The Trucks Of Instagram

The Trucks Of Instagram

Here they are, the trucks of Instagram. Truckies all over the country are using their phones to put together some nice photographic portfolios. The headline photo at the top of the page comes from ‘nighthawktransport Goes alright with a camera this bloke! #Freightliner #EndTippers #Tippers #TipTruck #Sunset’

#LightsOnForNick #NTTrucking #CartingHay #GetTrucked #NighthawkTransport #WesternStar #HaySeason

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⛟ Mega Quad

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Small Fleets Face an Uphill Battle

Small Fleets Face an Uphill Battle

Looking around the trucking industry today there is no doubt small fleets face an uphill battle.

 

Operating from Western Sydney, Barry Garousse and his partner Lisa run Garousse Refrigerated, a successful small fleet hauling an eclectic mix of general, refrigerated and dry powder freight.

 

Small Fleets Face an Uphill Battle

 

Having a lifelong passion for trucks and trucking is widely considered a prerequisite for anyone brave enough to venture into the realm of small fleet operation in Australia. Let’s face it, what with slim profit margins, ever-tightening regulations, fuel-price fluctuations, driver-recruitment issues, just to name a few, it’s not for the faint hearted. Yet for someone like Barry Garousse who has lived and breathed trucks for as long as he can remember, perhaps it was a foregone conclusion that one day he would be running his own show.

 

“An owner driver, Colin Graham, had been hauling for Primo for 18 years and decided to hang up his boots and sell his truck and trailer,” said Garousse. “I saw it as an ideal opportunity to buy my own truck, it was a dream I’d always had stemming from my dad and other relatives having their own trucks. So I thought this is my time and decided to bite the bullet and do it. Now 14 years later, I’m still carrying for Primo.”

 

Talking with Barry, it’s clear he has immense respect for the many people who have helped him throughout his journey from leaving school to where he is today. He is grateful for the family, friends, drivers and mechanics that surround his operation, ensuring its success. For instance, he speaks highly of Colin Graham who after selling Barry the truck helped out with relief driving when needed for years to come.

 

The original rig was an old Mitsubishi coupled to a 20-pallet Maxi-Cube fridge van. However, after 12 months this was upgraded to a 22-pallet jumbo FTE van and another year later a three-year-old Isuzu Giga took the Mitsi’s place.

 

“I bought the Isuzu purely as a business decision – it was the right price and had only done 217,000km.

 

“We still have that truck today, it’s clocked 928,000km and I can honestly say it’s earned the most money and cost the least to maintain out of all the trucks I’ve owned.”

 

While the original Isuzu Giga served him well in the early years, Barry’s long-held dream to one day own a Kenworth became a reality in ’07 after Primo offered him extra work.

 

“I’d been working with Primo for four years when the manager, Mark Olson, asked me if I’d be interested in putting on another truck doing shuttle work between Primo’s two sites,” said Barry. “I went away, did a bit of homework and decided to take the risk and do it. I bought a used T401 Kenworth and another FTE trailer to do the job. I also employed two drivers as the truck is double shifted morning and afternoon.”

 

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Barry hadn’t deliberately planned to become a small fleet operator but as time progressed opportunities came up which enabled him to grow the business.

It’s Showtime

It’s Showtime

Only a few sleeps and it’s showtime, with the Brisbane Truck Show (BTS) celebrating 50 years since its first event. The image above shows Brisbane’s humble beginnings, but this year’s show, from May 25-28 and organised by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), will see over 300 exhibitors and an estimated 35,000 attendees on site.

 

The inaugural HVIA National Apprentice Challenge will see heavy-vehicle mechanical apprentices from around Australia representing their region in the ‘hands-on’ competition, as three regional teams work simultaneously, on identical trucks supplied by Fuso Australia, to identify and rectify a series of programmed faults as the clock ticks.

 

“For Kenworth, the show is all about the revolutionary T610 and T610SAR,” said Brad May, Paccar Australia’s Director Sales and Marketing. “Launched little more than five months ago, the new model is certainly living up to its billing as ‘Our Best Truck Yet’. We are delighted with the market’s response due to its versatility, space and safety features, and the T610 and two T610SARs on display are certain to draw in everyone to have a look.”

 

It’s Showtime

 

Also on display will be a number of DAF models including a 510hp version of the CF85. Known as the MX375 due to its 375kW output, the higher rating of the 13-litre MX engine was previously exclusive to the Kenworth T409 range and DAF’s flagship XF105 model.

 

Isuzu will be showcasing 11 trucks at the Show. The trucks will traverse the range from the N Series Ready to Work models, right up the weight scale to a Giga CXY Tipper.

 

Fuso will give visitors a taste of the future with a virtual reality experience on its stand. In addition to checking out the latest real-world Fuso models, attendees will be able to immerse themselves in a virtual Fuso showroom, sit inside a range of virtual Fuso trucks and experience a thrill ride that showcases the lifelike nature of cutting-edge VR technology. The Fuso VR program also allows visitors to configure their own truck in a workshop setting. Participants can choose from five Fuso Canter light duty truck models and fit them out with a range of popular truck bodies.

 

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Scania will showcase the all-new S500, its first public presentation in the Southern Hemisphere following the global reveal in Paris last August. The new model features a completely flat cab floor allowing drivers up to 207cm tall to stand upright.

 

It’s Showtime

 

Mercedes-Benz is launching an all-new on-highway rigid Actros range at the Show, as well as presenting its newly introduced prime mover models. The new rigid model was part of a local testing program including more than 35 customers, 20 trucks and more than 1.8 million kilometres. All the details will be revealed at the show, but Mercedes will include a mix of 4×2, 6×2, 6×4 and 8×4 models.

 

It’s Showtime

 

Iveco Australia will be showcasing up to 10 vehicles from across the Iveco and International product ranges. There will be a wide selection of trucks and vans spanning the light-, medium- and heavy-duty weight categories. Additionally, the stand will feature a merchandise area and also play host to the star drivers from the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.

 

Freightliner is celebrating its 75th anniversary with something old and something new at this year’s show. On display will be a Coronado 122 stock-hauling special rated at 140-tonnes plus a rare A64-800 1950 ‘Bubblenose’ model, which has been shipped from the US to help celebrate Freightliner’s rich heritage.

 

“The Brisbane Truck Show is the perfect place for Hino to reveal a new vehicle, it is one that our customers have been demanding for a long time,” says Sarah Rosales, Hino National Marketing Manager. Hino will also be showcasing its Hino Advantage customer care program.

 

For UD Trucks, the display is all about the all-new Quon model with a re-engineered cabin that was recently launched in Japan. On the Quon, the ESCOT-VI AMT adopts a new straight shift pattern, and all models feature disc brakes and the new 11-litre GH11 engine reportedly achieves at least five per cent better fuel economy.

 

It’s Showtime

 

 

Cummins will be featuring its new X12 and X15 engines at the show. The X12 is a lightweight, high power density 12-litre engine with peak outputs of 500hp and 1,700 lb ft of torque. The X15 features ADEPT technology, a suite of advanced electronic features Cummins claims is enhancing fuel efficiency by up to six per cent.

 

Freighter will have two of its popular trailer models on display, its classic drop deck semi-trailer with ramps as well as the recently released T-Liner Mark II. Refrigerated trailer brand Maxi-Cube will be showcasing a brand new product at the Brisbane Truck Show. Though the company is yet to reveal any of the details, Truck body brand Peki is set to make a new product announcement at the event.

 

South Australian Redarc Electronic will be using the Show as a platform to launch its Rollover Sensor, the company’s latest heavy-duty safety development. Redarc’s ROS works together with its recently launched Battery Master Isolation Switch (BMIS) to automatically shut down all truck electrics upon identification of dangerous angles, minimising the chance of a spark.

 

Drake Trailers, O’Phee Trailers, Drake Collectables, BoxLoader and Cometto will combine collectively under the newly launched Drake Group banner at the Show. The Group will display a selection of its trailers, including a Drake 4×8 Swingwide extendable, Drake 4×4 Deck widener with Rear Steer axles, O’Phee Tri-Axle Extendable Drop Deck, O’Phee Road Train Dolly and an O’Phee BoXLoader, plus a surprise new model.

 

Carrier Transicold is inviting customers to enter its Solutions Laboratory on its stand, a dedicated space for showcasing and discussing the future of ‘connected refrigeration’. Inside the lab, visitors will experience the technologies in use now or being considered for future generations of Carrier Transicold systems.

 

Thermo King Australia will debut its new SLXi slimline refrigeration unit, expected to be available in single and multi-temperature trailer options. It will also feature Thermo King’s Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD), which will supply power to external systems such as telematics communication hardware.

 

Powerdown took up the challenge to create a gas shock absorber for trailers utilising a specialised, measured low-pressure gas injection process. The key benefit of the new process is it reportedly provides further cooling properties inside the shock absorber, allowing it to operate cooler for longer, thereby retaining full dampening performance. There is also a range of shock absorbers featuring a recommended ride–height sticker. The sticker is designed to indicate where the shock absorber is operating in terms of stroke when fitted to the vehicle.

SCR Cheats, On Board Mass, Tracking, Fridges and Fuel Cells

SCR Cheats, On Board Mass, Tracking, Fridges and Fuel Cells

Diesel is looking at SCR Cheats, On Board Mass, Tracking Fridges and Fuel Cells, as well as a new outlet for Bridgestone in the news this week.

 

SCR Cheats, On Board Mass, Tracking, Fridges and Fuel Cells

A major supermarket contract with Coles makes an order of 235 Vector 1950 multi-temperature fridge units from Carrier become part of the largest known order of refrigerated trailers in Australia.

 

Coles currently operates a 170-unit strong, 100 per cent Carrier fleet in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. With this order, a mix of two- and three-compartment Vector 1950 MT systems will be installed on Maxitrans refrigerated trailers, to be split between Coles distribution centres in Sydney and Perth.

 

“The Vector 1950 MT system gives operators the power to consolidate deliveries, making fleets more efficient and able to cope with frequent door openings,” said Kelly Geddes, Manager, Marketing, Carrier Transicold Australia. “We are pleased to continue as the exclusive transport refrigeration supplier to Coles, providing exceptional product performance and reliability backed by first class customer service.”

 

Telematics Upgrade

 

Teletrac Navman has announced a new integration with PTV Group’s transport planning and optimisation solution. This integration with PTV Group logistics software enhances Teletrac Navman Director’s end-to-end workflow solution for carriers. Fleet managers can reduce the time and manpower needed to plan, optimise, and execute delivery routes.

 

The integration through Teletrac Navman’s open API offers carriers a single interface to optimise the list of stops drivers need to complete in a given time period, taking into account vehicle dimensions, load capacity, road restrictions, hazardous materials and other configurations that may affect the route.

 

Dispatchers receive real-time updates, including vehicle location, speed and mileage, and are able to drill down into overall trip duration, handling and driver time and stops completed to measure against their goals. For drivers, the integration not only provides turn by turn directions, but also eliminates the need for paper invoices and proof of delivery.

 

New Outlet for Bridgestone

 

SCR Cheats, On Board Mass, Tracking, Fridges and Fuel Cells

 

Bridgestone has opened its latest commercial tyre store in Canberra. The Bridgestone Service Centre located in Hume features a solar panel array, energy-saving lighting, recycled rubber flooring and rainwater harvesting for toilets and garden areas, minimising the store’s environmental footprint and reducing long-term operating costs. The Centre is the only store in Canberra to feature B-double drive through truck bays.

 

On Board Mass Specs

 

Transport Certification Australia (TCA) has released the On-Board Mass (OBM) System Functional and Technical Specification.

 

“The Specification represents a major step forward in establishing performance-based outcomes for the accuracy, integrity and performance of OBM systems which can satisfy the needs of both industry and government,” said Chris Koniditsiotis, TCA CEO. “With transport operators continuing to adopt OBM systems to manage commercial obligations, mass compliance and chain-of-responsibility requirements, having assurance in the use of OBM systems is crucial.”

 

SCR Cheat Devices

 

Recent media reports in Europe have revealed ‘AdBlue emulator’ devices are being installed by truck operators in order to by-pass or stop the AdBlue injection system. European truck manufacturers are seeking EU legislation against aftermarket devices which negate their emission control technologies.

 

“The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association strongly condemns the advertising, sale and use of any aftermarket device that can be used by truck operators to turn off emission control systems,” said ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert.

 

 

Fuel Cell Kenworth

 

In the US, Kenworth is developing a prototype heavy duty hydrogen fuel cell tractor designed to provide true zero-emissions operation. By using the fuel cell, provided by Ballard Power Systems, to recharge the batteries, the only emission coming out of the tailpipe will be water. The T680 day cab prime mover uses lithium-ion batteries to power a dual-rotor electric motor, driving the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission. Kenworth’s hydrogen truck is expected to be ready for initial track and on-road testing in the fourth quarter of this year.

 

A second demonstration fuel cell truck is also coming on stream from US Hybrid, in a joint venture with Jiangsu Dewei Advanced Materials. A zero-emission heavy duty fuel cell port haulage truck featuring the JV’s PEM fuel cell engine will be operated by Total Transportation at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Does It Feel Like a Kenworth?

Does It Feel Like a Kenworth?

Walking across the yard before road testing the T610, it was a hot summer morning at Brown and Hurley’s Yatala dealership, the question is does it feel like a Kenworth? Is it still a matter of climbing up into the cab, smelling the familiar interior and turning the key to hear the familiar Cummins roar, to get that feeling?

Read more

Kenworth Balancing Act

Kenworth Balancing Act

Moving with the times while keeping its traditional enthusiasts has created a Kenworth balancing act, where it retains a pragmatic quality. The brochure for the new trucks from Kenworth, the T610 and T610 SAR are headlined, ‘Our Best Truck Yet’ in its brochures. Of course, this can be dismissed as just a load of hype from the marketing department, but it is not like the Paccar organisation to go over the top on these occasions.

Kenworth Balancing Act

Kenworth does have a lot to crow about, it is the dominant player in the Australian heavy duty market, and has been for some time. It is also coming under pressure from a couple of directions, the European cabover trucks are making inroads into heavy duty prime mover market and the older designs for conventional trucks are getting into dimensional strife in some applications.

Often in Diesel News we talk about the debate between cabover and conventional and European vs US, but there are a large number of issues making truck buying choices trickier each year.

However, the first question anyone considering these new trucks asks may not be about the exact dimensions, ratings and design. They are more likely to be more about whether these new trucks really do look and feel like a Kenworth, and carry on the long tradition so proudly developed by the Bayswater-based truck maker.

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Yes, they understand the compromises which have to be made by a boutique, in global terms, truck manufacturer. The days of individual trucks hand crafted for each individual have passed, now it’s all about streamlined tailored production of a truck capable of doing the job in the harsh Australian trucking environment.

It is here where Kenworth has to do a tricky balancing act. The truck has to meet a number of conflicting expectations. There has always been a kind of ruggedness to a big KW, but the driver always notices the quality of the finish. The door closes precisely every time for ten years, cables don’t rub when running on farm tracks and those annoying little rattles in the cab are rare. This is the perception the company has been building up throughout its history.

This brings us back to the question. Does it look and feel like a ‘proper’ Kenworth? The answer is, of course, yes. The compromises made in the design to bring the conventional Kenworth up to 21st century standard do not compromise those little cues which tell the driver they are in a KW.

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The Trucking Twitterverse Unveiled

Growing Your Fleet

Once you start a transport business, and if it goes well, the big dilemma soon appears about growing your fleet. Operating from western Sydney, Barry Garousse and his partner Lisa run Garousse Refrigerated, a successful small fleet hauling an eclectic mix of freight.

Growing Your Fleet

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Barry hadn’t deliberately planned to become a small fleet operator but as time progressed opportunities came up which enabled him to grow the business. For instance, once he had two semis working for Primo he decided to buy another trailer as a spare in case of a breakdown.

“I went to an auction with a plan to buy a trailer and walked away with two,” he grins. “Then I thought ‘what the hell am I going to do with the extra one’.”

He needn’t have worried though, not long after a call came from HNL, a refrigerated transport company that had taken over the IGA supermarket cartage contract at Silverwater. The upshot was Barry was contracted to supply two semis to do local and NSW country deliveries for IGA. This gave him the opportunity to realise what he describes as a highlight of his life, buying a brand new Kenworth T402.

“It was a real buzz to sit in the dealership with the salesman at the computer and actually design the truck that I wanted,” Barry enthuses. “You had the multiple questions: What air cleaners do you want?; What windscreen?; What interior?; How many gauges?; Do you want dual exhausts?; What chassis colour?; Do you want the flare kit?; What type of bull bar? 

“It’s such a good feeling when you actually get to choose and decide exactly how your truck comes off the production line. Going down to the factory at Bayswater to see how the Kenworths are put together was an amazing experience too. I took my brother-in-law and cousin so the three of us toured the factory and my cousin came with me in the new T402 when I drove it back to Sydney.”

The other truck he bought for the job was a new Isuzu Giga and while the work for IGA was consistent and formed an integral part of Garousse Refrigerated’s repertoire for some time, a massive jump in fuel prices post GFC rendered the job unviable.

“When I started there the price of fuel was $1.17 a litre and in a short period it went up to $1.80 which basically took away our profit margin for the work,” Barry explains. “So we had to make the difficult decision to sell the two trucks and downsize. HNL ended up buying the trucks and I still see the T402 running around today and think to myself ‘that’s my truck’.”

True to form, the downsizing didn’t last long as Barry soon spotted an opportunity to diversify into something completely different, bulk cement haulage.

“We ended up buying the Mack Super-Liner and started towing for Independent Cement in 2011. It was only nine months old with 90,000 km on the clock when we bought it – still like new. The trailer is a Kockums.”

Barry says the driver of the Mack, Bradley Kochel, who has been with him for five years, is one of the best drivers he’s employed. The truck is loaded out of Port Kembla and serves a variety of clients within NSW. It covers between 2500 and 3000 km weekly.

“Maximum payload with this work is critical so we have the truck on HML with the IAP which allows us to gross 46 tonnes on selected routes,” Barry adds.

In the meantime, Garousse Refrigerated continues to grow, working for new customers and picking up additional work opportunities, Barry says. “I love what I do and would not have it any other way.”

A Matter of Professional Pride

A Matter of Professional Pride

Most truck drivers like to think they have a high skill level, it’s a matter of professional pride and the result of years of experience out on the highway. In the normal course of events, these precise skills go completely unrecognised and, often, unrewarded. The Scania Driver Competition is an opportunity for those who reckon their skills are at a high level to pit them against the best.

A Matter of Professional Pride

This driver event has become a biennial institution around the world for Scania. Starting in Europe and then making it to Australia in 2007, when it was called the Young Australian Truck Driver of the Year. It has evolved to be an event, open to all, where truck drivers show us what they can do.

Twelve hopeful souls, from a variety of backgrounds and industry segments, took the wheel on the test courses and did their best to excel. The winner was Western Australia’s Glenn ‘Yogi’ Kendall who emerged victorious and was awarded the title, Scania Truck Driver Champion. Glenn is an extrovert owner-driver, trading as Kendall Trucking & Co, who has also made a couple of appearances on the Outback Truckers TV show.

“It’s amazing, unbelievable,” said Glenn, after the event. “I felt I got one of the first tests wrong, so I had to stop and take stock and then focus on every element of the manoeuvring. I had to give everything 110 per cent.

A Matter of Professional Pride

“The switch to a state-of-the art (cab-over) Scania was one of the biggest things to get to grips with during the tests. This event is good to meet other like-minded passionate people who want to push themselves forward in this industry. You have got to be in to win it.”

Glenn is based out of Katanning in WA and hauls a float pulled by a 1995 Kenworth T900, handling most tasks, but specialising in hauling machinery. He has entered the competition every time it has run, but this is the first time he has made it to the final.

“I’ll cart anything,” says Glenn. “If I can get it on the back of my truck, I will cart it. From a $600,000 combine harvester to a vintage bike frame.

“The general public’s perception of trucking is they see lumps of metal going down the road. They don’t see that the ‘someone’ behind that lump of metal is a real life person that deals with real life situations and has a life outside of trucks.

“We need more education and a massive revamp in the transport industry to bring a better level of understanding (of what we do) and then be able to attract better level of driver to the industry.”

Runner-up spot was taken by Cameron Henry, for the second time, he was also placed second last time the completion took place. He drives for Bordertown Haulage, hauling fertiliser, and hails from Terang in Victoria. His daily drive is an MAN B-double, so adapting to the Scania truck should not have been an issue for him. Cameron is equally passionate about improving the image of the truck driver in Australia after eight years in trucks and working in transport since he was 18. 

Third place went to another West Australian, Scott Savory, and another Kenworth driver. Based in Perth, Scott owns four trucks, running overnight B-doubles and some oversize work. He is a third generation truck driver with a strong love of trucks and a commitment to professionalism and training.

Other drivers involved come from a diverse set of backgrounds. Queensland was well represented among the cohort who came through an online exam, followed by a phone interview for those shortlisted, to make it to the big day out on the track. 

The four Queenslanders in the final, Glenn Gimm, Glenn McKenna, Scott Walton and Richard Watson represent a cross section of the industry. They work hauling liquid feed in tankers, delivering chilled and frozen goods around the state, handling fuel distribution and delivering packaged lubricants. 

The waste industry had a representative, Blake Stokes from Geelong, who had limited experience in a semi, but handled the tasks well, including the B-double reversing exercise. Karlie Shire was the only female entrant, another West Australian, who has been driving for four years and currently drives a Scania B-double on overnight lineal.

The two representatives from New South Wales, Michael Cook and Joey Saliba, both work in general freight for Redstar and Temex. Michael has an ambition to drive for iconic UK haulier, Eddie Stobart. South Australias sole representative, Matthew Keating, works for Peats Soils and Garden Supplies and is another Scania driver. 

Controlled By The Climate

Controlled By The Climate

Life is controlled by the climate in North West Victoria, where the Murray River winds its way westwards forming the border between NSW’s Riverina and the Mallee, it’s all about what the local farms can produce. The Murray provides the irrigation for many crops in this semi arid area, but not for others. Good rains at the right time of year mean a bumper crop and plenty of work for everyone. At other times the shortfall or over supply, in terms in inches of rainfall, has local business looking to survive intact through to the next good season.

Controlled By The Climate

This area is placed well to serve the Melbourne market with fresh produce. The four and a bit hour drive means trucking operations can run into the city and back on a daily basis. One of these businesses is Barry Knee Haulage. Produce is the name of the game for Barry and his father, Peter, who manage the business and are also involved as drivers when required.

The business itself has been in existence since 1999, when father and son broke away from a business involving a number of members of their wider family. Starting off with some second hand equipment, the first major purchase was a new International Transtar.

The loads the operation handles are virtually all produce out of the local area and then general freight back in. Initially the trailers were simple tautliners, but over time the fleet moved over to refrigerated trailers, both vans and those with insulated curtains. One of which is proving a boon in time spent loading and unloading, and was the principle reason for Diesel’s visit.

Controlled By The Climate

At first, just two trucks were running into the Melbourne Markets every night and hauling general cargo back out. As the fleet has grown, the business has expanded to cover the markets in Sydney Brisbane and, sometimes, Adelaide..

There are now seven trucks on the road in the fleet, supplemented by a varying number of sub-contractors.. Two are based locally, one rigid and one semi, pulling in the produce to the Knees’ shed in Piangil, about 40 km North-West of Swan Hill. This is where all of the action takes place every afternoon. Firstly, the trucks destined for Brisbane and Sydney are loaded and then Adelaide. Later, the second wave of produce arrives at the yard after 5 pm, the trucks heading for Melbourne then get loaded with their selection of produce, and head to the markets, hopefully hitting the road before 7 pm.

The longer runs to Brisbane, and occasionally Sydney, are quite often handled by subbies, the work will vary in size on a daily basis and other operators from the region work co-operatively with the Knee operation to make up full trailer loads. A small group of three companies have worked out a way of working together to keep all of their operations viable by helping each other out when needed.

The 2016/2017 stone fruit season has been a struggle for many of the produce transporters. The weather was too wet early on in the growing season and this has led to a smaller low quality harvest. On the afternoon of Diesel’s visit, only two trucks would be heading into Melbourne that night.

“We look after about 100 customers altogether,” said Peter. “For some of them we cart a few bales of wool. Most of our customers are family operated farms. A lot of them are people we have been dealing with for 25 or 30 years.

“We are controlled by the climate, that’s for sure. Some years we get it right and some years we don’t. What effects one crop may not effect another.

“We’ve just got to hope next year’s going to be better. The stone fruit is normally our busiest time, followed by the grapes. Our busy period starts in the second half of October and will carry through until May.”

Controlled By The Climate

The trailer mix in the fleet is determined by the back loads which are available. Fridge vans tend to handle interstate, while insulated curtain siders head off to Melbourne. The flexibility of the curtain siders help with the kind of backloads available out of Melbourne, mainly fertiliser and chemicals for the agricultural industry.

Drivers do five legs a week to Melbourne and back, rotating days so the work is covered through weekends. Brisbane is approximately 18 hours away, in terms of driving time, making it a three day trip. Sydney takes two days but the task can be sped up by shuttling trailers and doing changeovers at points like Wagga Wagga and Narrandera.

Two growers in the area have oranges to be transported all year round. They can be relied upon to keep the wheels turning when other produce is scarce. Knees also have back load customers out of Melbourne who need transport for 12 months a year.

The only time a tautliner will handle the Sydney run is if there is a specific backload which can’t be loaded through the rear doors of the fridge. Brisbane backloads are always more problematic, as they are for many in the industry.

Another perennial problem for trucking affects the Knee operation, drivers constantly moving on to a new company, where the grass is expected to be greener. The company has six drivers employed at the moment, but are always looking for reliable drivers.

“We’ve got a young bloke, now,” said Peter. “He has just started driving the rigid. He’s keen and wants to get a semi license. He’s quite happy just doing local work. At the other end of the scale, we have a driver who, when he was younger, put his age up, now he’s regretting it. He is 69, but he’s fit and he does a good job.”

One of the changes in the wind in this area is a contemplated move, by some producers, across from the flexible tautliner and fridge method moving consolidated loads, to running skels and putting produce in containers. As a result, some operators are looking at PBS applications on specific routes to run A-double combinations with the ability to handle two forty foot containers or up to four twenty footers. The number of almonds being grown in the region is increasing quite fast. As this segment of the market continues to grow, it will suit containerisation.

For the moment Barry and Peter are waiting to see how the containerised task develops before putting their own toes in the water of A-double skulls and PBS.

 

New Kenworth T610 Cabin Tour

This week Diesel News is going on a new Kenworth T610 cabin tour, checking out how much has changed from the brand’s traditional design. The single windscreen is one of those indicators of US influence and all of the original launch trucks are fitted with them. However, the split windscreen has not gone away and Kenworth promise it will appear sometime soon. The question has to be, is the single windscreen really a step too far? Read more

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