Morrisons offers its customers “More of what matters”—and that’s exactly what it gets from Gray & Adams.
The United Kingdom-based supermarket chain has begun taking deliveries from the supplier to the temperature-controlled distribution industry of a third batch of maximum-length semitrailers. The last of these is scheduled to enter service next autumn, by which time Morrisons will be running well over 100 examples.
According to John Ward, head of engineering at Morrisons, the 15% increase in productivity arising from the fact that the 15.65-meter trailer is capable of carrying 30 pallets—four more than a standard 13.6-meter single-decker—translates into “tremendous” cost savings.
Gray & Adams also offers versions with command steer set-ups, but like their predecessors, Morrisons’ latest boxes are being fitted with 27-degree BPW self-tracking axles that allow them to meet turning circle requirements.
However, in a first for the supermarket chain, Morrisons has opted this time for multi-temperature refrigeration: Carrier Vector 1950s with dual-discharge slim line evaporators. Previously, it has specified single-temperature systems with fans.
Ward said, “We’ve purchased these latest trailers for operation in the south of the country, where there is more traffic congestion and where, as a result, the loads are likely to be on the vehicles for longer periods. The switch to multi-temperature refrigeration allows us to guarantee the integrity of three separate regimes in the most demanding of circumstances. The self-steer axle works very well and helps to ensure that the long trailers are able to access a very high proportion of our 400 large stores nationwide.”
Morrisons is running its extended semitrailers as part of a long-term trial launched in 2012 and backed by the UK’s Department for Transport. The government wants to see how the additional length—14.6-meter variants are also included—might help increase efficiency and cut the number of vehicles on UK roads.
As far as Ward is concerned, the case has already been made.
“We’ve also just ordered another clutch of lifting-deck 13.6-meter trailers from Gray & Adams,” he said. “That’s an excellent piece of equipment, and capable of carrying up to 40 pallets. But for obvious reasons, the lifting-deck trailer comes at a significantly higher capital cost than a 15.65-meter single-decker. For the majority of our deliveries, once you’ve factored in all of the variables, the long trailer is definitely the best solution, and one that’s producing tremendous savings worth many thousands of pounds per week.”
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