CVW speaks to two haulage firms to find out why they have opted for in-house fuelling.
Arecent expansion by E&SJ Walpole Ltd includes additional workshop facilities, a new fuelling point and more space for parking trucks and trailers at its HQ facilities in Dereham, Norfolk.
To make room for its VOSA test station, the existing fuelling point was decommissioned and relocated. After refurbishment, the existing 40,000 litres capacity diesel storage tank was reinstalled on the new site, together with separate dispensers for gas-oil and AdBlue. The upgrade included GPRS communications and Merridale tank management instrumentation, enabling continuous contents status reporting for the main diesel tank.
“We also took the opportunity to switch over our fuel management administration from in-house server software to the Merridale FuelWorks, which is a web-based stock control and reporting service,” explains Company Accountant James Curtis.
“Our previous set-up was becoming unreliable. Occasionally we lost data and would have to spend time cross checking vehicle movements from our tracking service in order to identify which vehicles had been fuelled. As a ‘work-around’ solution we started to download the usage reports on a weekly basis.
“Now we have a more robust system, using the Merridale vLink communications cable to identify the HGVs using the fuelling point. This is a snap-on quick release device which can be used in conjunction with the proximity ID data-tags allocated to the company’s service vehicles. The vehicle ID information is required to authorise fuelling. Full details of the transaction – the vehicle, its mileage reading, date, time and amount of fuel drawn are stored automatically by the pump control unit.
“This data is then polled on a daily basis by the Merridale fuel management service to update the fleet fuel usage reports. The tank management unit provides email alerts as the stock reaches a pre-set re-order level. The system also triggers an alarm with e-mail alerts for any unusual drop in the tank contents.
James Curtis concluded by saying: “Excluding external fuelling our annual usage for the fleet amounts to some 500,000 litres, so is important that this is managed efficiently. Clearly our fuel usage correlates with carbon emissions and we can show the relevant authorities that the company has accredited procedures for measuring fuel consumption.
“As far as office productivity is concerned, the main benefit has been the significant reduction in the time taken up for the preparation of reports.”
Family owned business Collier Haulage, has set up a fuelling station at its depot in Pontypool, South Wales, which it says enables the owner to reap the benefits of bulk purchasing fuel supplies at spot market prices.
“Currently our usage is running at around 15,000 litres a week,” explains the firm’s Proprietor, Gregg Griffiths.
“Whilst third party bunker account services have served us well in the past, our business has now grown to a level where we can achieve better economies through bulk purchasing.
“In-house fuelling gives us absolute control of our main operating cost. It also saves time because depot fuelling is more convenient and vehicle journeys can be planned more efficiently.” Ledbury Welding and Engineering (LWE) supplied a complete fuelling solution based on a tank providing 45,000 litres of storage capacity.
The installation includes a dispensing pump, electronic monitoring and the Merridale FuelWorks, web-based fuel management service.
Gregg continued: “As a system, this gives us the tools to track usage and monitor our current stock levels. This information, together with the large capacity tank, allows us to make smarter procurement decisions. We can set up re-order alerts, allowing time to track prices and negotiate best prices per 36,000 litres, full tanker load.”