First Econic trucks enter service outside London
Mick George graduate to low-entry, high-visibility Mercedes-Benz trucks for Cambridge duties
TIPPER Haulier of the Year Mick George Ltd have further enhanced their safety credentials by commissioning the first Mercedes-Benz Econic construction vehicles for operation outside the capital.
The new trucks will spend much of their time working in and around historic Cambridge, which has been described as the UK’s ‘city of cycling’.
The Mercedes-Benz Econic combines a panoramic windscreen and full-height glazed passenger door with a low seating position that allows the driver to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians at junctions and in traffic.
This means the low-entry chassis offers significant safety advantages in a university city where, it has been estimated, one in five journeys is made by bike, many of them by students.
A leading supplier to the construction industry in East Anglia and the East Midlands, Huntingdon-based Mick George operate quarries, landfill sites and waste-transfer stations, and provide bulk excavation and earthmoving, aggregate supply and waste-management services.
The company’s success in winning the Tipper Haulier of the Year title at the 2016 Tip-ex/Tank-ex awards came shortly after securing Gold accreditation from the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). The company is also a CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety) Champion.
Mick George’s new vehicles are being supplied by Orwell Truck & Van, and will be inspected and serviced under Mercedes-Benz repair and maintenance contracts at the East Anglia dealer’s recently opened branch in Newmarket.
The order comprises five 18-tonne Econic 1830s with Hyva skip-loader bodies and five 32-tonne Econic 3235 ENAs with alloy tipping bodies by Wilcox. The eight-wheelers, which offer a payload of 20,450kg, have single front-steer axles, double-drive bogies and rear-steer axles, giving them a tight turning circle and making them significantly more manoeuvrable than a standard 8x4 construction trucks – a major advantage for operation in tight streets.
Orwell have also supplied Mick George with a pair of 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Arocs 1824s with Multilift skip-loading equipment, and are currently processing orders for three more Econics with Heil refuse bodies.
Like all of Mick George’s trucks, the new Econics and Arocs are fitted with additional safety features including five cameras, nearside proximity scan systems, left and right turn audible alarms and additional warning markings.
Explaining the company’s decision to purchase its first Mercedes-Benz trucks, transport manager Joe Gossage said: ‘The Econic is one of only two bona fide low-entry urban safety vehicles currently available, and by far the more industry proven. That said, the procurement decision also came down to which manufacturer and dealer we believe can offer us the best service and breakdown provision.
‘The safety of our staff, communities, clients, contractors and the people we work alongside is of utmost importance to Mick George. The introduction of these Econic chassis further underlines our determination to minimize the risk to vulnerable road users. The enhanced field of vision which this vehicle offers will be a real advantage to our drivers when navigating through cities or in complex situations, while its two-step low entry minimizes the possibility of injury when accessing the cab.’
Mick George invest heavily in the training and development of their drivers, all of whom receive practical and classroom-based instruction that focuses specifically on urban environments and the protection of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. One element of this programme entails drivers getting on bikes themselves, to gain a cyclist’s perspective of what it is like to ride in heavy traffic.
Mr Gossage added: ‘Low-entry, high-visibility vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz Econic will play an important part in our road transport operation’s future. Having made such a significant investment in these vehicles, we hope they will prove viable for future procurement decisions and can be rolled out to some of the other areas in which we operate.’
Over the last 12–18 months, the heightened focus on cyclist and pedestrian safety has seen Mercedes-Benz win a string of high-profile orders for Econic-based tippers, tipper-grabs, skip-loaders and mixers from construction sector operators working in London. Mick George’s new trucks are the first Econic construction vehicles to enter service outside the capital.