Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, is now running 25 new 52-foot Gray & Adams refrigerated trailers as part of a Department for Transport-backed trial.

Recent winner of the Private Sector Fleet of the Year prize at the Green Fleet Awards, Tesco is a long-standing Gray & Adams customer and operates a substantial fleet of its temperature-controlled single- and double-deck 44-foot and short, urban trailers.

“(Gray & Adams) was best-placed in terms of the development work it had already done on these longer trailers, while experience has also proved that its products are well designed and ‘fit for purpose’,” said Tesco Fleet Engineering Manager Cliff Smith.

“We run our trailers for eight years but know that Gray & Adams’ equipment is sufficiently reliable and strongly built to withstand the rigors of a demanding, round-the-clock operation.”

Tesco’s 52-foot trailers are equipped with powerful but quiet Carrier Transicold Vector 1850 multi-temperature refrigeration units and 3300-pound capacity Dhollandia retractable tail-lifts, as well as Tridec command steer axles which allow them to meet statutory turning circle rules.

Operating from regional distribution centers in Avonmouth, Livingston and Peterborough, they are delivering to Tesco stores and can each carry 51 cages, six more than a standard 44-foot trailer.

“That represents an increase in productivity of more than 13 per cent, so the potential benefits in terms of reduced vehicle movements and lower emissions are obvious,” Smith said.

“But we’ve only just set these trailers on the road, so we still have a fair bit of work to do in terms of driver-training and risk assessment at the delivery points before we come to any firm conclusions.”

Britain’s biggest retailer is committed to achieving dramatic reductions in carbon emissions across its distribution operation. Its ‘F plan’ – Fuller cages, Fuller trucks, Fewer miles and Fuel economy – has seen Tesco take 111 million miles off the road over the last five years, saving 142,000 tonnes of CO2 that would otherwise have been pumped into the atmosphere.