The T range at the heart of multi-modal transport
Multi-modal transport – such as delivering freight bysea and then byland – is expanding considerably: each year, over 500 million containers pass through the world’s ports. That’s 16 every second! The new Renault Trucks long-haul range has already forged a place in this logistics new deal. A focus on Macintyre Transport Ltd. at Felixstowe, the UK’s leading commercial port.
It’s six o’clock in the morning. The day has just begun for 38-year old Richard, a driver for MacIntyre Transport Ltd. The company was founded in 2000 and is specialised in container transport, with a fleet of 160 44-tonne vehicles. Its offices are a stones throw from the entrance to the Felixstowe docks. Richard’s roadmap: deliver a container from the port to the town of Grantham, over 200 kilometres to the North-West. After preparing and checking his Range T 460 6x2 truck, the first step is to pick up the container from the port.
At the port
The Felixstowe port’s multi-modal platform is open round the clock, seven days a week. Its cutting-edge installations and huge size are awesome. Kilometres of quays, a line-up of giant gantries, pile upon pile of containers as tall as high-rise buildings stacked in rows and separated by street-sized arteries. The gantries unload the containers from the cargo boats directly onto the port’s trucks, which take them to the dedicated storage spaces. There, other gantries load the containers onto the haulage company trucks, which will finally bring them to their destinations. Richard is at the entrance to the port complex. He goes through an automated check-in at the gate with a biometric badge and a fingerprint recognition system. Then he enters the reference code of the container to be loaded up and receives a ticket that indicates its exact location. This takes the form of an address made up of the specific storage area, the block, the row and the storey. Richard parks his truck at the place indicated. “The wait time is 30 minutes on average, sometimes more depending on the time of year.” Then the gantry lifts the container (whose dimensions are defined by international standard) and places it on the Renault Trucks Range T. The container carrier is equipped with clamps at all the angles to ensure that the container is firmly attached throughout the trip. Everything goes smoothly. Once the loading is completed, he drives directly to the exit gate for his check-out – a personal one, this time. Speed of turnaround is essential, both for port management and the hauliers. As Paul Davey, head of external relations for the port, points out, “road haulage is crucial for the port. It represents 70% of the total flow of goods. So we have to be efficient.”
On the road
The trucks are soon out of the port terminal thanks to the immediate proximity of road and motorway infrastructure: the A12 to London, the A14 in the direction of the Midlands. Richard takes the latter as the Renault Trucks Range T slides into the thick traffic. Steady speed, ease of overtaking, road-holding quality … the kilometres glide by as regular as clockwork. Its aerodynamics and its new driveline enable the truck to deliver good fuel consumption figures – a key advantage for Paul Miller, MacIntyre’s general manager. “Fuel savings and profitability are major challenges in our business. Not to mention the long-term reliability and robustness of the trucks. All these are the reasons why we opted for Renault Trucks. Our drivers also greatly appreciate the driving comfort and cab ergonomics.” Richard shares this view: “I like this truck. I do an average of 500 km a day, that’s over 100,000 km a year. It’s comfortable and functional. The visibility from my driver’s seat is excellent. Everything on the dashboard is easy to read and close at hand. And last but not least, its driving precision is convincing; it responds perfectly.” On arrival, Richard allows himself an hour’s break while the container is being unloaded. Three hours later he is back at MacIntyre, in time to unhook the trailer from the tractor and receive his schedule for the next day.