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12 Jan 11. Ryder held a Press Briefing at Colchester Garrison on Tuesday to discuss its bid for the MoD Project Phoenix White Fleet Requirement. BATTLESPACE will be running a feature on this visit in our June special vehicle issue.

The British Army has two main transport fleets: green for combat, and white which does almost everything else. And now major contracts which make up Project Phoenix, for the supply of those important non-combat white vehicles – are out to tender. The contracts span 5 years, are collectively worth over £100m a year and one of the bidders is Ryder.

Ryder Europe, with well over 3,000 customers, is part of Ryder System Inc, a Fortune 500 provider of leading-edge transport solutions worldwide which was founded in Miami, Florida in 1933. The European business has almost 1,000 employees, manages 12,500 vehicles and has a turnover of nearly £160m. In the UK it has 23 service locations and access to 340 independent workshops as part of its FleetCare network.

Ryder, as part of a pioneering PFI, has successfully provided the white fleet vehicles for the MoD in Germany for more than 22 years and now has put together a dedicated team of experts to bid for this new contract, which involves the management of more than 15,000 vehicles of all types. Over half of the vehicles are cars and the rest span just about every type of wheeled support vehicle, from quads to buses. These vehicles provide day-in, day-out support for Britain’s armed services – they are quite literally the wheels of the military.

With its global leadership in advanced vehicle rental and management, Ryder is well-qualified for the task. In the UK, it provides its customers, commercial and public sector, with a comprehensive range of services spanning vehicle procurement through all aspects of fleet management and driver services through to vehicle disposal. Its systems, honed in the testing conditions of the highly-regulated environment of the road transport industry, are second to none.

As well as its proven track record with the MoD (see accompanying panel) Ryder’s fleet management experience in the commercial vehicle sector, where legislative requirements demand strict record keeping and frequent vehicle safety checks, means that its reporting system far exceeds the standards of those commonly used amongst car fleet managers, enabling it to provide robust and timely information about every vehicle under its care.

“We are devoting every effort to securing this key contract and our dedicated team combines in depth defence experience and expertise with fleet management capability”, said David Hunt, the UK-based Vice President and Managing Director of Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder Europe. “We believe, as we have demonstrated for approaching a quarter of a century in Germany, that we have all of the attributes necessary to provide the MoD and its personnel with outstanding levels of transport service including Fleet Management, wherever required”.

Delivering the goods at Colchester Garrison

At Colchester Garrison, home to the 16th Air Assault Brigade, Ryder manages the daily transport needs of 8,000 personnel. It’s a really complex operation – Contract Manager David Flinn explains what’s involved:

“Many of our 24-strong team based at Colchester Garrison don’t know what they’ll be doing tomorrow – particularly our drivers, who could be off to Scotland or Aldershot with little notice. We have a fleet of vehicles at the base, but it is never enough. The office also makes a huge number of rental hire transactions.

“A lot of days start like today”, says David. “Every telephone glows red hot. Transport requests come in by the hundred and we process at a rate of 26,000 hire days per year for additional vehicles alone. Although there are advance bookings, the name of the game here is rapid deployment. For example, an aircraft could be diverted to another

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