Pumping the tank dry: Franklin MacDonalds’ Actros is custom-built

Vehicle & Technology

A customised workplace.

Franklin MacDonalds transports oil and emulsions in his tank trailer. The special vehicle is based on the Actros 2543 LS with trailing axle.

Mourik highly regards Mercedes-Benz trucks as the basis for its own custom bodies.

Some days, Franklin MacDonalds drives a mere 50 kilometres in his Actros. The vehicle is nevertheless the basis for his daily work. He just recently got his new truck. The Actros is more than a means of transport – it’s the tool that Franklin works with.

The 53-year-old has been driving for Mourik for 22 years now. And he still loves working there. This is no exception in the family-owned company. Many of his colleagues have been on board for 25 years or more.


“Anniversary model”: Franklin’s new Actros was given the internal fleet vehicle number 2000.

In the tank: oil and emulsions.

Franklin is mainly responsible for a customer in IJmuiden. “I pick up oil and emulsions from the plant,” he explains. He uses a large vacuum pump behind the driver’s cab to transfer the liquids into the big tank. “When the tank trailer is full, it’s off to the big storage tanks on-site. It’s not far, but I also drive to Moerdijk or Weert twice a week.” This is where the oil goes for further processing. “Of course I’m on the road for longer then. My day simply flies by. There’s nobody looking over my shoulder. And I’ve just got a good tool to work with,” he says pointing at the Actros behind him. The truck has an automatic weighing system that shows Franklin exactly when the tank is either completely full or empty. This saves time.

Working for a diverse company.

Mourik started out as a local building contractor and has since become international, opening branches all over the world and employing more than 2.000 staff. The areas of application are wide-ranging: from building and maintaining national roads and reinforcing dykes to cleaning and maintenance work on petrochemical plants.


Franklin is thrilled with his new Actros with its specially developed body.
Franklin is thrilled with his new Actros with its specially developed body.
Franklin is thrilled with his new Actros with its specially developed body.
Franklin is thrilled with his new Actros with its specially developed body.
Behind the 2543’s StreamSpace driver’s cab, there’s enough space for the big vacuum pump.
Behind the 2543’s StreamSpace driver’s cab, there’s enough space for the big vacuum pump.

The company’s own custom bodies.

The company operates as a body manufacturer. Franklin: “We build the bodies on-site at Mourik. It’s a total supercompany in this regard, too.” At Mourik, they often go for Mercedes-Benz trucks. Especially when the truck has to be fitted with a specific set-up, as is the case for Franklin. Mercedes‑Benz is what is known as “bodybuilding friendly” at Mourik. Nevertheless, around 1.400 man-hours go into building a set-up like this. Franklin’s Actros was deliberately ordered as a model 2543 LS ENA with a wide StreamSpace driver’s cab. Enough space had to be created to install the vacuum pump behind the driver’s cab. This Actros with a single-wheel trailing axle is 90 centimetres longer than a conventional 6×2 leading axle. “The set-up is of course very practical for my work,” says Franklin. “And I think it looks really nice now that the space between the driver’s cab and tank or silo trailer has been filled with the pump. But the truck is also fantastic to drive and it’s easily as comfortable to ride in as a car. I don’t say this often, but I’m really spoilt!”

Most importantly of all: concentrating at work.

As a driver with a permanently assigned truck, Franklin feels very responsible for his vehicle. “You always have to stay focused,” he explains. “Otherwise accidents will happen. It starts with checking if there really isn’t any pressure in the hose when decoupling.” Of course he also has to be on the ball when he’s on the road: “Last week, somebody was driving in the middle lane on the motorway, and then suddenly pulled over into the right lane. My Proximity Control Assist kicked in there, thankfully. It works really well.” Franklin doesn’t like mess in the driver’s cab. “I basically clean all day long,” he says and laughs. “I like keeping it all clean and tidy, otherwise it’ll all fall to pieces. And this truck has to last us a few more years.” When Franklin has a break, he picks up the owner’s manual for his Actros. “I want to know everything, and every week I’m reminded what an amazing truck it is. I’m sure I’ll keep going for another ten years with my truck!”


Franklin’s new Actros just happens to be very special: Mourik numbers each of its commercial vehicles and Franklin’s truck bears the number 2000. An “anniversary model” that’s in the best of hands with Franklin.


Photos: MCR

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