Commercial vehicle specialist, Sapphire, is looking to the Emerald Isle for further growth with new partnership. CVW reports.
In a bid to extend its reach across the Irish Sea, Sapphire Vehicle Services has entered into an alliance with Northern Ireland’s Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance. The partnership will mean even better backup for customers of both – especially those who operate on both sides of the water.
The two companies are divisions of parent group Ballyvesey Holdings, which has interests across related sectors including transport and logistics, truck sales and aftersales support, trailer manufacturing, transport industry services, construction equipment sales and property development.
Synergy at work
Sapphire boasts a network of 19 workshops across England and Scotland which together look after close to 30,000 vehicles, for a client list that includes some of the biggest fleets in the supermarket sector.
Rockmount, meanwhile, runs an impressively-equipped 23-bay workshop on a huge open site in Newtownabbey – which last year won recognition as an official Mercedes-Benz Trucks Authorised Repairer. Rockmount is also an approved agent for Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses and coaches, and MTU off-highway industrial engines.
“These two businesses have an obvious synergy,” says Sapphire managing director Perry Reeves. “Under the new partnership, Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance will continue to operate under its own name, but will benefit from closer ties to Sapphire’s network and the strategic leadership of our senior management team.
“For our customers in Northern Ireland it will be largely business as usual – with the added benefit of the extra long-term security that comes from being part of a bigger organisation, and guaranteed cover from our Sapphire network if their operations take them onto the mainland.
“Sapphire customers, meanwhile, will be able to take advantage of Rockmount’s services if their trucks visit Northern Ireland.”
Rockmount’s site, close to the M2 motorway, features no fewer than 23 full-length bays, six of which have inspection pits. There are a pair of eight-tonne cranes alongside the usual column lifts, a rolling-road brake tester and a third-party tyre contractor on site.
Alongside contract and ad-hoc repair and maintenance, the 35-strong Rockmount team offer services including trailer diagnostics and repair, tachograph calibration, tail lift LOLER and weight testing, MOT appointments and tank washing. The depot also holds a stock of more than 3,000 lines of Mercedes-Benz genuine parts and items for other brands, and there’s a dedicated breakdown team to provide roadside assistance across Northern Ireland.
Crucially, the site also enjoys a huge yard with ample space for parking and manoeuvring, and is covered by 24-hour security patrols.
Originally formed to provide maintenance for the fleet of Montgomery Transport – also part of the Ballyvesey group – Rockmount began taking on outside work in 2010 and has grown apace since then. Turnover increased still further when the depot was awarded its Mercedes- Benz Trucks repair franchise last October. It now regularly services 60 vehicles per week, including many buses and coaches as well as trucks and vans, and is a ‘one-stop shop’ for all requirements.
“Rockmount is already a successful operation, under the leadership of general manager Colin Espie, aftersales manager Darren Russell and parts manager Neill Hunter,“ adds Reeves.
“By aligning with Sapphire, though, Rockmount will be able to take advantage of aspects like our accreditation as a BPW axles agent, our expertise in electric vehicles and our range of successful training programmes for both new and experienced technicians. We see great potential for both businesses – and, more importantly, our customers – to benefit from this alliance.”