NINE56 Goes for Growth

Sheffield: 05/06/2018 0800 GMT.

NINE56 Ltd has completed its first year of operation as a haulier and celebrated the milestone by quadrupling its fleet size. The bold move sees a second articulated lorry and two vans join ‘Angel’ as the backbone of our business and five new staff members join the company as we push into new markets and continue to offer great service and support to our clients. We have also launched a new brand, Sheffield Same Day with a new domain of SheffieldSameDay.com.

Joining the heavy side of the business, ‘Gentleman Jack’ is on order with BRS but the fleet needs to grow now so our good friends at Thompson Commercials Renault Trucks in Sheffield have found a Renault Premium 6×2 tractor unit to kick off with before the 66 plate Range T which will carry the name arrives. The name ‘Gentleman Jack’ has been chosen to honor the first British Saloon Car Championship champion, Jack Sears, who passed away in 2016.

The Premium won’t carry full branding when it arrives on the fleet as we only expect to use it for a couple of weeks. After that, a fully branded Euro 6 tractor will hit the road and join our flagship tractor unit in servicing a range of clients in diverse sectors. The short term use of the Premium also ensures that our entire heavy side fleet will be Ultra Low Emission Zone compliant when the new requirement comes in next year.

The new markets we are targeting will be serviced by Peter C and C. Llewelyn, the first of what we hope will be many sub-3.5t vehicles offering same day and next day light haulage throughout the UK and Europe. The pair, named for our owner’s maternal and paternal grandfathers respectively, are Vauxhall Movano F3500 panel vans, carefully chosen to balance environmental responsibility with cost effectiveness and payload.

The L3H2 vehicles offer space for three standard or 4 euro pallets of product and a class leading payload of 1525kg which will allow us to carry loads as diverse as packaging, shop fittings, pumps, machines and even motorcycles and ATVs.

To support our expansion, we have also put several back office changes into place. Nicholas, our previously sole employee will now come off the road to administer the business and plan the loads for our vehicles. He will be joined in the office by Martin, who takes on responsibility for employee relations and will assist with the planning when Nick occasionally re-dons his work gloves to cover holidays.

Questions, orders and requests can be sent to either on info@ninefiftysix.co.uk for Nicholas or transport@ninefiftysix.co.uk for Martin.

Nicholas Smith said, “Its an exciting and scary time. Growing the business this quickly is far beyond what I expected to achieve when I picked up the Mercedes a year ago. Since then we have replaced the hired older unit with a brand new Renault, built a name and reputation for getting the job done from nothing and now we  step forward into a completely new and very competitive arena with our van fleet.

“We couldn’t have achieved any of this without our carefully chosen partners and are looking forward to continuing to grow into year 2 of operations.”

Year 1 in Numbers:

347 Loads Delivered.

4 Issues in Delivery.

98.9% Problem Free Delivery Rate.

£12.36 + VAT Potential Damage Claims.

£0 Actual Damage Claims.

67,754 Miles Driven.

3 Countries Visited.

35,320 Litres of Diesel Purchased.

6 Replaced Tyres.

8,190 Blue Pallets Delivered.

1 Very Tired Driver.

 

MSA Statistics – 2018

In support of the petition to ask Parliament to force motorway service areas to employ overnight security, here are a few stats on the availability of MSA parking and the revenues they provide.

Across 127 sites checked in an online only search, we found the following large numbers:

Total MSA Parking Spaces:  6,361

Thats enough space to park every authorised vehicle for Tesco Stores, Sainsburys, Asda Stores, the BBC, ITV, McLaren Racing Ltd and Red Bull Racing.

Weekly Parking Fee Takings: £948,927.36

That makes motorway overnight parking a £49 million a year industry.

How I got the numbers:

Pricing was taken as an average of all the prices for all of the sites in each group. Current pricing information was taken this afternoon from each operators website. Westmorland Group and Stop24 prices were taken from the Motorway Buddy app or my own records of prices paid for parking.

With the exception of Westmorland Group, all prices are without food vouchers. Westmorland do not offer parking at Gloucester or Tebay without food vouchers,.

The number of spaces available at each site was taken from the Motorway Buddy app. Exceptions to this rule are:

: : Moto Frankley Services North and Southbound. This area was listed as not having any HGV parking on Motorway Buddy. From personal experience I know that at least 20 trucks can park on each side so have estimated this site as 20 spaces on each carriageway.

: : Moto Grantham Services. This area was listed as not having any HGV parking on Motorway Buddy. From personal experience know that HGV parking is available so have estimated this site at 15 spaces.

: : Roadchef Sedgemoor Services. This site is listed on Motorway Buddy as having only 16 spaces but this doesn’t include a rough ground expansion which will hold at least 15 vehicles nor the availability of parking alongside the divider which can also house 5 – 6 vehicles. Therefore I have added 20 spaces to this site.

: : Tebay Services North and Southbound. This site is not listed on the Motorway Buddy app. I have referenced Google Maps satellite view and counted available marked spaces.

: : Welcome Break Chorley Services. Motorway Buddy only lists one side of this site and gives it 60 spaces. There are two sides to this MSA with roughly equal truck parking space so I have doubled this number.

Counting sites:

In order to count the sites of each operator, where sites have two sides, e.g. Leicester Forest East Northbound and Southbound, I have counted each side as a separate site. Where an MSA operator also operates a truck stop, truck stop sites have been included in the numbers. This affects:

: : Moto Barton Park

: : Moto Lymm Truckstop (Poplar 2000)

: : J38 Truck Stop (Westmorland)

: : Carin Lodge Truck Stop (Westmorland)

Also included are two single site operators who either operate in a substantial truck park or operate in an area with poor provision.

What I have not done:

With the exception of Sedgemoor services as mentioned above, I have not inflated the numbers to account for trucks parking in coach bays or in unmarked bays. I have also not corrected the Welcome Break Newport Pagnell figure of 55 truck spaces when I know that it is inaccurate after counting the spaces myself a week ago.

The only operator I have not personally stopped at in a commercial vehicle is Stop24 so I have no knowledge as to the security of the site nor if a food voucher is included in the basic price.

I have not included EuroGarages in this report as I was unable to find firm numbers on the availability of truck parking at their sites. Many EuroGarages sites are forecourt operations only and do not offer overnight HGV parking.

Breakdown by Operator:

Moto Hospitality Limited.

By far the largest operator of motorway service with 53 sites including two locations from which HGVs are barred. These sites are Scotch Corner and Tiverton.

Total spaces: 2,289.

Average price: £22.65 per night.

Nightly income: £51,845.85

Cheapest Site: £11.50 Barton Park, A1.

Most Expensive Site: £34.00 Thurrock, M25.

Notes: Moto Thurrock, Moto Donington Park, Moto Cherwell Valley, Moto Ferrybridge all claim to have overnight security on site. I have stopped at each of these locations overnight and have never seen security guards patrolling. I have also been ‘half mooned’ or had a small crescent shaped cut put in my curtain at Moto Cherwell Valley.

Appraisal of Facilities:

Moto sites are a very mixed bag. The new sites are very new, well presented and have a focus on energy efficiency. The older sites are showing their age dramatically, and despite a programme of upgrades and refurbishment, trucker facilities are poor. Particularly bad are Stafford North and Toddington services which have communal shower facilities. Particularly good for facilities are the two flagship sites at Cherwell Valley and Wetherby which have spacious individual shower rooms, but even here, hanging space and seating in the shower/changing area is poorly provisioned and there is no curtain to prevent clothes from being soaked by shower spray.

Barton Park, one of two truck stops in the group is comprised of a small cafe, 1990s toilet area, a aging and tired forecourt and a well rutted, often sodden area of formerly hard standing. Several businesses share the access to the site meaning vehicles are in and out at strange times interrupting sleep.

 

Welcome Break.

Second largest of the operators in this report, Welcome Break have 32 sites, including several of the most well known locations in the UK. Welcome Break at Heartshead Moor was recently announced as a vehicle crime hotspot.

Despite having fewer sites, Welcome Break tops the charts for the most income per night over their fleet based on these calculations.

Total spaces: 2,258.

Average price: £25 per night.

Nightly income: £56,450.00

Cheapest Site: £18.00 Derby, A50.

Most Expensive Site: £31.00 South Mimms, M25.

Notes: Welcome Break Derby is two sites, either side of the A50 comprising forecourt facilities on both side and a hotel on one of the two locations. Between both sides of the road there is parking for less than ten trucks and no shower facilities are available to drivers.

Appraisal of Facilities:

Welcome Break sites are all well presented with a suite of blue chip brands making up the food offering. The flagship site at Oxford is well presented with a parkland feel and is the test bed for proper restaurant dining in the form of Pizza Express. Hopwood Park is built on a similar pattern.

Sanitation facilities are being overhauled throughout the estate and even the older sites are well presented and clean. Showers are well maintained and always have hot water, but the number of available showers on each site is lower than appears to be the average. It is worth noting that the shower facilities are located on the first floor at Hopwood Park and late arrival could mean that the elevators are turned off making access for drivers with reduced mobility difficult. Hopwood Park does have showers in the forecourt though, as does Oxford.

Newport Pagnell is a tale of two sites, with a large truck park and well equipped amenities building on the north side joined by a hotel and large forecourt. South side is by far the poorer relation with an older style building, smaller facilities and next to no truck parking. Motorway Buddy says ten spaces are available on south side, I feel this is optimistic.

 

RoadChef.

RoadChef is the boarder between the north and the south, owning and operating Watford Gap MSA. While cars and coaches are well provided for at many RoadChef sites, HGV parking provision on the sites tends to be on the smaller side when compared with total site footprint.

Total spaces: 1,107.

Average price: £25.73 per night.

Nightly income: £28,483.11

Cheapest Site: £21.00 Sutton Scotney, A34.

Most Expensive Site: £29.00 Strencham, M5.

Notes: Several sites dedicate several truck parking spaces to UK Truck Clean truck wash facilities.

I have suffered trailer break ins at both RoadChef Northampton and Watford Gap. No load theft occurred but the vehicle was accessed.

Appraisal of Facilities:

Faded opulence is the best way to describe RoadChef sites, particularly the ones I have visited on a regular basis at Strencham, Watford Gap (rarely overnight), Magor and Sedgemoor. Showers and toilets are perpetually cold, though eventually shower water runs warm. New showers have been installed at Strencham northbound.

After around 9pm only McDonalds and Costa Coffee are available at most sites.

 

Extra Services.

Seven sites makes Extra a minow in a sea of great whites. Operator of the flagship sites at Cobham on the M25 and Beconsfield on the M40, they centre around the bottom half of the A1. The concentration of sites near London push up the prices and the average, its the most expensive operator on average in this report.

Total spaces: 481.

Average price: £27.28 per night.

Nightly income: £13,121.68

Cheapest Site: £25.00, Blackburn.

Most Expensive Site: £30, Cobham M25 and Beconsfield M40.

Notes: Beconsfield Services is known to host car cruises on Friday nights making it unsuitable for a refreshing nights rest. Other nights very early arrival is advised to find a space.

Appraisal of Facilities:

Laid out in a food court style, Extra services offer great choice but poor value. Many sites have independent franchises for fast food outlets, for example Baldock services where McDonalds is operated not by the site owner, but by one of the major local franchisees of town center stores.

Sanitation facilities are serviceable enough but only two showers per site appears to be the norm.

No Extra site offers a food voucher with parking but in a plus for operators, they take SNAP universally.

 

Westmorland Group.

New kids on the block, Westmorland Group have entered the industry and shaken it to its core. Environmental responsibility is at the core of what the company does across its seven businesses, four of which are MSAs and two Truck Stops.

Total spaces: 221.

Average price: £17.83 per night.

Nightly income: £3993.92

Cheapest Site: £12.00 Carin Lodge, M74.

Most Expensive Site: £23.00, Gloucester Services.

Notes: Carin Lodge and J38 truck stop are both truck stop sites rather than MSAs. J38 also doubles up as the local village shop and filling station.

Appraisal of Facilities:

Allow me to declare an interest here, I have gone on record several times saying that Westmorland sites in general and Tebay in particular are destination locations for overnight parking. I have never once heard of a crime on these sites, though their distance from major towns and cities could be a major factor in this, something rivals can’t really do much about.

Showers are plentiful and always clean. Toilets the same. The food is first rate and the catering team knowledgeable. Food miles are important to Westmorland and most ingredients are sourced locally, with Tebay and J38 using meat and veg from the companies own farms. Prices are on the eyewatering side of high but are aided by the free food voucher, there is no option to buy without voucher at Westmorland sites. Once you have eaten you can then buy many of the ingredients yourself at the farm shop built into the site. Even the forecourt food is top drawer. Perhaps this is why Westmorland Group have claimed victory in the BBC food and farming awards.

 

Cornwall Services:

A single site operator with interesting food options and a small truck park.

Total spaces: 20.

Price: £15000 per night.

Nightly income: £300.00

 

Notes: Truck park is a fair walk from the main facilities but a seperate truckers toilet block is immediately adjacent, as is the forecourt which is also a co-op.

Appraisal of Facilities:

One visit several years ago isn’t much to go on but I remember their being a wide range of rather expensive, (but good quality) food to supplement the McDonalds. I was on site in the off season, during the run-up to Christmas and it was heaving with people. I don’t recall the quality of the showers or toilets from my one visit.

 

Stop24.

One site but its one of the most important. Formerly known as Folkestone services, and before that Port Early Arrivals services the site shares a fence with a customs pre-clearance facility so it does offer convenience for cross channel travel.

Total spaces: 180.

Price: £22.00 per night.

Nightly income: £3960.00

 

Appraisal of Facilities:

I haven’t visited this site since I passed my Class 1 licence so have no idea about the quality of the site but internet research shows complaints of litter, rats and little choice.

NINE56 Ltd Welcome New Trucks and Trailers

Sheffield, UK.
01/12/2017.

The past month has seen the conclusion of an exhaustive procurement programme which has resulted in the arrival of NINE56 Ltd’s first new tractor unit. Additionally, due to changes in working patterns the company has now acquired a curtain sided semi-trailer bringing full responsibility for safe and efficient operation in house.

The new tractor unit replaces our previous Mercedes-Benz Actros and as such will continue to carry the name ‘Angel’. The 2017/67 registered Renault Trucks Range T 460 DXi 6×2 tractor unit balances power and efficiency to deliver Euro 6 emissions standards. Additional specification includes beacons, strobes and event recording cameras to help avoid collisions and maximise road safety. Inside the vehicle the ultimate bunk package is complemented by a fridge and powerful inverter for driver comfort.

The truck has been supplied on a 5 year lease with full maintenance by Thompson Commercials and will be looked after by the Sheffield depot.

The vehicle is driven by Nicholas, our director who said, “It was a really hard call picking which vehicle would form the core of our fleet. Dealer service is important to us which knocked out a couple of the options but then it was down to very hard to quantify criteria. How do you put a monetary value on the comfort of the bunk?

“In the end the decision was made easy by Thompson Commercials who offered a well put together truck at a very competitive price and with service which few can match. Nothing is too much trouble for the guys which is why we’ve appointed them to look after our trailers too. I have to mention Scania though, for whom the same can be said but couldn’t match the competitive financial package and range of options available with Thompsons and Premium Leasing.”

As part of the companies planned growth, the acquisition of a trailer was high on our list of priorities too and with the help of ATE Truck and Trailer Sales at Wolverhampton we picked up our first trailer in mid-November. The previously owned curtain side semi-trailer was supplied with new sheets for a clean and professional look.

Its 4.229 meter overall running height has been carefully calculated to offer best carrying capacity whilst minimising increased drag and fuel consumption. The SDC chassis is the choice of most major hauliers while the Lawrence David pillarless curtain sided body has been chosen to simplify loading and unloading for the drivers. Its bolted construction has the added bonus of making it easily converted to a flat bed trailer when it has reached the end of its serviceable life as a curtain side.

Nick added, “Trailers are a vital but very expensive part of running a road transport operation and picking the right trailer is a difficult task. I opted to go for a previously owned semi-trailer because of its lower cost, both in terms of capital and in terms of the environment. CS001 has a lot of life left in it, despite it being off-hired by a large and respected Yorkshire haulier. As you would expect with any 10 year old trailer it has its niggles but once those are sorted we have a trailer which can serve us for another ten years.”

Thompson Commercials will also take care of maintaining and repairing the new trailer as necessary.

Burkett Quicksign were appointed to manage the livery application for both the new unit and the trailer. Further photographs of the striking new look will be available soon.

On the Road.

Sheffield, UK.
05/06/2017.

NINE56 Ltd achieved its first major goal today when the first tractor unit on our fleet was collected from Northside Truck and Van at Doncaster. The tractor unit is a Mercedes-Benz Actros BigSpace 2551 and has been previously owned.

The vehicle was immediately put to work supporting our clients Davies Haulage (Bawtry) and MA & HV Medler Haulage Ltd, hauling a load of brand new scaffold boards to Ipswich from Selby in Yorkshire.

The vehicle will be driven by our owner and director Nicholas Smith who is delighted with the specification and performance of the new truck.

“I’m thrilled with the unit. Of course as a used truck we’ve had a few niggles but its reliable, efficient and spacious,’ Nicholas said. With his directors hat on he added, ‘The dealer support offered by Northside Truck and Van combined with the reliability and high standard specification of the Actros were key deciding factors in which vehicle we hit the road with. Of course a Mercedes is slightly more expensive but the build quality and brand perception of Mercedes are hard to beat.’

The tractor unit will be assigned to service our clients at MV & HA Medler Haulage Ltd on an initial 9 month term.

We also need to mention our sign writers, Re:Start Signs and Graphics at Doncaster who worked hard to provide a stunning looking vehicle. To Karl and Bryony we offer our thanks and the strongest possible recommendation. Nicholas added, ‘To Karl and Bryony I have to say a heartfelt thank you. The professional service provided, their endless patience as we waited for operator licensing to do their bit and their flexability as plans were changing even as the stickers were going on the truck are examples to the industry. Special thanks have to go as Karl was fitting the stickers to the vehicle on the Sunday before it hit the road!’