It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that Mark Edwards lives and breathes tankers, although in his younger days downhill slalom skiing as part of the GB team played an important part of his life. Now 48 – and running a business with a fleet of 29 vehicles on commercial contracts with the likes of Anglian water – there is little time for sporting pursuits.
“My father bought one of the first Dynarod franchises when I was eight and you could say I was hooked from that point onwards” said Mark, speaking from his busy Ipswich office. “My relationship with Whale goes back to 1988 when I went up to the Midlands to have a look at a second hand vehicle. I’d heard about them, so I took the opportunity to visit their factory in Ravenshaw. I liked what I saw and ordered a MV JetVac and a 3,000 litre JetVac through my then Double A Drains business.”
Rolling the clock forward, BM Tankering/Go Tankers – two of the seven companies that make up the Associated Waste Group – have invested in a total of 29 vehicles over the last four years, including eight 26/32 tonne Vacuum tankers with Jetters to service a wide range of commercial and domestic work undertaken throughout the East Anglia region. As well as buying new, BM Tankering has also added some second hand KaiserWhales to the fleet too.
“Having operated other makes of tankers over the years, it’s got to be Whale for me now whether I’m buying new, second hand or hiring in” said Mark Edwards. “I know when I’m operating a Whale machine that has been built for my operational requirements, it will be reliable and, if there is a problem, it will be resolved quickly by their aftermarket support organisation.
“Keeping a vehicle on the job is vital in our line of business, particularly as our work for utility companies is very much performance focused. During the recent floods our vehicles have been working 24 hours a day, so reliability is vital.”
Mark Edwards also points to whole life costs as key to his investment choice. “The capital cost is actually a relatively small part of the overall cost equation. Downtime is expensive and over the last four years we have not had one tanker off the road for more than 48 hours. We recently had a pump that seized at 4pm – by
9am the next morning the new pump had been fitted and the vehicle was back in service. Everyone has problems – it is the way that they get solved that makes the difference and Whale have got their parts support nailed.”
That said, there are still some ‘intangibles’ that influence his thinking too. “I’ve visited every tanker manufacturer in the UK – and quite a few in Europe too – and I always enjoy going to the Whale factory most. They understand my requirements from both an engineering and operational perspective and take real pride in the vehicles that they are building.”
With two heavy duty, multi-purpose AquaWhales currently in build, it seems that Mark Edwards will continue to be a regular visitor to Whale Tankers at Ravenshaw.