Gray & Adams insulated curtainsider is Shetland Transport’s ‘flexible friend’

So impressed was Shetland Transport with its first two Gray & Adams insulated and refrigerated curtainside semi-trailers that it is now running another three, and has four more on order.

Like their predecessors, the latest additions to the 2015 Scottish European Haulier of the Year’s fleet of nearly 100 semi-trailers are on regular runs between its headquarters in Lerwick, and depots in Aberdeen and at Coatbridge, near Glasgow.

The 13.6m Gray & Adams trailers were all built at the manufacturer’s production facility in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.

They are equipped with low-emission Thermo King SLX-e 400 refrigeration units, while heavy-duty insulated curtains ensure temperature integrity as well as providing the all-important side access loading capability that Shetland Transport founder and Managing Director Hamish Balfour values so highly.

“Prior to taking delivery of our first two Gray & Adams insulated and refrigerated curtainsiders in 2014, it had been some 15 years since we’d last operated this type of product,” he recalls.

“But those early trailers were not by Gray & Adams and gave us a few headaches, mainly because they weren’t robust enough to withstand the rigours of North Sea ferry crossings.

“However, the Gray& Adams versions, which we purchased along with another batch of our usual, ferry spec box trailers, have proved very successful.”

Also available as truck bodies, Gray & Adams curtainsiders are best-suited to single-temperature distribution operations. Key to the product’s appeal for operators like Shetland Transport, is the flexibility and speed of loading and unloading it offers, compared to a conventional box.

“Most of our outbound loads are of salmon, and other fish, but we also carry a certain amount of what I call ‘ugly’ freight, by which I mean products which are particularly long or big and bulky,” continues Mr Balfour. “Its easy access side-loading capability makes the curtainsider particularly well suited to this type of work.”

He adds: “These trailers are built to typically high Gray & Adams standards, so the first two have performed flawlessly in terms of their strength and component reliability, while we’ve had no issues with regards to temperature control either.”

Gray & Adams designs and builds bespoke transport equipment that meets the precise requirements of its customers’ operations – Shetland Transport’s insulated curtainside trailers, for example, feature specially strengthened chassis, which prevents them from buckling and bending in rough seas during the 12-hour ferry crossing.

Shetland Transport was founded in 1982 and remains a family-run business. Its semi-trailer fleet is dominated by 13.6m boxes built to ferry specification by Gray & Adams. “Some of these trailers are now 20 years old and still going strong,” says Hamish Balfour.

“Gray & Adams provide a first class aftercare service, supporting us with a rolling programme of refurbishment and accident damage repair, so our trailers always look nice and fresh from a presentational point of view.”