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Feature Article

Gold standard for sustainability

A golden anniversary is a big deal, so when JFC (John Fillmore Contracting) reached that milestone in 2020, it marked the occasion with a brand-new ‘star’ addition to its fleet of 60 trucks – a 26T, 530hp 6x4 Mercedes-Benz Arocs that aligned with the business’ sustainability goals.

JFC transport manager Amanda Hohenberger describes the Arocs as “our 50-year anniversary flagship truck”. “It was a nice moment,” she says. “We wanted a premium model with industry-leading technology, and that’s exactly what we got.”

An industry-leading truck for an industry-leading business, it’s fair to say. Over half a century, JFC has grown to become a major player in civil construction across New Zealand, with extensive expertise in large projects and an impressive CV that includes the Downtown Infrastructure Development Program along Auckland’s waterfront.

Built for demanding operations, particularly in off-road environments, with a Euro 6 powertrain and plenty more smarts for increasing fuel-efficiency, the ‘flagship’ Arocs ticked a lot of boxes for JFC management and drivers alike. In fact, the team was so impressed with the first one, three more have been added since.

“One of our objectives is to reduce our carbon emissions, so the improved fuel efficiency with these Arocs definitely helps with those goals,” explains Amanda.

JFC’s commitment to sustainability includes social efforts with driver recruitment and upskilling, and a new Toitū “Carbon Reduce” certification, which helps companies measure, manage and reduce carbon emissions. This is beyond the business’s ISO 14001 accreditation, which means it meets stringent requirements for environmental management.

Amanda expects the Arocs to do around 100,000km a year with a 26.5T payload – nearly double that on an HPMV permit. Reducing the company’s fuel use and emissions across that distance is key. To help with that, Arocs has some tricks under the cab – and a couple either side of it.

The 530hp DD13 Euro 6 engine, in harmony with the PowerShift 3 automated transmission, is built to make the tough stuff easy as – with solid fuel economy and low emissions every step of the way.

All four of JFC’s Arocs tippers are fitted with MirrorCam technology, which employs rear-facing cameras – in place of conventional wing mirrors – wired in to large, clear display screens inside the cab. The improved aerodynamics of these tidy little cameras has the added benefit of up to 1.5% fuel savings, depending on conditions.

“The transmission is great,” says JFC driver Balbir Singh. “Going up a hill, you don’t feel it change gear. I’ve driven lots of manual trucks and you can really tell the difference.

“I really like the MirrorCam too. You can see cars more clearly, especially when they come close to the side of the truck. With traditional mirrors, you sometimes miss cars in your blind spots but MirrorCam takes that risk away.”

It also helps with changing lanes, he says.

“Once you indicate, you see a red line in the mirror, which tells you if you can move over and how much room you have to move in to. It makes changing lane so much safer.”

Prioritising employee wellbeing is another key element of business sustainability that JFC takes very seriously. Arocs has a range of standard safety systems that combine to protect the driver and other road users, including Active Brake Assist, Stability Control Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Attention Assist.

Balbir also reports a more enjoyable shift than in other trucks he’s driven.

 “It’s a lot more comfortable. I go home and I’m not even tired at the end of the day,” says Balbir.

“The steps are a lot wider and it’s comfortable to get in and out the cab, because the door opens really wide. The space between the door, the seat and the steering wheel also makes it easier to move around.”

Happier drivers in safer, more efficient trucks is helping JFC join a number of dots in its sustainability plan. The four Mercedes-Benz Arocs are the latest additions in a fleet that includes 27 FUSOs – trucks that trace Daimler’s continued evolution of technology and performance.

With Keith Andrews now representing Mercedes-Benz alongside FUSO, it was a natural progression in our relationship with them to move to the Arocs for greater power and efficiency. We’ve had the first one for a year now and it hasn’t missed a beat.”

Here’s to the next 50 years!