Back up and running

Custom Glass has got its fleet up and running following a series of setbacks.

Prior to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the Liverpool-based company had already suffered a devastating fire at its premises, followed by one of its new trucks being badly damaged in a site accident during the rebuilding.

Now repaired and hard at work, that vehicle was one of two 7.5-tonne Atego 816s supplied by Dealer Roanza Truck and Van. Both have ClassicSpace S-Cabs and 5.1-litre engines that produce 115kW (156hp). Their box bodies, which feature fixed internal glass-carrying frails, were designed and manufactured to Custom Glass’s own specification by Alloy Bodies of Manchester.

Other trucks on the fleet have removable frails, so they can also carry glass panes loaded onto stillages.

Managing director Jeff Hooson said: “We’ve been relying on Mercedes-Benz trucks for years now, and they’ve always been fantastic workhorses. A purpose-built glass-carrying vehicle is a very specialised piece of kit, and the bodywork quite expensive, so we tend to run ours for a long time. Our oldest Atego was registered in 2002 and has over 600,000km on the clock, yet it’s still going strong.

“The fact that our trucks have bespoke bodies means that if one breaks down it’s very difficult to hire or buy a replacement at short notice. That’s why we depend on the reliability of the Atego, and Roanza’s excellent support.

“Sales executive Richie Rainford understands our business well and always delivers our vehicles on time and in top condition, while his workshop colleagues do their best to get them in for any routine maintenance work through the night or at weekends, so downtime is never an issue.”

Like many other businesses, Custom Glass closed down completely in the early stages of the lockdown.

“However, most of our customers are in the construction industry, which was one of the first sectors to get back to work,” Jeff said. “As demand took off, we quickly came under pressure to resume deliveries again.”

Social distancing restrictions meant working practices had to be heavily adapted. Only 25 members of the company’s 110-strong workforce can be on site at any one time, with just four of its 18 Mercedes-Benz trucks running in and out of the depot.

Custom Glass’s fleet extends from Sprinter vans to a 44-tonne articulated tractor and semi-trailer combination. The mainstay of the operation, though, are its 14 Mercedes-Benz Atego 7.5-tonners.