Convenience Store spent a morning in Batleys’ Gillingham depot in Kent to find out which vans were favourites with local retailers

Ferhat Yildiz, Express Food Centre, Gillingham:

Ferhat Yildiz

“I come in here almost every day. I like to see what’s on offer and my friends are always in here so it’s good to catch up. My van is an 07 Transit. I’ve got a Mercedes Sprinter as well. It’s bigger and better than the Transit so I use it when I need a lot of things. They cost around the same to run but the services are far more expensive for the Mercedes but there are longer periods between servicing than the Transit. The Mercedes is a bit juicier too, but I still prefer it.”


Cemal Uzum, Medway Stores, Gillingham:

Cemal Uzum

“My shop is two miles away and I come in three or four times a week. I’ve got a VW van. I’ve had it 11 years - from new. It’s been very reliable and it’s also very big.”


Chris Page, Page’s Cranbrook:

Chris Page

“I come here twice a week. It’s not my nearest depot but we prefer it.

 “I’ve come in a Ford Transit which we’ve had for six months. It’s second hand and my dad chose it because it’s big and efficient. Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen it; I preferred the Citroen we had before.”


Colin Jones, Costcutter, Strood:

Colin Jones

“I come to Batleys because there are certain things I can’t get elsewhere such as Country Choice cider and the V and Boost energy drinks. I’ve got a Ford Transit, which I’ve had for a few months. It came along at the right time and at the right price. Before that I was using an estate car. The Transit is better; it’s reliable and has rear and side doors so it’s easy to load up. The panelling on the van also means that I can lock any cigarettes inside and they can’t be seen.”


Tacim Dere, Best One Express, Chatham:

Tacim Dere

“I come here two or three times a week in our Iveco van which we’ve had for six years. It’s big, reliable and doesn’t let me down. Iveco have a good reputation for vans and the engine is good. It’s a ‘57 reg and has done around 120,000 miles. I’d never buy a brand new van for the cash and carry run, as they can get scratched by trolleys - and dented by other vans. We’ll just use this van until it gives up then get another.”

Top 10 van registrations 2015 (so far)

1) Ford Transit Custom

2) Vauxhall Vivaro

3) VW Transporter

4) Peugeot Partner

5) Ford Transit

6) Citroen Berlingo

7) Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

8) Ford Transit Connect

9) Renault Trafic

10) Peugeot Boxer

Source: SMMT


Are you covered?

Most convenience store retailers will have a shop insurance package, which will include some cover for transport of their own goods in their own vehicle (goods in transit).

“It is a standard part of most shop policies,” explains Steve O’Donnell, branch director at Bluefin, “and typically provides cover for up to £2,500-£3,000 of your own goods. This sum can usually be increased on request. Any claim is subject to the policy excess.”

O’Donnell reminds retailers that their van insurance does not cover the goods in the vehicle. “Most c-stores will find their shop policy will give adequate cover, but in some circumstances you may need a standalone goods in transit policy.”

As with most insurances, he says that there are conditions that you need to be aware of and each policy needs to be read as there are differences from one insurer to another.

Typically, cover is given for: goods owned by you, or in your custody and control. This does not include any goods you are carrying for any other persons/business.

O’Donnell says the goods in transit cover offered is conditional, with those conditions again varying by insurance company. Typically they’ll include:

When the vehicle is unattended, it must be locked and any alarm set.

Excludes fine art, jewellery, cameras and paintings. Personal items and money belonging to the driver may be covered, but not usually electronic items.

It excludes:

Any goods for hire and reward

Overnight cover, unless the vehicle is in a secure and locked garage or compound, and the vehicle is locked and - if fitted - alarmed

Insufficient packaging - so claims regarding pothole damage are unlikely to be met.

O’Donnell warns: “The most common form of theft occurs when a retailer has visited their cash and carry, wheeled the trolley to the vehicle, unloaded and then not locked the van for the few moments when they’re returning the trolley. There can be skilled thieves sitting in the car park, watching for such events, and pouncing. You will not have insurance cover for such eventualities.”