In a bid to maximise efficiencies across its truck fleet, refrigerated haulage specialist Freezex has been trialling a single-drive UD GK 400 prime mover in its local distribution operation. So far, it’s all good news.
Focusing on the storage and local distribution of perishable foodstuffs, Freezex operates a 20-strong truck fleet from its MarsdenPark (westernSydney) cold storage facility. With the help of sub-contractors and an affiliate network, the company delivers over 500 pallets of products to more than 80 destinations daily.
According to the company’s co-manager Ben Howard-Bath, the acquisition of a semi-automated GK 400 prime mover was essentially a trial of the single-drive prime mover configuration. Yet even at this early stage it’s shaping up as the prime mover of choice for the business in the future.
“Comfort, cost and manoeuvrability are the big things for us,” Ben commented. “Lower registration costs when compared to a tandem drive prime mover, and fewer tyres to wear out. And the manoeuvrability of that truck is awesome; you can get into really tight driveways because it basically ‘turns on a dime’.
“This first truck has been a trial for our business, and it’s really paid off.”
Ben and his brother Luke co-manage the Freezex business, and their typical hands-on approach saw Ben get behind the wheel of the UD for its test period. Accordingly, one of the stand-out features of the prime mover is the nine-speed semi-automated (ESCOT II) transmission.
“The creature comforts are great,” he enthused. “In particular, I appreciate the semi-automated transmission because it just makes the job that much easier. It also broadens the field when we are looking to put on new drivers.
“We haul dairy products over to the northern beaches and there are quite a few hills on the way. It makes a massive difference to the comfort of your day when you don’t have to push the clutch in at every change.”
While this particular unit is the first new UD to join the Freezex fleet, the company commenced a fleet renewal program four years ago and says the rewards have been flowing ever since.
“We have moved away from running old gear with the associated big repair bills and it has transformed our business,” Ben explained. “It’s certainly put paid to regular mechanical breakdowns and down time.”