David and Virginia Carswell, owners of DNV Transport, have relentlessly pursued their trucking dream of building a successful container carrying and logistics business.
The newest addition to the fleet is rather unique, in that it is a stunning limited-edition 100th anniversary day-cab Mack Trident that according to the Carswells was the very last day-cab Trident available from the 100-strong series of Anniversary edition Super-Liners and Tridents.
“We were told this was the last 100th Anniversary day-cab Trident available and we are very pleased and excited to have added it to our fleet,” says Virginia.
While some transport companies remain loyal to one brand of truck, the Carswells decided some time ago that it was necessary to introduce a second brand to their fleet in order to ensure they were receiving the best possible value for their hard-earned dollars in terms of acquiring and maintaining their trucks.
This was the reasoning behind the introduction of the Mack Trident product into the fleet, which has proven to be a useful addition to the business.
“We wanted to spread our wings a bit and we felt that we needed to introduce some competition between brands into our truck buying equation, so that we didn’t have all our eggs in the one basket,” says David. “We had a few issues that needed to be sorted and Mack came to us with a solution, so we decided to give them a chance.
“The Volvo Commercial Vehicles Australia (VCVA) dealership is at Pinkenba so if we need to take a truck there it is only a 20-minute run over the Gateway Bridge.”
Parts commonality is another factor that’s high on the priority list at DNV Transport. Which is why David and Virginia are happy that the Mack Granite and Trident share the 535hp MP8 engine, meaning they use the same filters and other engine parts.
“With most of our equipment we try to maintain high commonality to reduce our filter and drive belt inventory,” says David. “We have five O’Phee (Drake) BoXLoaders now whereas we used to have three side-loaders of another brand. We sold two of them and now we just have the one, and we recently bought another Box-Loader.”
David says he was introduced to the trailers after buying a second-hand unit and soon realised it had a number of benefits and features he’d been looking for.
“I’ve found the BoXLoaders to be more stable than other brands when loading or unloading full containers and it also tows better on the road,” says David. “We have our own mechanic and he prefers to work on the BoXLoaders compared to other brands. They are very well built and have the ability to carry heavy containers all day every day without any issues.
“They are a bit heavier than other brands but, I reckon this makes them more durable in the long run.”
Kenworth and Mack
Rewinding to when they first started the business, David says the Kenworth trucks they bought initially were second- hand units because that was what they could afford at the time.
“We started off buying $100,000 cab-over Kenworths and gradually worked our way up through $130,000 units until we had five of them. Then about five years ago we purchased our first brand new truck,” says David. “This was a Kenworth T409SAR with a Paccar MX engine and we ended up buying another three identical units over the next few years.”
Today, the number of Kenworth cab-overs in the fleet sits at three, with one of these due to be traded on a new T410SAR around the middle of this year.
Touching again on the subject of parts commonality, David says it was important that the T410SAR runs the same MX engine as the T409SAR. He says once the last Kenworth cab-over is sold in the next few years there will be no more Cummins engines in the DNV Transport fleet.
As the topic turns to business growth, both David and Virginia agree the current business size is about right and that they will now focus on streamlining to improve efficiencies.
“We are where we need to be and now it’s a matter of honing and fine-tuning what we’ve got to do to improve productivity,” says Virginia, adding that COVID-19 has had no detrimental effect on the business whatsoever, in fact completely the opposite.
“Coming up to Christmas last year our workload went crazy because all the container ships that were held back earlier in the year, some spent several weeks waiting in Singapore, came in and had to be unloaded,” says David. “Some of our customers who normally get one container every three months were getting two turning up at once, and they don’t have the room to unload two at once, we were getting smashed.”