In the three years since the current business came together, through the ups and downs of supply and demand in containers, PJG Transport has gone to nine trucks and 30 trailers. The fleet consists of four Scanias, two Hinos, a Mercedes Benz, a UD and a smaller rigid Fuso. The PJG operation now employs six office staff.
One of the founders of the PJG Transport business, Peter Gatt, admits he was truck crazy as a youngster and fell madly in love with trucks after riding along with his brother-in-law when he was still at school. In fact, Peter later bought his brother-in-law’s business to get into the trucking game.
The current operation is based in the Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre, an intermodal site, owned by Sydney Ports but operated by Linx. When he had been an owner/driver, Peter had been running his business out of a small section of a mates’ yard in Arncliffe.
The business is dependent upon the vagaries of the Australian economy and has to live with the ups and downs of supply and demand. 2019 was a quiet year for PJG Transport and it was important to keep a sharp eye on costs, in order to weather out the dip in activity.
“We are pretty lucky, because we have all new gear,” says Peter. “Most of our gear is good. I am a big believer in spending once up front and then you don’t need to spend so much down the track. All of our new Scanias have five years free servicing with them. You pay one sum and you have certainty.
“I get a weekly report on all of the drivers, with percentage scores on how they are driving their trucks. High scores keep the servicing costs down. Any new truck will be accompanied by training to highlight the best way to drive the vehicle to get the best results and lowest costs, from Scania.”
Fuel consumption is a big issue, of course. The 500hp trucks are achieving 2.8 to 3 km/l around the city, for the B-double the number sits around the 1.9 km/l mark as a 650 hp truck in stop/go traffic, Peter reckons that’s not bad. A run with the 650 with a single trailer managed 2.7 km/l in fuel consumption, as a B-double that falls to 2.1 km/l.
All of the trucks have a tablet on board, which tracks the truck as well as giving the driver instructions on where and when containers need to be collected and delivered. This is also where the customer signs the proof of delivery, enabling virtually instant invoicing for the client.
“The ideal way to expand for us would be to get into warehousing,” says Peter. “In the future we could look at somewhere where we could provide storage. There is money in palletising freight.”
From the point of view of a relatively small container operation like PJG, the constant imperative is to keep costs in control during the ups and downs of supply and demand in containers, at the same time as improving productivity to keep ahead in a very competitive market. High service levels will keep customers coming back, but it is always going to be about being able to keep prices in an acceptable range for the client.