Freightliner’s trainee drivers will be swapping a truck simulator for the open road after specialist retailer ATE Truck & Trailer Sales converted a used tractor unit into a bespoke rigid training vehicle, at a fraction of the cost of a new truck.
The MAN TGS 26.440, supplied by ATE Truck & Trailer Sales’ sister company Asset Alliance, has been converted into a short-wheelbase rigid in specific dimensions for transporting maritime containers, and will be operated by drivers working towards securing their Category C licence.
Supervisors hope the new training regime will better equip trainees on the road to driving Freightliner’s 44-tonne articulated trucks.
Freightliner’s General Manager – Road, Richard Branston, says: “We wanted to add real-life 26-tonner experience to our driver tuition as there’s no substitute for hands-on training, so were keen to buy a truck as a pilot project. The team at ATE suggested we convert a used truck instead of buying new, which has proven incredibly cost-effective.
“ATE worked closely with us to specify the short-wheelbase conversion exactly to our needs, including fitting twist-locks on the body to secure containers.”
The converted rigid joins a fleet of 242 trucks at Freightliner, and will travel all over the UK as part of the company’s distribution fleet.
Branston adds: “The industry-wide shortage of commercial vehicle drivers is a well-known fact, and this pilot project is part of Freightliner’s response to that challenge. We hope to extend the project in coming years, and wouldn’t hesitate to use ATE again to add more specialised training trucks to our fleet.”
Freightliner is a long-standing customer of Asset Alliance, and has taken delivery of a number of commercial vehicles, including trucks.
Specialising in the transportation of maritime containers by rail, Freightliner’s train fleet ferries freight from major UK deep sea ports, including Felixstowe, London Gateway and Southampton, and 12 container terminals. Once delivered to Freightliner depots in cities including Birmingham and Liverpool, the company uses its road transport fleet for final deliveries.