seven vehicles in the fleet will be Volvos.

Blakemans will use the FHs to supply its own sausages to the UK catering industry and ready meal manufacturers. Backed by Volvo Gold Contracts, for maximum uptime and assurance, the FHs will each run around 75,000 miles a year, working five days a week, with all service and maintenance carried out by the Thomas Hardie Commercials depot in Middlewich.

“Our drivers can be on the road for several days in a row – we drive up to Aberdeen and down to Plymouth, so it’s important that they are happy in their vehicle,” says Nathan.

To further improve the comfort of the Globetrotter XL cabs, Blakemans has specified the FHs with the Drive++ and Living Plus packs. Benefits include an electrically operated tinted glass roof hatch, dual armrests for the driver and passenger seats, side sun visors, leather upholstery and steering wheel, a 33-litre under-berth fridge, as well as a DAB radio and satellite navigation.

The trucks are also equipped with Volvo’s I-Park Cool, an intelligent night-time climate control system, allowing drivers to sleep at their chosen temperature from dusk to dawn. Fitted at the factory, it has no impact on fuel consumption.

Safety is enhanced with the Visibility Plus pack, which includes electric heated main and wide-angle mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and LED headlights.

“We like to have them specified at a very high level,” adds Nathan. “These are really nice trucks, combining all the comfort you could want for the driver, with good reliability too – which is so important in our business.”

One of Europe’s largest manufacturers of charcuterie and meat products, the Blakeman family have been supplying the UK, export catering and fast food markets for nearly 70 years. Today the company operates from its Newcastle-under-Lyme production facility and has secured a reputation for consistently high quality products, employing a workforce of over 250 people. Its client portfolio includes Booker Group, Marks & Spencer and Greggs.

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