In the face of rising energy prices and the general economic down turn, reducing transport costs has become increasingly important for the retail sector. At the same time - as environmental concerns are playing a growing role in forming consumer opinions - retailers are recognising the need to develop their green credentials.
Transporting goods using double deck trailers provides the ideal opportunity to achieve both of these aims. In the retail sector, typically, double deck trailers carry 67% more goods per vehicle than single deck models. The Energy Saving Trust website states: Double-deck trailers can improve the efficiency of a business by increasing load volume, cutting unnecessary mileage and reducing fleet sizes.
The current retail trend is for a hydraulically-powered second deck. However, this configuration incurs significant operational limitations. The onboard hydraulics can add up to 5 tonnes to the vehicle weight, reducing the available payload. In addition, a powered double deck trailer typically costs around 35,000 more to buy than a trailer with a fixed second deck.
Mark Adams, managing director of Transdek UK Ltd says: By opting for fixed double deckers, operators enjoy much more flexibility. For supermarkets, these trailers can mean the difference between simply moving watercress - or enjoying the ability to move mixed loads of every product in their ranges.
Tesco are the leading user of fixed double deck trailers, but they are not alone. Superdrug, Halfords, Musgrave and Alliance Boots have also realised the benefits of these vehicles.
Having previously trialled powered trailers, Alliance Boots decided to move to lighter weight, fixed double deck trailers, and commissioned Transdek to convert all of their regional distribution centres for double deck operations.
Transdek carried out a feasibility study for each Boots distribution centre to ensure vehicle accessibility and began installation of an initial 50, 6.5 tonne, 12 cage double-deck hydraulic lifts.
These double deck lifts are compact, fully equipped, surface mounted units. Their installation does not require any civil construction work - a feature that delivers considerable cost saving. The main structural sub assemblies are fabricated, tested and quality approved at an off site location. This means that onsite installation and commissioning takes only one to two days.
Transdek units are also designed to provide fast and easy access to all working components. This provides trouble-free scheduled maintenance and reduced operational costs.
By focusing on rapid installation and a compact lift design, Transdek have greatly increased the number of places where these trailers can deliver. To date, double deck trailers have rarely been used to deliver direct to retail outlets. It is Transdeks belief that this will shortly change, opening up the possibility of savings across a much larger section of the retail distribution network.
We believe fixed double deck trailers represent the future of long haul retail distribution in the UK, said Mark Adams, and we aim to supply the optimum information and hardware to enable this to happen.