A commitment to the industry's highest safety standards led container specialist Pentalver to invest in a new fleet of 26 Mercedes-Benz tractor units equipped with the manufacturer's ground-breaking Active Brake Assist 4 technology.
All Actros 2545 models with range-topping GigaSpace cabs, they arrived via south coast Dealer Marshall Truck & Van and are now working from the Port of Southampton.
The new trucks have replaced a previous fleet of Actros which had provided reliable, cost-effective service since 2013. The operator has again signed up to a contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
Key to Pentalver's decision to specify its latest vehicles with optional Mercedes-Benz Safety Packs was its acquisition last May by the US-based Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), a global operator of short line and regional railways.
Shaun Allen, Pentalver's Chief Operating Officer, explained: "We had high safety standards previously, but the new owner has raised the bar by another substantial notch. Safety is a cornerstone of the Genesee & Wyoming business and its culture now informs every decision we take at Pentalver."
He recalled: "We invited all of the major manufacturers to tender on the basis of a revised specification which focused particularly on safety features, as well as value for money. It soon became clear that Mercedes-Benz had a definite edge over the competition in terms of accident prevention technology, particularly with its emergency braking system, while our previous experience with the Actros meant we knew it was more than up to the job."
Greater Safety is one of the three pillars of Mercedes-Benz Trucks' comprehensive RoadEfficiency strategy, the others being Low Total Costs and Maximised Use. The Mercedes-Benz Safety Pack also includes the Proximity Control Assist system and a driver's airbag, and offers customers significant savings on the price they would pay if purchasing these items individually.
Active Brake Assist 4 employs multi-mode radar to monitor moving and stationary objects in front of the vehicle, and sounds an audible warning when it senses potential for a collision. If the driver takes no action, it will apply staged braking followed by full braking power to prevent a crash, or dramatically reduce the effects of an impact.
The system incorporates a 'world first' in the form of pedestrian recognition. On detecting a moving pedestrian – even one stepping into the truck's path from behind a parked car – it can apply partial braking while simultaneously activating acoustic and visual warnings, up to a speed of 50 km/h.
Proximity Control Assist, meanwhile, works in conjunction with the truck's cruise control to restrict speed and maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle in front. This system reduces the risk of rear-end shunts and promotes more comfortable, stress-free driving in nose-to-tail traffic.
Powered by economical, 330 kW (450 hp) six-cylinder engines paired with smooth, efficient Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions, the trucks are additionally equipped with a full complement of recordable cameras installed by SB Components, of Wisbech.
Pentalver is accredited to Silver standard by the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme, but is now 'going for Gold'. "The advanced safety technology on these new Mercedes-Benz trucks can only help us to achieve this goal," continued Shaun Allen.
"Our drivers are also delighted with their roomy, comfortable GigaSpace cabs, which are fitted with microwave ovens and fridges. Good drivers are in short supply these days so it makes sense for us to look after them by providing the best possible equipment."
As with their predecessors, the new Actros are now being inspected and serviced at Marshall Truck & Van's service centre on Southampton's Nursling Industrial Estate.
Pentalver's Southampton Transport Manager Russell Baker added: "We have great relationships with Marshall's workshop team, who provide a high level of communication and an exemplary service; we know that when the pressure's on we can always rely on their support. The same is true of the Dealer's Truck Sales Manager Tony Wright – if he says he can do something, he'll always do it."
Pentalver Transport commenced trading from the Port of Southampton in 1980 with 16 trucks. Today, the Pentalver Group is a leading provider of container-related activities in the UK and operates a fleet of 151 tractor units, while sister company Freightliner, which specialises in rail freight, also runs 217 tractors. Pentalver's five sites – it also has a purpose-built container facility in Cannock and other depots in Felixstowe, Tilbury and London Gateway – offer a combined 37,500 TEU (standard 20ft-long shipping container) capacity.