Expansion and Diversity Fuel Growth

expansion and diversity fuel growth

Malec Brothers Transport is an Australian family-owned company which has seen substantial expansion and diversity fuel growth. 

Started in 1997 by Matthew Malec and his dad Les, Malec Brothers Transport, with just one truck, started out as a general freight business from the family’s home base in North Geelong, Victoria. The fleet has steadily grown over the years, moving into timber in 2008 and then into Import and Export with containers. 

“After we started out in General Freight, an opportunity came up in logging when it was booming around 12 years ago,” says Matthew. “We bought three logging trucks to start with, then looked at packing the wood into containers for export to China and its continued from there.”

Soon after starting out, Matthew met his wife Joanna who now runs the business alongside Matthew, after Matthew’s dad Les retired. 

“We started the business in North Geelong then moved to Lara for 12 years before opening the new depot in Yarraville in Melbourne,” says Matthew. “Racheal and I moved to the Gold Coast two years ago so we run the business from here.” 

The business now operates from several locations, including Adelaide, Yarraville in Melbourne, Stapylton in Queensland and from the head office on the Gold Coast. The expansion has not just been with transport as the business has pushed to manage the end to end supply chain for producing wood, starting with their own plantations. 

expansion and diversity fuel growth

“With our own plantation, we are now able to control the products from start to finish,” says Matthew. “With no middlemen we have been able to grow the business quickly. We source, harvest, transport and export plantation pine and hardwood as raw whole logs.” 

In line with this philosophy, the fleet covers all aspects of logging, containers, general freight including logging trailers, flat beds with truck mounted forklifts, container skels, reach stackers and specialised log handlers. 

Besides the wood products, Malec Brothers also specialise in various building materials such as tiles, bricks, stone, timber flooring, building materials and supplies. 

In the beginning, Matthew ran an old Isuzu, so continued with the brand initially as the fleet grew. 

“They went OK until they added EGR then we started to see problems,” says Matthew. “We then tried Fuso but have been really happy since moving to DAF when they offered a deal to trade in our older fleet. Some of those DAFs are now nearing five years old with one million kilometres on the clock. They’ve been great and still run on their original engines.” 

The Malec Brothers fleet now runs mostly Paccar brands with 12 Kenworths which are mainly T909s for heading into the forests, then around 62 DAFs operating across both the general freight and logging businesses. 

expansion and diversity fuel growth

“We are very happy with the DAFs and particularly the support we get from the Paccar Dealership in Bayswater, Victoria. Steve Wilson and Ron Ludbrook have helped us for years and their aftersales service is excellent,” says Matthew. 

“We still get drivers who want to drive the Kenworth, but most of them now appreciate the new DAFs with the extra comfort,” explains Matthew. “So, with the after-sales support you get from Paccar, they are a great option. I also like buying Australian, so now that the DAFs are built in Bayswater, we will continue with DAF for our next buys.” 

For the Malec trailer fleet, Matthew tries to stick with the local suppliers with the logging trailers coming from Elphinstone and Vawdrey. 

“We didn’t realise that Vawdrey made logging trailers until we were talking to them about our other trailers,” says Matthew. “We have a few in the fleet now and are happy with them. The Elphinstone trailers are great too and we never have an issue with them.” 

To keep operations fully complaint, MT DATA look after the GPS monitoring and reporting side of the business and helps to monitor when the assets are due for servicing too. 

“We try send a lot of our gear to our own workshop in Yarraville, but when we bought these 32 DAFs we went with the full contract maintenance contract so Paccar can look after them for their full life cycle,” reveals Matthew.

Better Maintenance Means Better Results A new report from National Transport Insurance and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has demonstrated what smart operators in the trucking industry have known for a long time, that better maintenance means better results. Hopefully, the publication of this report will lead to something the industry has been calling for, over many years, increased compliance attention on those who maintain trucks poorly. The NHVR and NTI have shared de-identified critical road crash data, combining their research with data from NTI’s NTARC Major Accident Investigation Report and the NHVR’s National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey used to create a new report which looks at the relationship between vehicle standards and safety performance. In the past there has been very little evidence, which governmental bodies would accept as evidence, which proves a link between vehicle maintenance and major incidents. This was due to a separation between organisations which hold data on vehicle condition and those who have access to crash data. This initiative between NHVR and NTI is an important step forward in sharing insights. Ten key areas were examined in the report, including brakes, couplings, steering and suspension, wheels and tyres, structure, seats, lights, mirrors, windscreens, and engine and driveline to determine there was a correlation between poor maintenance and increased claims frequency and cost. “There was a 29 per cent increase in frequency and a 22 per cent increase in the cost of claims for transport companies with poorly maintained couplings,” said Adam Gibson, NTI’s Transport and Logistics Risk Engineer. “For wheel and tyre defects, the frequency was 32 per cent higher than the baseline while cost was 26 per cent higher. “It’s important to note this does not show crashes were caused by defects in those systems, but that operators with trucks in which couplings, wheels and tyres were not well maintained, were involved in a greater number of claims. The link is correlative, not causative. “There was only a three per cent higher frequency and four per cent higher cost compared to the baseline for operators who had vehicles with defects in their braking system. This is due to the way braking systems were tested back in 2016, and that process has now undergone a significant overhaul.” NHVR Director Vehicle Safety and Performance Peter Austin said this report highlighted the importance of regular and effective maintenance regimes across the heavy vehicle fleet. “Well maintained vehicles operating on our road network are essential to the safety of all road users,” said Peter. “The NHVR has a long-standing commitment to evidence-based enforcement, which is why we take a national, risk-based approach to checking whether heavy vehicles in the fleet are maintained. “If we see a history of non-compliance, we intervene early and investigate further to prevent a potential accident from occurring. The report marks an important step forward, with the expertise and insights shared across the regulator and insurer providing opportunities to reduce fatalities on our roads.” Read the full report here. https://www.nti.com.au/brands/nti/risk-management-services/roadworthiness-report