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Fowler Welch and Mars tackle sustainability with industry first trailer innovation

02 March 2017/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Logistics & Supply Chain, Freight Forwarding


Fowler Welch have recently added ten bespoke APD trailers to their fleet for long-term partner Mars.

APD or Automated Pallet Delivery is a system for loading or unloading all 26 pallets on a trailer in around one minute.  These specialist trailers combined with automated equipment at factories and warehouses are extremely efficient for delivery and despatch, but can only be utilised at locations that have the mechanical system to use them. 

Ten new trailers were added to the fleet at the end of 2016, designed in collaboration with leading trailer manufacturer Cartwright and with the support of Mars themselves. The versatile refrigerated trailer, which is an industry first, can be loaded either by Automated Pallet Delivery or by conventional methods such as pallet trucks, offering the huge commercial advantage of utilising them for return journeys.

The innovative design of the trailers eliminates age-old problems with APD loading, such as the restrictions of only being able to pick up loads at bays fitted with matching APD equipment. Historically trailers fitted with APD often run empty on return, which is neither cost-effective nor environmentally friendly.

There is also a risk of damaging the APD slip-chain mechanism inside the trailer if pallet trucks are used. However, the new trailer designed for Mars deliveries gets around this difficulty as it has a drop-down floor stored at ceiling height which lowers to cover and protect the slip-chain mechanism when a pallet truck is required for loading.

John Kerrigan, COO at Fowler Welch says, “Through our excellent relationship with Mars, we recognised that by working in a collaborative manner, we could find an innovative solution to make the process more efficient, cut empty road miles and increase carbon savings.

“By listening to our customer throughout the process, we were able to respond and deliver a bespoke solution that is expected to reduce empty running by 252,000 miles per year and show a reduction in carbon emissions of 310,000 kg per year.”

Peter Freemantle, Factory Logistics Controller at Mars says: “By working together with Fowler Welch, we have developed an efficient and sustainable solution, which is completely aligned with our Five Principles, requiring the efficient use of resources and creating a mutual benefit for all.”

The APD trailers are the most recent innovative addition to the Fowler Welch fleet, designed and manufactured to meet a customer’s needs following the recent successful launches of the Jumbo Trailer for one of the UK’s largest meat manufacturers as well as the EcoTrailer, in partnership with ThermoKing, launched in June 2016.

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