Joe Joseph, Managing Director of JD Refrigerated Transport, reckons that part of his recipe for success is about structuring the business correctly from senior management to office staff and drivers.
Joe has an interesting career history for the owner of a trucking firm. He was an accountant with Ernst and Young and spent 20 years in consumer goods and was also in the private equity space in Sydney. However, the native Queenslander wanted a move back to the Sunny State so that their kids could grow up with their cousins in Brisbane.
“We have a six-member strong management team and we hired an experienced senior transport person about two years ago, which has helped us take the gloves off a bit more and position the business for growth,” says Joe.
Today, there are 21 trucks in the fleet, roughly a 50-50 split between heavy rigids and heavy/multi-combinations including two B-doubles, 13 rigids and six semis.
Interestingly, the two new B-double prime movers, a Mercedes-Benz 2663 Mirrorless and a Kenworth T610SAR, are being pitted against each other on a regular 2300km round trip to north Queensland in a bid to ascertain which brand is most suitable for this aspect of the company’s operations.
With both coupled to impressive-looking new FTE refrigerated trailer combinations, the T610SAR is actually the first Kenworth to join the JD fleet, with the six semi-trailers hauled by Mercedes-Benz 2653 prime movers.
The B-doubles run on alternate legs between Brisbane and Bowen hauling fresh produce to the Brisbane markets, where JD Refrigerated Transport has a storage facility and depot and returning to Bowen loaded with equipment. They also do a run down to Glen Innes in northern New South Wales.
For this long-distance work Joe decided it was the right time to invest in a B-double hauler from Australia’s leading heavy-duty brand to see how it stacks up against the high-tech Mercedes-Benz product.
“I’d always wanted a Kenworth and I thought, if ever we’re going to try one of their trucks, then now is the time,” says Joe.
Not only the first Kenworth, the T610SAR is also the first bonneted American truck purchased by the business. It features a subtle but effective change of livery, with a reversal of the striking colour scheme in the company’s unique blue and white regalia provided by Fleet Imaging.
“Ever since it arrived the feedback has been fantastic,” says Joe. “Our best form of advertising is a well-maintained fleet and our team of passionate drivers. They take great pride in keeping the fleet looking sharp, which is our greatest billboard.”
With that said, Joe also has high praise for the new 2663 Mirrorless which is the seventh Mercedes-Benz in his operation.
“The entire team at Daimler Brisbane went out of their way in the early days to support our business as we grew,” says Joe. “In fact, they’ve done such a great job that after having six Mercedes-Benz prime movers I’m very pleased to have purchased my seventh.”
While Joe acknowledges that there are plenty of sales people and transport operators who are happy to share their views on the great debate over supremacy between European and North American prime movers, he wants to find out for himself just how they compare on the line-haul B-double runs.
“We’re running both vehicles on exactly the same route to assess their operational efficiency, driver satisfaction, safety and fuel economy and we’ll be able to line up all of these different operational parameters like for like,” says Joe. “The time for talking is over. I’ve listened to the sales guys and I’ve heard everything in theory. Now I want to line the two trucks up side-by-side and make up my own mind based on real world conditions.”
Joe says he is super proud of the two new B-double combinations which will be kept busy working around the clock, racking up around 250,000km annually.
“They’re high cube trailers with each combination carrying 34 pallet spaces of produce,” says Joe. “FTE has delivered a terrific final product and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”
“There’s a massive amount of work that has gone into specifying these new combinations, both behind the scenes and throughout the growth of the business,” he says. “We needed to make sure they were exactly right for our needs.”