Big Chill supersizes fleet with 12 new Volvo trucks

In News, Volvo3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 1, 2023

Kiwi temperature-controlled transport company Big Chill has taken delivery of 12 new Volvo FH16 600 tractor units.

The heavy haulers will be deployed nationwide and are rolling out from this week.

They will join the company’s existing 150-strong fleet of refrigerated trucks and tractor units, as Big Chill scales up operations following its purchase by Freightways.

Big Chill is also taking delivery of a further 24 replacement FM 500 Volvo truck and tractor units this year.

Big Chill, currently with nine depots around the country increasing to 11 depots by October, will use the trucks to transport chilled and frozen goods to retail and food service industries.

“The Volvo FH16 is an industry icon. It’s a big step up from what we’ve typically used for fleet vehicles,” said Big Chill general manager Phil Clarke.

“The new trucks are big and powerful. Their powertrains are designed for heavier loads, which is spot on for the meat, seafood and dairy we’re moving up and down the country,” he said.

“Plus they’re fuel efficient and have low exhaust emissions, meeting Euro-5 standards.”

The FH16’s can pull combination weights up to 44 tonnes if needed. Big Chill will be able to load up to 52 pallets on each truck – a 10% increase in weight capacity over standard refrigerated trailers.

With Volvo trucks’ I-Shift automated gearbox technology and fully digital driver interface display, the trucks are customised specially for Big Chill’s needs to move chilled and frozen goods. The I-Shift system communicates with the engine, allowing it to adjust the revs and brakes for best performance.

“It’s clever tech that is constantly evaluating information about speed, weight, road grade and torque demand. Essentially it makes for an easier, safer and more comfortable ride for our drivers,” said Clarke.

“Our long-haul truckies can cover up to 3800km a week, so having a smooth, safe ride is really important.”

Logistics supplier to high-volume chilled food manufacturers, Big Chill is dialling up its customer focus and upgrading even more than its fleet this year with investment in new depots, technology and its people coming to fruition.

“We have our brand new 13,000m2 cool store facility opening at the Ruakura superhub this year, we’re about to start the roll out of a new customer IT solution and we’re intent on maintaining a young and high-quality fleet,” said Clarke.

“It’s an exciting time for the Big Chill team and our customers.”