Fairport goes against convention and buys DAF for the first time

Fairport Containers, part of the Fairport Engineering Group, has bought its first ever DAF. The XF 450 FAR – a 26-tonne GVW, tag-axle, 6×2 rigid – is plated for 44-tonne GCW and bodied for hook-loader operations.

The truck is being operated out of Fairport Containers’ site at Bridgewater following a successful Operator’s’ Licence application.

The company has a tradition of running largely premium German trucks, but when they needed a new truck, they decided to let Lancashire DAF talk to them, according to Lee Cunliffe, fleet engineer at Fairport Containers. “In fairness to them, we rather liked what we heard and asked for a formal quotation,” he said. “That came in at a very competitive level, so with a three-year R&M package included and a DAF dealer close by the Bridgewater plant where we planned to station the truck, we decided to go for the XF.”

Since then Lee and the team have not been disappointed. The driver of the new DAF is reported as ‘absolutely loving it’ and, though still early days, Lee is happy to say that fuel consumption is already looking “very good”.

“We had been looking to replace a couple of older hook-loaders recently, but every time we specced a new one the business just kept growing and we ended up keeping both the new and old vehicles. Now though, the DAF XF will be a replacement for one of those older vehicles and we are keen to see just how it performs long term – it was a big decision to move from our well-established marque, but we have no complaints so far. It’s just one truck, but it has added importance to us as, until now, all the fleet had operated out of Adlington. The XF is going out to one of our other sites and it will be interesting to see how that works for us.”

The company headquarters are at Aldington near Chorley in Lancashire, though the business operates out of two other sites – Bridgewater and Aston Clinton. The XF will work at Fairport’s centre at Bridgewater.

Fairport has its own maintenance workshops at Adlington. Lee Cunliffe notes, “We have bought the DAF with the three-year R&M package, as it it’s going to be based away from here, and we want Wessex DAF in Taunton to handle the routine work, but I definitely want to see it in here at least once a year. That way we can inspect and assess it against general fleet condition, as well as handle its MOT.”

The Adlington workshops look after the rest of the 45 strong fleet of trucks, trailers and vans, some of which operate on the company’s sister business, collecting and replacing clothing bank containers around the country for charities. This has led to the addition of a further DAF to the fleet, a 58-plate LF with a HIAB crane.

“We wanted a vehicle like this for urgent calls where a clothing bank has been vandalised or broken into – we are expected to respond within 48 hours, so are trialling this DAF as our ‘rapid response’ vehicle,” Cunliffe said. “Right now, we are very happy with it and will see how it goes before making a decision on maybe replacing it or adding to it with a new truck – perhaps based at Aston Clinton.”

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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