Telehandler In Major JCB Fleet Expansion

The largest telehandler firm in the UK has placed a major new order with JCB to expand is fleet, purchasing 525 new Loadhall telescopic handlers.

Ardent Hire Solutions is spending £26 million on the new machines, which will range from the smaller 525-60 model to the 540-200 model and have reaches between six and 20 metres.

JCB revealed the new machines, which are being supplied by JCB dealer Watling JCB, are being manufactured right now in the main factory at Rocester in Staffordshire. The new order also includes 25 backhoe loaders.

Chief financial officer at Ardent Julian O’Neill said: “Our telehandler fleet is already the largest anywhere in the UK and this substantial investment strengthens our position in the telescopic handler hire sector.”

Ardent has 7,000 hire machines based at 11 depots. Of these, ten are in England, including at London, Medway in Kent, Fareham in Hampshire, Oxford, Bristol, Ipswich, Cambridge, Tamworth, Haydock and Leeds. There is also a depot in Glasgow. 

It is not the first deal JCB has had from Ardent, which bought £75 million worth of machines in 2019. However, the latest transaction suggests Ardent is confident that its clients in the construction sector will be busy in the months and years ahead as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

The new machines all use JCB LiveLink telematics technology, which are compatible with Ardent’s own Site Manager digital platform to improve productivity and site safety.

According to Ian Anfield, the managing director of freelance construction payments body Hudson Contract, the present sector outlook is good.

Reflecting recently on the state of the construction sector as new figures on self-employment in the industry were published, he said: “There are widespread reports of full order books among our clients.” 

He added that the one significant threat to this at present would be a “slump” in the housing market, which could reduce residential construction orders.