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Acumen Distribution is preparing to deploy an additional five Longer Semi-Trailers (LSTs) on new contracts, after seizing the opportunity to obtain additional permits to grow its fleet of 15.65m curtainsiders to 24 units.

Operations Director, Naiem Ashraf says the LSTs have proven a huge success with customers as their 15 per cent increase in freight capacity significantly reduce operating costs and delivers impressive environmental savings by taking vehicles off the road.

“We have 19 LSTs currently running, saving at least 150,000 road miles and 198 tonnes of CO2 per year, when compared to using standard length curtainsiders. When the opportunity came to grow the LST fleet further, we seized it with both hands,” says Ashraf.

Acumen was involved in the Department for Transport’s LST trial from the outset, using the assets across multiple contracts with high load volumes, such as the movement of automotive parts. The trailers perform complex ‘just in sequence’ and ‘just in time’ deliveries for vehicle manufacturers and tier one suppliers. Acumen has secured contract extensions directly on the back of the savings it has delivered using the trailers.

“We’re taking these next five longer trailers speculatively, but we expect to deploy them on new contracts quickly,” he adds. “We know that with LSTs we can start saving a customer money from day one, and with a finite number of 15.65m trailers in the market, they are a real asset,” he adds.

For one customer alone, Acumen now runs between eight and nine fewer trips per week into plants in Burton, Halewood and Sunderland. This reduces fuel consumption and traffic congestion, plus supports its customer’s sustainability strategy.

When the five new SDC trailers enter service, around 25 per cent of Acumen Distribution’s curtainside fleet will comprise LSTs.

The Department for Transport’s operational trial kicked off in January 2012 with the aim of seeing if using LSTs brought about anticipated environmental and economic benefits. Initially 1,800 LSTs were allocated – a mixture of 14.6m and 15.65m tri-axle units – which must operate within the UK’s existing domestic weight limit of 44 tonnes for six axle vehicles. In 2017 the government agreed to increase the number of LSTs by an additional 1,000 and to extend the trial by 5 years, to 2027.
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