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Ex-Forces men Forge new future in logistics
Ex-Servicemen Jamie Keen and James Rose-Shaw have recruited their first truck, a striking Mercedes-Benz tractor unit, and are looking forward to putting nine more into action.
The former brothers-in-arms’ Actros 2548 BigSpace tractor unit wears the colours of Forge Logistics, the Preston-based firm they established 18 months ago. Supplied by local dealer Ciceley Commercials, the truck is powered by a 12.8-litre, in-line six-cylinder engine that generates 350 kW (476 hp). Its flat-floored cab, meanwhile, boasts a TrendLine interior with leather trim, as well as the optional twin-screen multimedia cockpit, interactive, which comes with a larger 12 inch instrument panel and extra functionality. Like all new-generation Actros, it also features the ground-breaking MirrorCam system, with streamlined rear-facing cameras in place of traditional side mirrors, and a market-leading suite of other safety and efficiency technology
On the march: ex-soldiers Jamie Keen, left, and James Rose-Shaw, with the first of their planned 10 Mercedes-Benz Actros
Jamie and James launched their business after serving together in the Army Air Corps, providing ground support services for Apache attack helicopters. Both completed multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan, and on board Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean. They left the Forces determined to put their experience, determination and ‘can do’ attitude to good use in civilian life. Forge Logistics began working for one of the home shopping sector’s leading names, with five Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans. Fast-forward a year and a half and the company is running a fleet of 40 Sprinters. The new tractor unit, meanwhile, will be followed shortly by another nine Actros, which are currently on order. All work full-time for Forge’s sole customer. The vans make local deliveries, while the truck transports consignments from a sorting centre near Haydock to distribution depots across the north of England.
‘We chose Sprinters originally because of the very favourable terms available through our customer’s arrangement with Mercedes-Benz,’ recalls James. ‘They have been great workhorses, while we were also impressed from the outset by the care and attention we received from Ciceley Commercials. They showed a genuine interest in understanding and supporting our business, and its flexibility in arranging services to fit in with our shift patterns has been a great help to our time-critical work.’
‘Our first 18 months in business have been something of a whirlwind,’ continues James. ‘We were already working long hours to get things up and running when COVID-19 hit. While many sectors saw an immediate slowdown, home shopping really took off – Jamie and I have been flat out seven days a week for up to 18 hours a day, to cope with the soaring demand.’
Precious metal: Forge Logistics partners Jamie Keen, left, and James Rose-Shaw with their first Mercedes-Benz Actros
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