Smith & Brock takes its first Fuso reefer

London, UK: Fruit and vegetable wholesaler Smith & Brock has commissioned its first temperature-controlled truck from the new Fuso Canter range.

Sparshatt Truck & Van is processing orders for another six fridge-bodied 3.5-tonners from Smith & Brock. Two should be in service by the end of the year.

The new Canter is more comfortable than its predessor with improved interior insulation that reduces noise.

Smith & Brock was set up in 2016 by brothers Nick and Joe Fowler, serving hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, event and contract caterers, and schools. Its ‘Knock Knock’ doorstep delivery service, launched during the Covid pandemic, was hugely popular with private customers in London.

Smith & Brock moved last spring to a new, larger, purpose-built headquarters in Deptford, south-east London which has the temperature-controlled and paperless warehousing. The company’s previous premises in Camberwell is now dedicated to prepared vegetables, fruit juices and the like.

The new Canter has a single compartment body by Coolfreeze, which also fitted the GAH refrigeration system

In the six years of trading the fleet has grown to 32 vehicles, mostly vans, but the line-up now includes three 7.5-tonners and seven 3.5-tonne examples from the previous Fuso range.

Payload potential was a major factor in the specification. The larger Canters have been in service the longest – two were registered in late 2017, the other in 2019. They undertake deliveries throughout the Home Counties.

Phil McElhatton and Luke McElhatton, of PJM Transport Consultancy which advised on the specification, said: “Smith & Brock started out with vans but the experience has proved pretty disastrous. We’ve had all sorts of problems – engines have gone down, while clogged dpf filters have been and continue to be a particularly common problem.

Phil McElhatton and Luke McElhatton, of PJM Transport Consultancy which advised on the Fuso specification

“The manufacturer’s representative has told us to drive them down the motorway to clear the filters but that’s not a lot of help when you’re based in London, and the work entails multi-drop deliveries in and around the city. We’re trying to save fuel and help the environment, so the last thing we want to be doing is sending vehicles on unnecessary trips out to the M25.”

“We’ve had the same dpf filter issues with more than one brand of van but never with the Canters. I don’t know what Fuso have done, but they seem to have cracked the problem. In fact, the Canter has proved to be a more reliable vehicle all round, which is why it’s now firmly established as Smith & Brock’s chassis of choice.”

Like its previous 3.5-tonne Canters, and those which have yet to come, the latest addition to the fleet is a 3C15 variant. Its 3.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine produces 150hp and 370Nm torque from low engine speeds. A newly developed, compact exhaust system means the all-new 2022 version also meets the Euro VI – Step E emission standard.

A Duonic automated dual-clutch suits operation in congested urban areas, where the Canter’s very tight turning circle is also a major asset.

The new Canter has a single compartment body by Coolfreeze, which also fitted its GAH refrigeration system, and has made a positive impression on Phil McElhatton. “It’s a great step forward,” he enthused. “I was surprised by how much more modern and attractive it looks.”

Pictured top is Smith & Brock co-founder Joe Fowler with the company’s first all-new Fuso Canter, and one of its 7.5-tonners from the previous model generation