Truck-mounted crane hire and lifting specialist Niall Leitch has treated himself to a stunning 10th birthday present in the shape of a highly-specified, 8x4 Mercedes-Benz Arocs.
Mr Leitch, who founded Leitch Trans Lift, of Strabane, County Tyrone, in 2007, acquired the chassis from Newtownabbey Dealer Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI).
The high-riding Arocs is purpose-designed for construction-related applications. The first Leitch Trans Lift vehicle to wear a three-pointed star has a flat-floored StreamSpace cab and is powered by an advanced, 12.8-litre straight-six engine which transmits its range-topping 375 kW (510 hp) output to the road via a smooth Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission.
Resplendent in the operator’s metallic silver and blue livery with colour-coded bumper and roof-mounted light bar, it is fitted with a mighty 65 tonne/metre PM 65 SP crane capable of lifting 14 tonnes at a distance of 16 metres. The truck’s platform body is by Nugent Coachworks, of Dungannon, as is the low-height tri-axle drawbar trailer which it pulls.
Leitch Trans Lift works primarily for utilities companies, including Northern Ireland Electricity Networks and Electricity Supply Board (ESB), which is majority owned by the Irish Government. The Arocs has lined up alongside its five other crane trucks, a combination of rigids and tractor units, and is now being inspected and serviced under a six-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contract at the Dealer’s Dungannon worshop.
Niall Leitch worked as a low-loader driver for an Omagh-based heavy haulage specialist, before launching his own business. Leitch Trans Lift handles a wide variety of heavy and abnormal loads, among them pre-cast products, electricity transformers, wind turbines and portable offices.
Mr Leitch attended a roadshow staged by Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI) at the Cabragh Filling Station, Dungannon. He recalled: “It was the Arocs cab that really impressed me. The moment I saw it, I thought to myself: ‘Mercedes-Benz have built something special here.’ The business has been going well so having always purchased second-hand trucks in the past, I eventually decided to bite the bullet and order my first brand new one.”
Mr Leitch continued: “I’d heard a lot of good things locally, about how the Dealer has been working hard to support operators out here in the west of the province. The response to my initial enquiry from its truck sales executive Paul McCrory was very professional. He didn’t treat me like a tyre kicker but instead took the time and trouble to bring an eight-wheeler over for me to try – it was very different to the vehicle I’m now running, but it was nice to get a run in a Mercedes-Benz, as I’d never driven one before.”
He added: “My new truck and trailer combination represents a substantial investment, and through no fault of the chassis manufacturer or its Dealer it’s taken quite a time to get it on the road. But it’s been well worth the wait, and money very well spent.
“I love the way the Arocs looks, its power and its comfortable cab, while the ground clearance and excellent visibility mean its ideally suited to work on rough sites. My drivers are also falling over themselves to take the Mercedes-Benz out. The transmission was a potential stumbling block initially, as none of them wanted an auto, but the PowerShift ’box makes the truck so easy drive that it’s never been an issue. One guy, previously a die-hard fan of a Swedish brand, has been completely won over by the comfort and all-round usability of the Arocs.”