Most van hire companies offer luton vans with standard rigid boxes.
A handful of rental firms also offer 3.5-tonne curtainsiders, which are basically luton vans with canvas sides that can be pulled back to allow loading and unloading from the side of the vehicle.
Curtainsiders are useful for wide loads and those which need to be loaded by a fork lift, rather than a trolley jack or manually.
But I don’t think any rental firms offer vans offering the best of both worlds — one rigid side and one curtainside.
Pontyclun-based LVT Transport specialises in kitchen and furniture delivery for major retailers. With new customers coming on board in 2018, founder Ceri Leigh has invested in additional vehicles for this year.
One of these is a Sprinter 314 CDI on a long wheelbase that’s been fitted with a luton body with one rigid side and one curtainside.
This unusual configuration allows 3.0-metre wide loading access for forklift trucks, while preserving the traditional luton advantages of rigid sides with load securing restraints. The van will be used by the firm’s uniformed two-man delivery teams, who provide a ‘white glove’ service, positioning, unpacking and assembling furniture for customers before removing all packaging.
Like most Sprinter owners, Mr Leigh waxes lyrical about the quality and reliability of Mercedes-Benz vans:
“We purchased a Sprinter five years ago which now has 320,000 miles on the clock, and is still on its original engine, gearbox and clutch. It has never let us down. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, though – it’s just what we’ve come to expect. So good has that vehicle been that while it’s no longer covering the whole country, we’re keeping it for local deliveries.”
Mr Leigh teamed up with co-owner and fellow Director Amy Van Tiel in 2013, when they rebranded the company as LVT Transport.
In 2016 the two broadened their service offering by forming LVT Warehouse & Distribution – they started out with 3,500 sq ft of storage space but so successful has the new venture been that since then they have more than tripled the total capacity, and plan to have in excess of 30,000 sq ft of warehousing before the end of 2018.