Finance for vehicle options accelerate into top gear

In this latest Tracking Trends Supplement, LAWE reports on the accelerating growth of hire, financial and leasing options available to fleet managers running vehicles and plant in waste and environmental services in both the local authority and private contracting sectors. New providers are entering this dynamic market to offer a competitive edge to established providers, with a widening range of tailor-made packages.

Financial services to fund vehicle and specialist equipment operations, across a wide range of waste management, cleansing and environmental services, is a growth area.

The rise of outsourcing in the public sector, combined with demand from local authorities and waste management contractors to run the latest kit at a known cost, often with maintenance as a key element in the package, has continued to attract vehicle and finance providers, all keen to offer "best value".

One of the latest groups to focus on the waste and environmental market this year is TLS, the vehicle rental and contract hire specialist. The company has included in its equipment line up 10 Heil Powerlink IIs and five Big Bite RCVs.

It is providing short to mid-term rental to both private and public sector customers, with the fleet including skip loaders, hook lifts and ejection trailers in addition to the RCVs.

TLS plans to move into gully cleaners, sweepers and recycling vehicles once the division is fully operational. TLS specialist vehicle Sales Director Steve Martin said that TLS had identified a niche in the marketplace.

"We are constantly working to meet customers' transport demands and our research identified a gap in the market for companies requiring quality specialist vehicles on a short-term basis," he said.

"Our own contract hire division supplies refuse collection vehicles, but this is on fixed long-term contracts. There is a demand, especially from the public sector, for the supply of these vehicles on more flexible terms to meet the customer's exact requirements.

The new Heil Powerlink IIs and Big Bites are available on short-to-medium term rental, starting at one week, but will also provide a back-up service to the contract hire division.

Steve Martin said: "The supply of Heil RCVs to the new division will provide the hirers with quality new vehicles which, in turn, will enable the hirer to provide a reliable service in their operations." He anticipated that the benefits of offering the full range options, of from one week to seven years on the RCVs, would prove popular.

He added: "We believe that councils will use this service to complement existing contract hire deals or to meet seasonal demands."

The new Heil Powerlink II RCVs are the 22m3 version, capable of servicing a wide variety of refuse collection rounds including trade waste. The vehicles feature Heil's compaction technology, which produces less friction than the conventional channelled compaction system, as there are no side blocks. This directs more of the force into the load, thus increasing the loadbearing efficiency of the vehicles, states Heil. The 22-second packing cycle reduces stationary time and makes for a more efficient waste collection service.

Extra features on the RCVs include the Minor Planet system, fitted to all vehicles in the specialist vehicle TLS fleet.

This is linked to the onboard computer and provides constant and accurate tracking of the vehicles, Heil says.

Market activity
Hire specialists and financial providers offering new or improved services during the year have included Precia Molen which has introduced a new hire service for driver operated weighing systems. The service is aimed at organisations who need weighbridges in a hurry, perhaps to meet duty of care legislation on short-term site clearance contracts.

Specialist rental
Tanker rental specialists have also noted encouraging trends. Earlier in the year Jeff Harrison, Managing Director of TIP Tanker Rental, said: "Water companies and other undertaking 'large volume' collection of sewage sludge and other non-hazardous waste, are increasingly likely to contract hire tanker equipment from specialist rental concerns. Their detailed cost studies consistently show significant savings per kilometre-hour (or gallon-mile) of material transported, as well as reduced investment needs at a time when there are other substantial demands on water industry capital resources."

The growth in this sector also continues to generate business for the vehicle and equipment manufacturers. Dennis Eagle, for example, recently received orders for six vehicles - five Ex-Cell 31s and one Ex-Cell 9 - from Serco Fleet Services Ltd, for operation in Rossendale.

A further five Dennis Eagle vehicles have been delivered to Serco for use in Watford. Vehicles have also been supplied recently to Serco for DSD Contracting (Bedford) and to LEX MVH for Copeland District Council.



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