Arla Foods UK hopes to cut the distance it travels to collect raw milk and deliver finished products through the introduction of a half milk tanker, half refrigerated container hybrid.
The dairy processor has so-far launched just one of the trailers, which can hold around 19,000 litres of raw milk and approximately 85 milk cages or 22 pallets, but intends to increase its hybrid fleet to 30 by the end of 2013.
This could be expanded further if the initial trial is successful.
While the exterior of the trailer is very similar to a standard double deck trailer, the hybrid actually stands 30cm taller at 4.3 metres. It also has lower profile running gears, providing room to accommodate the milk tank.
The launch coincides with Arla UK’s recently completed merger with UK-based co-operative Milk Link – which will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of miles covered by Arla. The trial is also in line with the firm’s Closer to Nature sustainability programme, which includes a CO2 reduction goal of 34% by 2020.
Cutting road miles
“We have introduced these new trailers with the aim of cutting the road miles that we currently cover,” an Arla Foods UK spokesperson told DairyReporter.com.
While the trial could lead to the introduction of a fleet of the trailers, the spokesperson added that it would be impossible to completely replace its current collection and distribution fleet.
“This isn’t a solution we can introduce to the whole fleet, but if the trial goes well we can establish the best routes and map where the trailers can be implemented.”
“We will introduce more if we can. Where it is possible to introduce these trailers, we will.”
Arla’s Danish and Swedish segments have been made aware of the UK trial, and plan to follow the lead of the firm’s UK business, the spokesperson also revealed.
“Our Danish and Swedish divisions are also looking at implementing these trailers as well,” added the Arla spokesperson.
“There were occasions when we were sending out a vehicle full of finished product then later sending out an empty tanker to collect milk,” said Arla’s group fleet director, Gordon Irvine.
“They could both travel the same route, but carry a load in the opposite direction. We aren’t the only company faced with this dilemma but we are the first to deliver a solution and put one of the country’s most innovative trailers on the road,” Irvine added.