Commercial Motor Magazine | 16 July 2008 | By Paul Howard
A sea change in the way certain operators, such as builders’ merchants, approach multi-drop deliveries could result in a reduction in fuel costs per vehicle of up to 32%, or more than £10,000 per year, according to truck-mounted forklift manufacturer Loadmac. The firm’s calculation comes on the back of savings made by one its customers when it swapped from flatbed trucks with lorry loader cranes.
Builders’ merchant AW Lumb swapped eight vehicles to truck-mounted forklift-equipped curtainsiders and, according to Mark Hignett, managing director at Loadmac, saw fuel consumption across its fleet fall from 6.5mpg to 10.5mpg. At current fuel prices, that equates to an annual saving, once other costs associated with truck-mounted forklifts have been deducted, of £10,497 per truck per year.
On otherwise identical Scania trucks with identical gearboxes, the benefits derive from adopting a different, more fuel efficient way of loading and unloading trucks. “With a truck-mounted forklift, you turn the truck engine off in the yard and use the forklift to load up,” says Hignett. “At the other end, you just park as near to the site as possible and, with the truck engine turned off again, unload to precisely where material is needed.”
He adds: “With a lorry loader, both loading and unloading are done with the lorry engine running. That’s a 9-10 litre engine running all the time just to produce the 25hp needed to operate the crane. Using a truck-mounted forklift this engine is off and all you’re using for loading is a 1.5-litre Kubota diesel engine.”
Other benefits of the new fleet include improved access to site, reduced work at height through not climbing on to the lorry to operate the crane or sling loads, and having a curtainsider to secure the load rather than a flatbed. The main benefit, though, has been the fuel savings across the fleet, which averages 40,000 miles per truck per year.
“We’re not saying there’d be a huge difference if you drove 400 miles for one drop,” adds Hignett. “But if you’re doing 20-30 miles with several drops there’s a significant benefit. People are throwing away operating revenue every day.”