Bacton Transport is going places with latest fleet investment

To mark the 10th anniversary of the relationship between Bacton Transport and Orwell Truck & Van, Ba

To mark the 10th anniversary of the relationship between Bacton Transport and Orwell Truck & Van, Bacton director Edward Downie, right, was presented by Orwell sales manager Paul Simpson with a 1:50 scale model of one of the operator's new Mercedes-Benz Actros vehicles. - Credit: Craig Pusey Photography

Suffolk haulier Bacton Transport has marked 10 years of trading with its local Mercedes-Benz dealer by investing in another eight new Actros tractor units.

The latest arrivals, all of which represent extensions to the fleet rather than replacements, are Actros 2545 models featuring aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs, and have been acquired under a CharterWay contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.

They join eight other tractor units from the current Actros generation, five of which were among the first to enter service in the UK, having been on the road since the autumn of 2012, as well as four MegaSpace units from the previous Actros range.

Bacton Transport, a member of the Road Haulage Association and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, is based on the Tomo Industrial Estate in Stowmarket. It provides a comprehensive range of palletised freight and contract distribution services throughout the UK and Ireland, and has achieved Silver accreditation from Transport for London’s Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS).

The company’s roots go back to the 1950s when TW Gooderham began transporting cereals and grains from farms to markets in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich.

Today, it is run by his grandsons, managing director Charles Downie and director Edward Downie, who succeeded their father James on his retirement.

Bacton Transport’s first Euro VI trucks are powered by state-of-the-art 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines which drive through Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions.

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In a first for the operator, they are also equipped with optional Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) systems – a form of cruise control that employs 3D GPS mapping to read three kilometres of topography ahead then responds by controlling speed, braking and the transmission to maximise fuel efficiency.

Mercedes-Benz says the system can cut fuel costs by up to 5%, though some operators have reported significantly higher savings.

The introduction of Bacton Transport’s new trucks coincided with the delivery by SDC of six new curtain-sided semi-trailers with tail-lifts for horticultural work, with another six trailers due from Montracon in April.

Edward Downie said: “We commissioned our first Actros in 2004 and the fuel efficiency and driver acceptance were both very good from the outset.

“The new-shape Actros have performed particularly well in terms of fuel efficiency, regularly returning over 10 mpg. We look forward to seeing by how much the PPC systems can improve on figures which are already excellent.”

He continued: “The CharterWay contract hire packages are competitively priced and allow us to budget with accuracy, while Orwell Truck & Van’s back-up is outstanding.

“Its workshops are highly efficient so that routine inspections and servicing are carried out with the minimum of fuss, and we have a 100% MoT test pass rate.

“Experience has also shown that if we need anything doing at short notice, they’ll bend over backwards to accommodate us.”