GCE HIRE FLEET IS A COMPANY THAT PRIDES ITSELF ON QUALITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION PLANT IT SUPPLIES AND THE VEHICLES IT USES TO DELIVER WITH. HARRISON THOMAS CATCHES UP WITH THE MAJOR PLAYERS AT THE BUSINESS TO FIND OUT MORE.
Brian Aldridge, or ‘Titch’ as he’s better known, knows a thing or two about heavy haulage. Now approaching his 71st birthday, he’s been driving big, powerful machines for the best part of five decades.
His current ride is a Volvo FH16 650 that he pilots for Peterborough-based GCE Hire Fleet, transporting heavy plant across the country. Paired with a five-axle Faymonville trailer, it’s a great tool for the job, Titch tells us. And he should know.
“I’ve been doing heavy haulage for 48 years now,” he says. “I’ve never enjoyed general haulage or container work. In this job, you’re up against different challenges all the time, with routes, escort vehicles, and all that sort of thing to work out. It takes more planning, and more strategy. It’s just more interesting. Every day is different.”
AS SCOTTISH FAMILY FIRM CADZOW HEAVY HAULAGE CELEBRATES ITS 50TH YEAR IN OPERATION, DOUGIE RANKINE EXPLORES THE COMPANY'S HISTORY, ITS MOVE FROM PLANT HIRE TO HEAVY HAULAGE, AND THE ONGOING LEGACY OF ITS FOUNDER, JIM MACAULEY.
One of the best known and most recognisable heavy fleets in the country is Cadzow Heavy Haulage, based in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire. This year marks the company’s 50th anniversary, but while a lot has changed since 1973, Cadzow remains a close-knit family run firm with a number of long- serving employees. Company directors Margaret and Elizabeth are the daughters of the late Jim Macauley, who not only established Cadzow but went on to become one of the great pioneers, influencers and innovators of the heavy haulage sector. Jim passed away in 2016 age 70, but his legacy lives on through his family, his employees, and the role he played in standing up for the industry.
The origins of Cadzow can be traced back to 1957 when James Macauley Snr established a business focused on civil engineering works. His two sons Robert and James Jnr (‘Jim’) soon joined him and they gradually built up a fleet of tipper trucks and excavators, carrying out a lot of road repair work. Robert had initially worked as a bricklayer in the local steelworks, while Jim served an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic at Taggart and Wilson in Motherwell.
MURPHY PLANT IS A FAMILIAR SITE ON UK ROADS, CARRYING HEAVY LOADS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AND IT'S A COMPANY WITH AN EXEMPLARY CODE OF CONDUCT WHEN IT COMES TO LOOKING AFTER ITS DRIVERS, AS WELL AS TAKING CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AS IT GOES ABOUT ITS BUSINESS, WRITES DAN PARTON.
With its distinctive smart dark green livery, Murphy Plant is one of the better-known heavy haulage companies operating in the UK. Part of the wider Murphy Group – which undertakes a range of infrastructure and energy-related work – it manages and maintains more than £100m-worth of plant, transport and specialist equipment, which is sent around the country.
In all, Murphy Plant has more than 15,000 assets on its books which require specialist transport. And that specialist transport includes two 150-tonne 4-axle Mercedes-Benz Actros with a Nooteboom lowloader with steel suspension, as well as two 120-tonne 2-axle Actros on air suspension. The firm also has a state-of-the-art 4-axle Faymonville hydro-shift stepframe and a 4-axle Nooteboom stepframe, among other trailers.
DAF'S NEW TRUCK RANGE REPRESENTS A MAJOR STEP FORWARD IN MANY RESPECTS AND PROVIDES NUMEROUS MODELS THAT WILL BE OF INTEREST TO HEAVY HAULAGE OPERATORS, AS BOB BEECH REPORTS.
DAF Trucks has progressively launched its new truck range over the last two years. The mainstream haulage models came first, in the shape of the XF, XG and XG+, the latter two sporting their ground-breaking extended cab design which provides much-needed extra living space for drivers on long-distance operations.
The Dutch manufacturer has cleverly interpreted new EU overall length rules permitting a 500mm increase in vehicle length to allow for an effective front-end impact absorbing zone to minimise the effects of a collision. The DAF engineering and design team found that just a 160mm additional forward projection was required to achieve an effective crumple zone, which posed the question of whether the rest of the extra length could be used to extend the cab shell, pushing the rear wall back by 330mm to provide more living and sleeping space.
After careful consultation with the authorities, DAF went ahead with the new design and stole a march on the competition with its new extra-long cab, which was launched in summer 2021.
EDWARD MACKAY HAS BEEN A WELL-KNOWN NAME IN THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND FOR 65 YEARS, THANKS TO ITS STRIKING FLEET OF YELLOW AND RED TRUCKS. BUT WHILE THE WORK THE COMPANY DOES IS OFTEN CRUCIAL, IT IS USUALLY UNSEEN ONCE COMPLETED, AS DAN PARTON FINDS OUT.
As the UK looks to decarbonise in coming years and achieve the challenging targets the government has signed up to with the aim of achieving ‘net zero’, the pressure is on to get more renewable energy sources up and running – and quickly. And Scotland, with a climate that is so well suited to wind and wave power, is at the forefront of this drive, and will continue to be in the years to come.
That’s great news for Edward Mackay Contractors, which will be playing a key role in the development of such schemes – not that you’d know it, when you come to see the finished project.
“The renewable side of the business is going to be very big in the next few years,” confirms Dean Ross, plant and transport manager at Edward Mackay.
BRIDGE AND MOTORWAY GANTRY SPECIALIST NUSTEEL STRUCTURES HAS A BIG PROBLEM. BUT IT ISN’T WIDTH OR WEIGHT – IT’S LENGTH. SO HOW DOES THIS INNOVATIVE OWN-ACCOUNT OPERATION MANAGE THE MOVEMENT OF LOADS THAT ARE FREQUENTLY OVER 30 METRES LONG USING JUST THREE TRUCKS AND NINE TRAILERS? LUCY RADLEY FINDS OUT.
You might not have heard of Nusteel Structures, but if you’ve ever driven down a motorway in the UK you’ll have passed under one of their products. That’s because the Hythe, Kent-based manufacturer is one of this country’s leading suppliers of motorway gantries, as well as road and rail bridges, and it’s one of the few UK companies that can do the whole job – from design to installation – in-house. That includes the transport, of course – hence our interest. Iain Bates is in his tenth year with the company and has been a transport manager for two of those. “Nusteel has two transport managers at the moment, and we’re in the process of transitioning,” he explains. “The current transport manager still works here, but eventually he’ll be stepping down and I’ll take over.” That current transport manager is Doug Newsholme, a man who has been in post for 20-odd years and with the company since 1977.
AS THE POINT OF INTERFACE WITH THE GROUND, TYRES ARE A CRITICAL PART OF ANY TRUCKING OPERATION, INCLUDING HEAVY HAULAGE. JOHN KENDALL GETS A GRIP ON THE MAIN CONSIDERATIONS.
While we are all watching advancing vehicle technology and marvelling at just how much better the latest trucks are than those of even 10 years ago, there’s a vital piece of technology that we all tend to overlook: their tyres. Manufacturers of new vehicles may claim all the credit for advances in performance, ride, handling, and driver comfort, as well as reduced fuel consumption and emissions, but how much of it is actually down to the tyres? Probably more than we think. And nowhere does the importance of the right rubber count more than in heavy haulage operations, whether they take place on road or on rougher ground. As with any haulage application, tyres are generally categorised by their position on the vehicle; this means tyres specifically designed for steer, drive or trailer axles. They are further categorised by the kind of operation they are used for; typically being for regional use or long-distance or highway operations.
As with any haulage application, tyres are generally categorised by their position on the vehicle; this means tyres specifically designed for steer, drive or trailer axles. They are further categorised by the kind of operation they are used for; typically being for regional use or long-distance or highway operations.
JOHN WHITWOOD ADMITS HE FELL INTO THE TRANSPORT INDUSTRY RATHER BY ACCIDENT! DURING A CAREER SPANNING NEARLY 50 YEARS HE WORKED IN BULK HAULAGE, GENERAL HAULAGE, AND LOGISTICS, BUT FOR A FEW YEARS HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR RUNNING TSL, THE HEAVY HAULAGE COMPANY ESTABLISHED BY GEORGE CURTIS IN SCUNTHORPE. JON HARLE HAS BEEN TO MEET HIM.
Like many teenagers growing up in 1960s Scunthorpe, John Whitwood left school at 16 and went straight into a job at the steelworks. But the shift work didn’t suit him, particularly the 3.30am alarm call to catch the early morning bus, so after just eight weeks he went to the careers office in the town to look for something else. He was offered a job with North Lincs. Haulage as a clerk in the workshops. “I started on the tipper division,” he tells me. “We had about 60 tippers, including Albions, Dodges, Guys and Scammells, and my job was to book vehicles in for servicing and repairs. And on Saturday afternoons I had to crawl around every cab to retrieve the cards from the time recorders. They were bolted on the inside of the cabs to record when the vehicle was moving, like an early tachograph. The cards were made of wax, and some drivers got wise to them and learned how to melt them so we couldn’t read them properly!”