Dedicated international express delivery firm The Special Carrier has never bought a new van, preferring instead to deal with the rapid expansion and contraction of client demand by spot renting its vehicles then returning them to the provider when they weren’t needed for work.
However, strong growth coupled with a planned further expansion in 2017 of its Dover-based European Operations Centre has prompted a change of heart.
The company has just purchased two Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 314 CDI Long vans from Dealer Sparshatts of Kent. Both were acquired with competitive funding support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and are backed by Service Plan maintenance cover.
The Special Carrier provides bespoke transport and logistics solutions throughout Europe to clients from a wide variety of industry sectors. It always puts a fresh driver behind the wheel before sending one of its vehicles onto the Continent and employs a state-of-the-art GPS tracking, security and surveillance system to keep its client fully updated throughout the mission.
“We don’t handle general freight or undertake routine services,” explained Managing Director Steve Herman. “Rather, our business is all about reacting rapidly to customer demands, by tailoring specific deliveries and collections to meet urgent deadlines.
“Regular communication with clients is crucial and we rarely go anywhere twice – we currently have a handful of vehicles in Corfu, and others in Norway, Romania and Switzerland, which is fairly typical. Our meticulous attention to detail when it comes to planning helps to explain why we have been able to develop such a loyal customer base.”
Key to The Special Carrier’s success has been its use of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and particularly Sprinter vans. “The Long-bodied model is the perfect size, while we work our vehicles hard and can typically put 3,000 miles on the clock in a single week,” said Mr Herman.
“The Sprinter has proved outstandingly reliable over the years but on the handful of occasions when we have had a breakdown on the Continent the Mercedes-Benz MobiloVan response has been outstanding. From making the initial call, wherever you are in Europe, they’ll have someone at the roadside within 90 minutes.
“The MobiloVan team have also kept us fully in the picture throughout, liaising with us on the best – which invariably means the quickest – way to get the vehicle fixed and on its way again.”
He continued: “Our drivers would choose the Sprinter over any of its competitors every time, while there’s no doubt in my mind that Mercedes-Benz vans are the safest on the market, which is another crucial factor given our Duty of Care obligations.”
Explaining The Special Carrier’s decision to purchase its first vans, Mr Herman continued: “Ours is a challenging business model so we’ve always preferred to run our vehicles on either a short-term or ‘spot’ rental basis, rather than having them sat outside the office costing us money. I’m confident, however, that we’ll be able to keep these vehicles out on the road and earning more or less constantly.
“Sparshatts’ van sales executive Kay Bartholomew also made a very persuasive financial case for the benefits of acquisition backed by a three-year Mercedes-Benz Service Plan. We’re proposing to run the vans for two years, which means that when we come to sell the new owner will still have a year’s warranty and a free service in hand. The numbers certainly stack up, so I’m confident it will prove to be a wise move.”
More information available at www.specialcarrier.com