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CONTENTS Issue 212 – May 2018 2


44 Fleet Focus

The latest in the world of transport, including….Toyota and VW truck divisions partner up; Labour Government’s fuel taxes “a complete nonsense,” says Road Transport Forum boss; Volvo follows Fuso in putting electric trucks to work

20 Giti Truck Tyres Big Test Western Star sales are tipped to get a boost this year, thanks to the addition of the Cummins X15 as an alternative to the Detroit DD15 that’s been the only engine option on the 4800 and 4900 models for a few years. We take a stormy trip to Napier with Robert Kingi to see how the new combination shapes up in his Opa Transport 4864 FSES logger

37 Transport Forum Latest news from the Road Transport Forum NZ, including…..Trump-triggered trade war would be bad for NZ exports – and therefore the transport industry; Manawatu Gorge alternative route just the first of a number of roading investments that the Government may have to face up to



Trevor Woolston 027 492 5600 Trevor Woolston 027 492 5600 Hayden Woolston 027 448 8768


Wayne Munro 021 955 099

Editorial office Phone

PO Box 48 074 AUCKLAND 09 826 0494

Associate Editor

Brian Cowan


81 Big turnout, big catches

You can find surprisingly big and wellequipped trucking operations in the most unexpected places – like the highlyspecialised fleet that’s an integral part of Lyttelton ship repair, marine engineering and boatbuilding company Stark Bros

This year’s Truckers & Loggers Fishing Tournament is one of the biggest ever… with some big fish caught too

80 PPG Transport Imaging 81 Awards

FEATURE 62 Decades of DAF It’s 90 years since DAF had its beginnings in the Netherlands, 19 years since the make was officially launched here…and 28 years since, controversially, the first bulk shipment of DAFs arrived here

Recognising NZ’s best-looking truck fleets….including a giant pullout poster of this month’s finalist

87 TRT Recently Registered New truck and trailer registrations for March

73 From Te Awamutu…to Alice Springs Martin Wilson lives a double life – runs a truck and trailer and some earthmoving machines around his home area in the Waikato most of the time….but also spends three months of the year driving roadtrains in the Australian Outback

Gerald Shacklock Mike Stock Terry Marshall Martin Wilson Robin Yates Derek Tankersley

ART DEPARTMENT Design & Production Luca Bempensante Zarko Mihic EQUIPMENT GUIDE AUCKLAND, NORTHLAND, BOP, WAIKATO, CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND Advertising Don Leith 027 233 0090 AUCKLAND, LOWER NORTH ISLAND, SOUTH ISLAND Advertising Hayden Woolston 027 448 8768

ADMINISTRATION Sue Woolston MANAGER SUBSCRIPTIONS Linley Wilkinson NZ subscription $80 incl. GST for one year price (11 issues) Overseas rates on application ADDRESS Phone +64 9 571 3544 Fax +64 9 571 3549 Freephone 0508 TRUCKER (878 2537) Postal Address PO Box 112 062, Penrose, AUCKLAND Street Address 172B Marua Road, Ellerslie, AUCKLAND Web PRINTING & DISTRIBUTION Printer Nicholson Print Solutions Distribution Gordon & Gotch Publication: New Zealand Truck & Driver is published monthly, except January, by Allied Publications Ltd PO Box 112 062, Penrose, Auckland

Contributions: Editorial contributions are welcomed for consideration, but no responsibility is accepted for lost or damaged materials (photographs, graphics, printed material etc). To mail, ensure return (if required), material must be accompanied by a stamped, addressed envelope. It’s suggested that the editor is contacted by fax or email before submitting material. Copyright: Articles in New Zealand Truck & Driver are copyright and may not be reproduced in any form – in whole or part – without permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily the opinions of, or endorsed by, the publisher.

NZ Truck & Driver Magazine

Net circulation – ended 30/09/2017


Truck & Driver | 1


Foolish fuel tax

Road pricing or congestion charging is a much more effective way of funding infrastructure improvements, says RTF boss Ken Shirley

THE INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION ENABLING the imposition of regional fuel taxes is a retrograde step that will hinder rather than help the Government’s infrastructure plans, Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley believes. Regional fuel taxes, he says, are “complete nonsense these days…. inefficient, full of loopholes and exclusions. “And therefore the impact on motorists is often inequitable and the revenue gathered underwhelming,” says Shirley. “As a means of raising revenue for infrastructure there’s far more merit in a realignment of Auckland Council’s assets and the establishment of a road pricing scheme. “Road pricing or congestion charging has been shown in other parts of the world to be effective and it’s also future-proofed against the modern changes in transport technology. “By its very definition fuel tax relies on the sale of transport fuels. However, as cars become more efficient and the takeup of EVs grows, fuel taxes become less and less effective. This is backward-looking policy.” Shirley insists that the Government and Auckland Council “would be far better off investing time in developing a fair road pricing regime for some of the city’s worst congested routes, rather than mucking around with a blunt and unsophisticated fuel tax.” The National Road Carriers Association is also critical of the proposed regional fuel tax – which it believes will be “nothing more than a stopgap measure to start funding Auckland’s much needed road infrastructure upgrade.” “It’s only going to raise a small part of the funding needed,” NRC CEO David Aitken says – quoting estimates that the proposed tax will only provide $1.5billion of the $10billion needed in the next 10 years. NRC members, he says, “would be more prepared to pay road tolls or congestion charging to fund progress,” says Aitken. “The members’ biggest concern is congestion and the delays it causes 2 | Truck & Driver

to doing business. An RFT is not going to change that, but tolls and/or congestion charging will make road users re-assess whether they need to use particular roads or motorways.” Aitken points out that the Auckland Transport Alignment Project report has recommended tolls and congestion charging as the best way to fund future infrastructure and start relieving congestion. And that project included input from Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the Ministry of Transport, Treasury, State Services Commission and the NZ Transport Agency. And yet, says Aitken, proposals made in the ATAP report “have gone nowhere: Local and central government have been sitting on their hands. That includes projects that have been ready to go.” Aitken also makes the point that the path to the proposed RFT is “hardly a quick process. We need to be getting on with things now.” While an RFT increases costs for everybody, tolls and/or congestion charging is “user pays – and delivers the users benefits. Implementation requires more investment but the economic benefits outweigh the costs.” The ATAP project report suggested tolls had three times greater economic benefit than a regional fuel tax, Aitken points out. Congestion charging is being applied in cities worldwide – limiting traffic volumes and raising revenue. While tolls are already used elsewhere in NZ – on State Highway 1 between Orewa and Puhoi and in the Bay of Plenty, for instance. “We know Auckland is growing faster than projected, so the need to get on with things is even greater.” Aitken says that the NRC supports increased spending on public transport and the drive to increase patronage to get single-use vehicles off roads – “but we also know the population is growing faster than increased use of public transport, so there’s going to be more vehicles on the roads.” “A fuel tax will provide some funding straight away,” says Aitken: “But road pricing, once it’s set up, has much greater benefits.” T&D


Volkswagen, Hino join forces THE AMBITIONS OF VOLKSWAGEN TRUCK & BUS TO oust Daimler as the world leader in commercial vehicles have taken a critical step closer to realisation – with Hino and VW announcing a strategic partnership. The remarkable deal, which looks to strengthen the longterm future of both parties, indirectly brings together two global automotive industry arch-rivals – their parent companies, Toyota Motor Corporation and Volkswagen AG. The deal will complete Volkswagen Truck & Bus’ global portfolio of truck makes that it either owns or are part of an alliance of some sort – adding the Japanese make to its Scania and MAN brands in Europe, VW in South America, International/Navistar in the United States and Sinotruk in China. The deal, the two partners say, will allow them to better face “the unprecedented transformation in logistics and transportation,” as it increasingly focuses on electric vehicles and other low-emissions alternatives and on autonomous driving. The two truckmakers say their proposed co-operation (they have signed an agreement towards forming the partnership) will include diesel, electric and hybrid technology, connectivity and autonomous driving. Their collaboration, they add, can deliver economies of scale in research and development (R&D) as well as procurement. As Volkswagen Truck & Bus CEO Andreas Renschler says: “We can join forces and spend R&D money only once, instead of twice or three times,. “We see potential to save on our budgets and also to combine our resources to be faster at bringing products to market than we would be alone.” The collaboration, he adds, “will allow us to realise powerful synergies in terms of expanding the global footprint of Hino and Volkswagen Truck & Bus – as well as complementing product portfolios, but also concerning common ideas on how to shape the future of transportation together.” Hino Motors president and CEO Yoshio Shimo says that the automotive industry “is facing a massive, once-in-a-century transformation. The rapid expansion of e-commerce and other businesses has created a shortage of drivers. At the same time, we are also seeing an aging of drivers. “Additionally, in rural areas, as the population continues to age, train and bus lines are being phased out, and an increasing number of people are struggling with basic transportation needs. “We cannot meet our customers’ demands by just providing the same value

as we did in the past. Hino Motor and Volkswagen Truck & Bus share this sense of urgency. We’re committed to taking a lead in providing solutions for customer needs.” Renschler says that Hino is “an excellent fit in terms of regional footprints and products” – the Japanese make having an “especially strong” presence in Asia. It’s also a good fit in that Hino and Volkswagen share “common ideas on how to shape the future of transportation together. “The co-operation with Hino Motors will also contribute to our strategy to become global champion in the transportation industry, by providing the highest value to our customers.” And he adds: “Realisation of this collaboration will be pioneering. It will be a co-operation between two strong partners in the global transportation industry – two partners who share a passion for transport solutions that look to the future.” T&D Above: The Hino partnership completes the Volkswagen Truck & Bus global portfolio – with MAN and Scania in Europe, VW in South America, Hino in Japan, Sinotruk in China and International in North America Below: Signing an agreement to form a strategic partnership are (from left): Taketo Nakane, director and senior managing officer of Hino Motors, Yoshio Shimo, president and CEO of Hino Motors, Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus and Matthias Gründler, CFO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus

Truck & Driver | 3



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This picture: Sales of the FL Electric will begin next year in Europe. Volvo says it’s the first of a planned range of etrucks Below: The truck’s 185kW electric motor



Volvo switches on VOLVO TRUCKS HAS JOINED RIVAL DAIMLER IN putting a fully-electric metro truck into service with customers. The first Volvo FL Electric trucks are going to work in the Swedish truckmaker’s home city, Gothenburg, as a leadup to the battery electric vehicle going into series production next year. Daimler’s specialist eFuso brand has been delivering a fleet of fullyelectric eCanters to customers in Japan, the United States and Europe – aiming for large-scale production next year. The FL Electric, with a 16-tonne GVW rating, is targeted at urban distribution, refuse collection and other metro applications. It has a 185kW electric motor with a maximum 130kW continuous output and 425Nm peak torque. They’re similar figures to those of the eFuso eCanter – with 185kW and 380Nm of maximum torque. In the FL Electric, lithium-ion batteries with a maximum capacity of 300 kWh provide a range of up to 300 kilometres – replenished in two hours with DC fast-charging or 10 hours overnight on AC charging. Sales of the electric Volvo will start in Europe next year and the truckmaker says that the FL is the first in a planned range of fully electric Volvo trucks. President Claes Nilsson says: “With this model we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports.” And Jonas Odermalm, head of product strategy, FL and FE at Volvo Trucks, says that to help make the transition from diesel to electric trucks “secure and smooth” for customers, it will offer “holistic solutions based on each customer’s individual needs, regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters. “Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimisation to servicing and financing.” Volvo Trucks points out that it has the benefit of the electric vehicle knowledge of sister company Volvo Buses, which has sold more than 4000 electric vehicles since 2010. Thus the technology used to power the FL Electric and store its power “has been thoroughly tried and tested from the outset and is supported by Volvo Trucks’ far-reaching network for sales, service and parts supply.” Odermalm says that cities, energy supplier and vehicle manufacturers need to co-operate “in order for large-scale electrification to become a

reality. “With attractive incentives, agreed standards and a longterm strategy for urban planning and expansion of the charging infrastructure, the process can go much faster.” Odermalm says that Volvo believes it is essential to take a holistic view of electrification of the transport sector – ensuring, for instance, that raw materials for the batteries “are extracted in a responsible way…” And supporting various projects to reuse the batteries from heavy electric vehicles for energy storage. Volvo Trucks Australia vice president Mitch Peden says of the FL Electric launch: “We look forward to offering this cutting-edge technology to operators in Australia and New Zealand in the future. “In certain applications, electric vehicles offer significant advantages for operators and society through dramatically reduced emissions and noise levels, but also strongly support Volvo’s ambition of reducing the environmental impact of transport. “As always,” he adds, “in line with our core value of quality,” the company “will not bring anything to market without the extensive validation and testing required for the unique and challenging conditions of Australia and NZ.” T&D

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Main picture: A sight that looks set to become much less common Inset: Toyota NZ CEO Alistair Davis

Toyota to cut transport costs…and prices THE COST OF TRUCKING NEW CARS TO DEALERSHIPS is cited as a key factor in Toyota New Zealand changing the way it sells cars, SUVs and light commercials. Toyota says it’s “changing the whole business model” – so that vehicles will be stockpiled at three regional hubs instead of being delivered in bulk to dealers’ yards nationwide. The focus switches to online buying, with customers invited to go to a local Toyota “store” for a test-drive, then configure the exact specs of the vehicle they wish to buy online. It will then be transported out to the local store. Toyota NZ says that its Drive Happy Project, launched last month, is its commitment to “transforming the retail experience for its customers to meet the needs of the 21st century.” Toyota is easily the single biggest manufacturer on the NZ light vehicle scene, last year claiming a reported 32,828 of the 159,871 national sales – better than 20.5% of the market. Toyota NZ CEO Alistair Davis told Newshub’s The AM Show that, by reducing the costs of transporting cars to dealers by road, Toyota could pass on to buyers savings of several thousand dollars on a new Corolla….and around $10,000 on the retail price of a new Hilux. “The big savings,” said Davis, “come from consolidating all our stock into just three locations.” The new business model for selling vehicles means that customers “can save yourself time as well as money.” The project pioneers a new way of doing business with private, business, fleet and lease customers and is part of the changing face of mobility worldwide, the company says. 6 | Truck & Driver

“Our way of business needs to evolve to align with our customers’ expectations,” says Davis. “Traditionally, vehicles have been sold through dealerships, where they’re also serviced. But the internet’s impact is transforming the retail landscape and the motor industry is no exception,” he adds. Davis points out that although the vehicle-selling process hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years, the majority of customers are now using online tools to research options prior to a purchase. And he says that in the near future – “like many other retail products and services” vehicles will also increasingly be reserved or purchased online. He says that Toyota is still committed to a strong dealer network – with a critical role to play in delivering hospitality and customer service. Customer research, Toyota says, shows that “the most common concern was price negotiation and never being sure if you got the best deal.” It also determined that finding the right vehicle for the buyer’s needs was more important than the best price. Now, it says, it will offer “the same transparent pricing” in all of its stores nationwide. And it will offer a wider selection of vehicles from the trio of hubs to remove any pressure to buy from a limited selection of vehicles available at any one dealership. “Our research has told us people want product specialists and not just commission-focused sales people,” says Davis: “We’re putting considerable focus on training our people to offer hospitality and a great customer experience.” Sales people have been retrained as vehicle consultants, product experts, or “the store concierge” to help customers select the best vehicle for their needs. T&D



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The purposebuilt dealership is designed to cater for the Waikato region’s growth

Keith Andrews opens new Waikato branch NEW ZEALAND’S BIGGEST FUSO DEALER, KEITH Andrews Trucks (KAT), has opened a new branch in Hamilton, purposebuilt to serve a growing Waikato customer base. It’s the fourth Fuso-focused dealership in KAT’s upper North Island operation – managing director Keith Andrews saying that “the need for a dedicated Fuso sales and service dealer in the Waikato region has increased rapidly with the expansion of its largest city. “It’s no secret that Hamilton has seen significant growth over the past four to five years, along with an equally-large increase in transport operations. “As a result, our Fuso customer base across the region has grown to the point that specialist support is required to ensure that customers’ experiences meet the high expectations of Fuso NZ.” The custombuilt Te Rapa dealership caters for heavy commercial sales, Facilities include a stateof-the-art showroom, as well as a five-bay workshop

8 | Truck & Driver

parts supply and service, with five service bays manned by Fuso-trained technicians, supported by proprietary diagnostic tools and Fuso NZ technical experts. “Customers should have an expectation that when they bring their Fuso to us, they’ll receive the best possible support for their vehicle – whatever its age,” says Andrews. “As specialists, we can ensure that all necessary repairs are made with as little downtime as possible.” The new dealership, which is open five and a half days a week, has 17 staff, headed by branch manager Shaun Croswell, who’s moved from Keith Andrews Trucks, Manukau to establish the business “and ensure the same high standard of service is provided to every customer. “This is a really exciting role,” says Croswell: “Keith Andrews is a proven and respected brand in commercial vehicles and I look forward to building on that throughout Waikato. “One of my first actions has been to meet with our existing customers and find out how we can best deliver to their needs and expectations. I received some really valuable feedback that will help guide my priorities over the next few months. “Our doors have been open for a few weeks now and, while we specialise in Fuso, we’ve been servicing a range of makes and models. There seems to be a real interest in a new commercial service outlet in Hamilton and, as word spreads, we’re getting busier and busier.” The Hamilton branch carries an inventory of 1500 Fuso parts itself – and has access to over 9000 more, just two hours away, at Fuso NZ’s warehouse near Auckland Airport. “We’re really looking forward to delivering a better level of service to the region,” says Croswell: “It has had good service for the past decade, but it’s time for us to take it to the next level.” T&D

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Undercover traffic trucks BRITISH POLICE AND HIGHWAY AUTHORITIES ARE using undercover trucks to catch truckies driving dangerously. Highways England is deploying three Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units after a successful two-year trial, using just one tractor unit, resulted in 5400 truck drivers being booked for various unsafe driving offences. The tractor units, each fitted with wide-angle cameras, will work in combination with police cars – mingling-in with other trucks to get close enough to offenders to capture evidence on camera of unsafe driving behaviour. The following police then pull the offenders over. The first unit travelled around 160,000 kilometres on motorways and major trunk roads, spotting an average of one driving offence every 27kms. The drivers had allegedly committed over 6500 offences – almost half of them involving the illegal use of mobile phones while driving…. despite the latest UK statistics showing that mobile phone use is a factor in an average of two roads deaths every month. One driver was found to have sent 10 replies to 10 texts within an hour, another was seen trying to put toothpaste on a toothbrush as he drove…and one truckie was caught steering with his knees while he ate his lunch….and used a mobile phone. Another was caught making notes on an A4 pad while travelling along

a major motorway. Over 1200 drivers stopped weren’t wearing seatbelts, 331 were speeding and 310 were allegedly not in proper control of their vehicles. While 537 drivers were given verbal warnings, over 1000 were required to attend a driver education course and there were 194 prosecutions for serious offences. The three new undercover trucks have had their speed limiters deactivated, so they travel up to Britain’s 112km/h national speed limit. They have flashing lights installed in case of an emergency. Highways England head of road safety Richard Leonard says: “We’ve found that the vast majority of drivers are sensible behind the wheel, but a few have got into bad habits – or are simply ignoring the law and putting themselves and others at risk. “That’s why we’ve funded these unmarked trucks to continue to target dangerous driving on England’s motorways and major A roads, improving safety for everyone.” Leonard says that Highways has been “impressed” with the impact the initial undercover truck has had on improving safety. Last year, the UK Government doubled the penalty for drivers caught using their phones at the wheel – with the fine now the equivalent of $NZ386. T&D

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An etruck test vehicle runs on the electrified road. The rails can be embedded in existing roads

Electric road charges trucks on the move AN EXPERIMENTAL ROAD HAS BEEN BUILT IN Sweden that recharges electric vehicles on the move, via an electrified rail embedded in the road surface. In what the developer says is a world first, arms fitted underneath electric trucks, buses and light vehicles automatically connect with the rail when they drive above it. When they move away from the rail – turning off the road or during overtaking manoeuvres, for instance – the arms automatically retract. The rail is connected to the electricity grid and divided into sections that are only powered when vehicles move over them. The system’s able to calculate the electricity being used by each vehicle drawing power from the rail – so costs can be charged to the users. Developer eRoadArlanda says that a beauty of the system is that the rails can be embedded in existing roads. For the trial, a two-kilometre stretch of public road between the Arlanda Cargo Terminal and the Rosersberg logistics area outside Stockholm has been electrified – to be used by trucks converted to use the system as part of the project. eRoadArlanda is already planning to electrify more roads around Sweden…and globally. “One of the most important issues of our time is the question of how to make fossil-free road transportation a reality,” says Hans Säll, eRoadArlanta chairman. “We now have a solution that will make this possible, which is amazing.” The developers say that only major routes – around 3% of Sweden’s total road network – would need to be modified to make a considerable

12 | Truck & Driver

cut in carbon emissions. Shorter journeys between the electrified major routes would be undertaken using vehicles’ stored battery power. Swedish PM Stefan Löfven announced three years ago that the country intends becoming “one of the first fossil fuel-free welfare states in the world.” The target is to make the country’s transport infrastructure completely fossil fuel-free by 2030. Currently road transport accounts for a third of Sweden’s carbon emissions. T&D

Regal reunion PAST AND PRESENT STAFF OF WAIKATO’S REGAL Haulage are planning a reunion in August to mark the 30th anniversary of the company’s startup. Ex-staffer Mark Davys says that “a few of us think that it’s about time we all got together for some bevvies and talk some bullshit.” The company was created by the amalgamation of Tauwhare Contractors and Sherson Construction and the acquisition of Cronin Transport in Hamilton. To gauge interest in the August 10-12 get-together in Hamilton, Davys is asking for Regal people to get in touch – either by emailing or by joining a reunion Facebook page: T&D


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The one-millionth Peterbilt has been given away

For Pete’s sake – a free truck! A PETERBILT DEVOTEE WHO HAS SIX OF THE CLASSIC North American trucks and his own personal Pete museum, has been judged the make’s No. 1 SuperFan. Californian trucker Rick McClerkin’s reward? He’s been given the Peterbilt Model 567 Heritage tractor unit that was the one-millionth truck built by the PACCAR brand. The 61-year-old McClerkin was judged the winner of the Peterbilt SuperFan contest to mark the make’s production milestone – beating 1500 other entrants to the title….and the truck. He reckons he took his first ride in a Peterbilt at the age of five – and has been smitten with the make ever since. The owner-operator has two Petes in his trucking business, four other collector trucks….plus seven more built by Fageol Motors, the company Peterbilt acquired in 1938. His museum dedicated to the brand includes over 50,000 drawings, diagrams and brochures of the trucks – which he

shares with other enthusiasts and restorers. McClerkin reckons: “I’ve been empowered by that red oval all my life.” He even dreamt-up and hosted a 75th birthday party and truck show for the make in 2014 – attended by 350 Peterbilts and 5000 visitors. Needless to say the first truck he drove, at the age of 17, was a Peterbilt, which he drove offroad, hauling gravel for logging roads. The Model 567 Heritage “SuperFan” tractor has an all-PACCAR drivetrain including an MX-13 engine, an AMT and a 40,000 lb rear axle. It has custom chrome finishes and came with free oil changes up to 1.6 million kilometres. “I’m going to keep it shining,” McClerkin promises. Peterbilt GM Kyle Quinn says that the truckmaker was “blown away by the response and each of the amazing stories that each of you shared with us. For many of you, Peterbilt is truly a way of life.” McClerkin says he’s now thinking of starting a Peterbilt club. T&D

Nikola refunds deposits ELECTRIC HEAV Y-DUTY TRUCK DEVELOPER NIKOLA Motor has announced that it’s refunding 9000 deposits so far paid for its highway tractor units. Nikola CEO and founder Trevor Milton says that the move is in response to “a lot of people” asking if Nikola was using the deposit money to fund its operations. The company announced its move on its Facebook page, with the message: “Great news! All reservations will be refunded 100% and you won’t lose your place in line. We don’t use your money to operate our business. We want everyone to know we have never used a dollar of deposit money to operate the company on – like other companies do.” The last bit is clearly a shot at Tesla, which is taking $US20,000 reservations for its electric tractor unit. Nikola says that orders from here on require no deposits and those already paid – an estimated $US13.5million worth – will be refunded within two months, says Nikola: “How awesome is that!!!!!! Over 8 billion in pre-orders, so who needs deposits.” The Nikola One and Two tractor units will reportedly use electric motors powered by 320 kWh battery packs…..which in turn will be replenished via a hydrogen fuel cell system, which Bosch is designing. 14 | Truck & Driver

When the etruck was launched two years ago Nikola said it had 7000 orders (which until now required a $US1500 deposit), for $US2.3billion worth of trucks. The announcement of the refunds now claims that it has $US8bn worth of trucks ordered. Nikola says it’s building a $US1bn R&D centre in Arizona and will be in production with its etrucks in 2021. T&D The sleeper cab Nikola One


Transport policy “deeply concerning”

The proposed policy will divert road user taxes into rail and shipping THE DRAFT GOVERNMENT POLICY Statement for land transport highlights “a deeply concerning politicisation” of the National Land Transport Fund, says Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley. “The National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) was set up to be administered by a New Zealand Transport Agency board independent of politicians and pork-barrel politics – and for 20 years it operated relatively free of such political interference,” says Shirley. “Unfortunately, the new draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) starkly illustrates that

those days are well and truly over. “The GPS has a significant bearing on the administration and expenditure of the NLTF by determining the priorities for the programmes and projects undertaken under the fund,” Shirley adds. “The draft document, while heralding the importance of modal neutrality, destroys that objective by the cross-subsidisation of road user taxes to fund highly questionable rail and coastal shipping activities that make no contribution to the fund. “The increased focus on safety is strongly supported but all evidence indicates that upgrades

to the road infrastructure deliver the best safety results. “Unfortunately, many of the upgrades in the pipeline will be cancelled or delayed by this new GPS framework, which provides an 11% cut in in state highway improvements.” Nevertheless, says Shirley, “despite our concerns with the draft GPS, RTF looks forward to engaging with the Government on it and making sure that the road users who pay into the NLTF get the best possible outcome for their money – and funds are not diverted to pet political projects of dubious worth.” T&D

Scania repeats fuel economy win A SCANIA R 500 HAS TAKEN A repeat win in the prestigious Green Truck Award in Germany – by returning better than four kilometres per litre fuel economy figures in a carefully-controlled road test. The Scania returned an average fuel consumption of 24.92 litre/100km at an average speed of 79.91km/h – up against other contenders all loaded to 40-tonnes all-up and driving over the same 350km test route, at the same time. Its closest rival used 0.4 litre/100km more

than the new truck generation R 500, running an updated 13-litre engine. Translated into a typical annual mileage for a long-distance truck of 150,000 kilometres, the fuel economy savings of the Scania R 500 would add up to 600 litres annually, Scania says. The Green Truck Award is run by German trade magazines, Trucker and Transport Review. Scania says it has also set a number of new fuel records in many European countries in comparison tests carried out by independent trade journalists, but its product director long haulage, Wolfgang Buschan says: “The Green Truck Award

is a unique comparison test since it has this total focus on what matters most to our customers from a cost and sustainability perspective. “The fact that we won the award again this year is extremely flattering.” Scania makes the point that low fuel consumption not only saves cost, it also corresponds with energy efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions and increased sustainability. It adds that European hauliers appreciate the lowest fuel consumption, highest average speeds and lowered CO2 effects that help to keep costs and environmental impacts low. T&D

Truck & Driver | 15



Recent roadworks on the Desert Road. CoreLogic says its Road Data delivers detailed roading intelligence – updated daily


Data deal to help roads PROPERTY DATA PROVIDER AND ANALYST CoreLogic says that significant efficiency gains for New Zealand’s roading infrastructure will result from its “milestone” deal with the NZ Transport Agency. Under the multi-year deal CoreLogic Road Data will be licensed to the NZTA, enabling all participants in NZ’s road transport sector “to work from a common and authoritative centreline representation.” CoreLogic says its Road Data is “NZ’s most complete and current ‘real world’ dataset, relied upon by commercial and government clients for its detailed roading intelligence – such as traffic flows, structures, intersections, turn restrictions and routes. “Updated daily (alongside CoreLogic national property and address information), it also includes new roads captured directly from subdivision plans.” CoreLogic won the contract via an NZTA open tender intended to secure “an authoritative national road network dataset” to better support its statutory functions into the future. Says CoreLogic: “With expansive responsibilities, covering the performance and safety of our highways,

ensuring an efficient network, planning and forecasting for its growth plus allocation of funding, they needed a robust dataset to support their decisionmaking on the maintenance and investment in NZ’s roading infrastructure.” Beneficiaries of the agreement extend beyond the NZTA to the Ministry of Transport, road controlling authorities (local councils), contractors working for those parties, and the public, the company says. NZTA’s Rebecca Schulz says that CoreLogic’s key dataset “will support the agency and our RCA partners to make better, more informed investment decisions.” CoreLogic says it works closely with leading Australasian road asset management software company, RAMM Software – creator of the RAMM (road assessment and maintenance management) software used by all of NZ’s RCAs. The project has resulted in a new dataset that combines the road location with road condition. RAMM Software GM Graeme Norman says that the CoreLogic/ NZTA partnership will enable RCAs “to easily integrate their local road network with NZ’s state highway network at no additional cost. T&D

TES turns 21

This TES bottom-dumper has just had a fresh paint job after 12 years of service with Southern Transport. It’s an exact replica of the first bottom-dumper built by TES for the company, 21 years ago. The original is also “still going strong – testament to good design and innovation,” says Keast. 16 | Truck & Driver

SOUTHLAND TR AILERMAKER AND truck deck builder Transport Engineering Southland has celebrated its 21st birthday. Stephen Keast started the Invercargill business in 1997, doing small maintenance jobs on heavy trucks and trailers. It progressed to building its own trailers and truck bodies, establishing a strong reputation for its loggers, low-loaders, liftout side and bathtub tippers and livestock decks, among other products. But it has become a specialist in building belly/ bottom dumpers – even to the extent of exporting its three-axle semi-trailer versions to Australia over the last 11 years. The company built 29 trailers last year, ranking it 12th in sales nationwide. T&D




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NEWS TuSimple has been trialling its autonomous system in trucks in China and the US

Chinese self-driving trucks working soon A CHINESE SELF-DRIVING TRUCK DEVELOPER SAYS it’s aiming to launch unmanned trucks in port operations later this year. The TuSimple startup, which last year was boosted by $US20million backing from US graphic chip giant NVIDIA, says it’s talking with about 10 Chinese port operators towards that end. Co-founder and chief operating officer Hao Jianan, says: “Autonomous logistics solutions will be more cost efficient for ports. It represents the trend to follow in the future.” Trucks equipped with TuSimple’s autonomous driving system have been involved in trials, loading and unloading containers at a Chinese port…which also uses autonomously-operated cranes. Assistant president Xue Jiancong says the company is “preparing for a full commercialisation by 2020.” He says it’s continuing its research in co-operation with major truckmakers in China and the US towards the production of autonomous trucks. Its level four autonomous truck technology – allowing trucks to operate without drivers in most situations – has so far been retro-fitted to standard trucks, including those built by the Shaanxi Automobile Group in China. TuSimple is one of a number of Chinese startups racing to commercialise autonomous truck operations – competing with the likes of Uber, Google’s Waymo and Tesla. While many US states are now allowing varying levels of autonomous vehicle testing on public roads, so far Beijing and Shanghai are the only two Chinese cities to allow it. But Chinese transport minister Li Xiaopeng several months ago said more test areas are coming – along with industry guidelines for

New Mack man

MACK TRUCKS HAS APPOINTED GLEN KEANE A NEW account manager for the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Gisborne area. Keane has a trucking background – his father drove for Provincial Transport and he completed a diesel apprenticeship with Herb’s Vehicle Repairs, gaining experience on a wide range of equipment. Once qualified, Keane spent 12 years specialising on Volvo Group trucks – working for five years on them in Wellington, then putting in a similar stint with the Mack/Volvo dealer in Mackay, Queensland. For the last two years he’s worked at Truck Stops, Mount Maunganui. T&D 18 | Truck & Driver

operating self-driving vehicles. He pointed out that self-piloting ships and autonomous trains are being developed. NVIDIA announced its investment in TuSimple last year, after the Chinese company’s technology successfully completed a fully-autonomous drive over 320 kilometres from San Diego to Arizona – using NVIDIA graphics processing units and cameras as its primary sensors. TuSimple’s chief technology officer Xiaodi Hou said then that “by combining NVIDIA technology with our expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence, we’re building a world-class platform that will disrupt the freight industry.” T&D

Truckies win trips

THREE ISUZU BU YERS ARE OFF ON A SLAP-UP TRIP TO the truckmaker’s Japanese factory this month, courtesy of a recent sales promotion. R. Dhankar’s purchase of a light-duty NLR250S AMT from CAL Isuzu in Auckland secured him the two business class tickets to Tokyo, while Road Transport Logistics also earned a trip for two through its purchase of a medium-duty FVR1000M through Cooke Howlison. Opotiki-based Seymours Transport Services Group bought a new heavy-duty CYH530D from CAL Tauranga to secure its place on the visit to Isuzu’s Fujisawa truck plant, in Kanagawa. In the photo above, Bev and Charlie Seymour (third and fourth from left) receive their prize from Holden NZ MD Kristian Aquilina (fourth from right), as (from left) CAL Isuzu’s Kevin Curran, Ralph Blackburn, Graham Waugh, Steve Hoyne and Ashok Parbhu look on. T&D


Some large multi-trailer combinations are currently banned on motorways close to Melbourne

Aussie HPMVs welcome on new motorway HIGH-PRODUCTIVITY TRUCK COMBINATIONS WILL be welcome on one of Australia’s new toll roads – the decision made to accommodate them on a new $AUS16.5billion Melbourne motorway. A-doubles, 30 metres long and weighing up to 85.5 tonnes, have been banned from many Victorian roads because of their size, but the new highway linking Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway will be built to suit them, authorities have decided. The motorways it links will be widened and their bridges strengthened to also accommodate the HPMVs – the North East Link Authority saying giving them access to Melbourne’s northeast will “unlock enormous potential to move more freight efficiently between the southeast and the north, and also interstate.” It will also cut the number of trucks on roads because larger loads would be carried by a single vehicle, rather than several smaller trucks, the report found.

Trucks weighing more than 68.5t have been restricted from driving along many Melbourne motorways and the trucking industry has been calling for more road access for bigger trucks, able to carry two 40-foot shipping containers, to cope with the growing traffic in 40ft containers moving through the Port of Melbourne. A 2015 research paper by National Truck Accident Research Centre chair Dr Kim Hassall, showed that the larger trucks were involved in 64% less serious and major accidents in Australia per 100 million kilometres, in comparison to standard truck combinations. Victorian Transport Association chief Peter Anderson says that the nextgeneration trucks are the “safest trucks on the road” – equipped with electronic stability control and state-of-the-art braking, plus GPS tracking to ensure they only travel on permitted routes. “It’s a win for the industry and the community,” he says. T&D

Brit emissions system cheaters targeted BRITAIN’S ROAD HAULAGE Association has lashed out at “rogue” transport operators who have tampered with emissions control systems on their trucks. A television documentary, entitled “Britain’s Diesel Scandal,” aired last month – showing footage shot in an undercover investigation, in which truck computers are reprogrammed to “cheat” the exhaust emissions systems. The selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems were rendered ineffective by the interference – thus saving the operators around $7700 in filters, according to the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. The British government’s former Chief

Scientific Adviser Professor Sir David King, said “hauliers that have cheated on the system have blood on their hands. People are dying because of NOx levels in our country.” Harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) are said to be linked to more than 23,000 premature deaths a year in Britain. In the wake of the programme the RHA said it “unreservedly condemns any attempts by road haulage firms to break the law or to cheat emissions standards.” RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “There is growing evidence from our members that technical problems have arisen concerning the emission equipment on some HGVs. “This has led to frustration for some haulage

firms – who have resorted to inappropriate solutions, which are, of course, wrong.” The RHA wants to see an “urgent, collaborative investigation” by government agencies “to establish exactly which vehicles are being modified, and why. “As soon as the information becomes available we can begin to effectively address the problem. In addition, this will help and support those operators who are having difficulty with the emission systems of some lorries.” Burnett said that “it’s a regrettable fact that all business sectors will have rogue traders – but these are in the minority and should not be regarded as representative of the vast majority…” T&D Truck & Driver | 19

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20 | Truck & Driver

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Blue sky sets the early morning backdrop for the Cummins-engined Western Star at the start of our test, in Taupo. But, weather-wise, things soon get worse...and then, worse still

Truck & Driver | 21


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The Opa Transport Western Star winds its way towards Napier – handling the hills with ease, but not so the bumpy road surface


ARIETY IS THE SPICE, AS THEY SAY….BUT FOR KIWI WESTERN Star buyers, for a couple of years, there just wasn’t any of it. Well not, at least, when it came to engine choice. In the style of Henry Ford’s “you can have it in any color you want…as long as it’s black” approach with the Model T, the classic North American owner/driver brand offered any engine you wanted – as long as it was a Detroit. Now, that’s changed – with the addition of the Cummins X15 engine, rated up to 620-horsepower, as an alternative to the DD15 for Western Star 4800 and 4900 models. It is, Western Star importer Penske Commercial Vehicles believes, just what the make needs for its trucks to again find favour in the new Zealand logging sector. There has been, says Penske’s national sales manager – trucks, Dean Hoverd, “a lot of interest around a Cummins e5 Western Star logger.” There are, he adds, “lots of operators that, for many and varied reasons, like the option of a Cummins engine. “It may be they have a long history with the product and it’s performed reliably, been well supported and it fits in with the rest of their fleet.” An added attraction may be the fact that the X15 offers a bit more horsepower and torque than you can get currently in Western Star’s Detroit Diesel package, which tops out at 560hp. Hoverd says the response to the Euro 5 Cummins option has been “great” – good enough, he believes, to hike Western Star’s market share significantly. Based on current figures, he predicts a 50% increase in sales this year. Last year, Western Star sales ran to just 25 trucks (in the overall market, for trucks above 4.5-tonnes GVM), with

24 in 2016. Currently seven X15-powered trucks are in operation in NZ, including the Constellation Series 4864FSE5 8x4 logger, owned by Robert Kingi’s Opa Transport in Taupo, that’s the subject of this month’s Giti Truck Tyres Big Test. Penske says it already has confirmed orders for five more. This and the other NZ 8x4s leave the factory in Portland, Oregon as 6x4s and Penske engineers twin-steer conversions here – a process that’s well established and well proven, says Hoverd: “Western Star has a long history in NZ, and local twin-steer modification is nothing new. Prior to getting twin-steers built downline in the factory circa 2013, all 8x4s were either fully or partially completed in NZ. “All design work is a collaboration between Western Star, Penske Commercial Vehicles, local engineering companies and various certifying agencies.” If it seems like it’s taken a long time to get a Euro 5 Cummins into these Western Stars, that’s reckoned to be simply a matter of Daimler Trucks having given priority to first developing trucks powered by its own Detroit engines. The X15 in the Opa Western Star is rated at 448kW (600hp) at 2000rpm, with peak torque of 2780Nm (2050 lb ft) delivered at 1200rpm. The inline six meets the Euro 5 exhaust emissions standard using selective catalytic reduction (SCR), with engine braking provided by a Cummins Intebrake compression brake. The gearbox is an 18-speed Eaton Fuller RTLO-22918B Roadranger manual with a chromed gear lever and a solid linkage. Meritor supplied the twin-steer front axles and the RT46-160GP rear axles with inter-axle and crosslocks. The rear axles ride on Airliner 46,000 lb air suspension. Truck & Driver | 23

ConMet cast-iron brake drums are fitted front and rear, and the truck has a WABCO 4S/4M anti-lock braking system (ABS) with traction control enhancement. The right-hand 25-inch diameter aluminium fuel tank carries 378 litres of diesel, and the left-hand tank has a 302-litre capacity. The Opa Western Star isn’t short on bling. Dual stainless steel 13inch Donaldson cowl-mounted air intake stacks with inline separator and extension rams rise up ahead of the truck’s day cab. Stainless steel exhaust stacks stand out at the rear of the cab. The 18-inch front bumper is chromed steel, and the radiator shell and bonnet bezel with stylised tilt handle are stainless steel. The dual main exterior mirror housings are stainless steel, and the eight-inch convex mirrors have a bright finish. The mirrors are mounted on a sturdy chromed frame. The wheels are Alcoa 22.5-inch Dura-Bright alloys, mounted with Michelin X Multiway 3D XZE 295/80R22.5 16-ply radials on the steerers, and Michelin X Multiway D 11R22.5 16-ply radials on the rear wheels. The cab is steel, on airbag suspension – the outside cab mounts placed as wide as possible to maximise lateral stability. Western Star says that produces a more comfortable ride on rough terrain and reduces bodyroll during cornering. The doors are hung on steel hinges, internally-mounted for protection from the elements and greater durability. They’re also

24 | Truck & Driver

designed to prevent sagging (which can be a problem with pianohinge doors). The exterior door handles are stainless-steel. The cab has black hard trim, and the door trims have cherry woodgrain accents. In classic, traditional American style, the roof is upholstered with quilted vinyl. The airconditioned cab has additional sidewall insulation, and under-cab floor and toe-board insulation. The rear window and the electrically-operated door windows are tinted. Driver and passenger sit on vinyl-trimmed National 2000 Series suspension seats – the driver’s a high-back model and the passenger’s mid-back. The 18-inch diameter twin-spoke black steering wheel is leatherwrapped and controls a hydraulically-boosted recirculating ball steering box. The steering column adjusts forward and back, and up and down. Gauges with bright bezels are mounted in a woodgrain instrument panel. To the left, a switch panel is angled out towards the driver. Storage includes a lockable glovebox on the passenger side, a document pouch mounted on the cab’s back wall between the seats, and document pockets on both doors. There’s also a cubbyhole with a restraining net above the passenger’s seat. Our test begins early on a March morning, heading east from Taupo into the rising sun…but ends in very different conditions. We get a preview of what’s to come when we’re waiting for Robert

Main picture: The 4800 has the look of Western Star’s well-proven loggers of the past....but needs a bit of setup work to achieve their standard of driver-friendliness and onroad handling Left: Logger it may be, but the Opa Western Star still has its share of bling and nice finishing touches

and the Western Star alongside the Z service station on the Thermal Explorer Highway in the pre-dawn. Lightning flashes and crackles on the horizon. There’s no rain yet, but the light show is a portent of the weather fury to be unleashed as we near Napier later in the morning. In the early mooning gloom, the Western Star’s angular silhouette is instantly recognisable as Robert steers it into the truck stop parking lot with a load of logs just picked up from the Taupo Forest. The truck stands out amidst a small fleet of other loggers, including cabover Kenworths. It’s an imposing sight and there’s a distinctive rumble of the Cummins engine as it sits there idling. The Western Star’s size and engine note combine to create a palpable impression of power that will soon be confirmed when, running at 46.5 tonnes, the rig makes short work of the demanding hills of the Taupo-Napier highway. The Opa Transport Western Star hauls a five-axle Mills Tui-built trailer fitted with Hendrickson suspension. The Rotorua-based engineering outfit also set up the truck and fitted the log bolsters. It’s a brand-new rig – on the road just over a week. Owner/driver Robert – who’s used to cabovers – is still adjusting to the challenges of driving a bonneted truck, especially the layout’s comparatively poor view to the left front. In fact, the high bonnet means he can’t see exactly where the leftfront wheel is. Until he becomes more familiar with the layout and gains a sense of exactly where the truck sits on the road, it’s a matter of judging the space available by keeping an eye on the centreline markings. As NZ Truck & Driver road tester Trevor Woolston and I mount the widely-spaced steps up into the cab, we run into a major hurdle. It

isn’t easy! Getting into this 8x4 version of the 4800 first requires a stretch to get a foot on to the bottom step – mounted high above the ground. Then you have to dodge under the door. There’s no obvious grabhandle at the front of the door opening, and the door itself doesn’t seem to open wide, so getting in requires some contortions. Woolston manages to get in using the grabhandle at the rear of the door, a diagonal steel bar beside the seat and the door’s trim and hardware to gain added purchase, but he reckons that the trim’s unlikely to withstand that pressure longterm. Ironically, the Western Star website describes the cab as having “the largest door openings...that make it easier and safer to get in and out of the truck.” It isn’t until I fall back a little while trying to climb into the cab – and my back hits the door – that I discover it WILL open wider than I’d managed to achieve when I opened it from the ground. Lesson one. Lesson two comes later – when Robert shows me a small – and almost hidden – floor-mounted grabhandle at the front of the door opening that allows me to get in and out of the cab much more easily and confidently. He, by the way, reckons getting in and out is easy enough – even while he’s still getting over an injury to his sciatic nerve which lost feeling in his right leg. “To step off on my right leg, I can’t do it…it has to be my left and pull up my right. I’m just getting the strength back – it’s taken three months. It’s one of the worst injuries I’ve ever had in my 63 years. It’s just unbelievable.” Woolston drives the first leg of the trip, and the low early morning sun shows up another shortcoming. The fold-down in-cab sun visors

Truck & Driver | 25

The Constellation’s cab is a nice working environment – in the classic North American style

barely cover any more than the exterior windscreen visor. So sunstrike is a problem. In top gear, the Cummins runs at just under 1500rpm at 90km/h, and at all speeds, the cab is impressively quiet. Conversation doesn’t require raised voices. As the road surface becomes bumpier, the Western Star’s ride quality also becomes rough and lumpy, with jolts transmitted into the cab. In a masterpiece of understatement Woolston says that it’s “not the smoothest ride I’ve had.” Soon he puts it more plainly: “The biggest disappointment is the ride. It’d be nice if the truck didn’t have to be bouncing around all the time.” Woolston has no complaints though about the engine: “It’s doing a beautiful job. I have to hold it back from doing 100km/h.” The Western Star climbs the steepest (lower) part of the Tarawera hill in fifth low gear, the Cummins working at 1500 revs and our road speed down to 30km/h. The engine performance gives Woolston “plenty of time to pick up gears. It pulls quite constant, holds revs really well. It performs 26 | Truck & Driver

from 1000 to 1500rpm and you don’t have to rush the gears, which is easier on the gearbox.” Climbing up to the summit, the truck’s back up to 60km/h, in seventh low: “It’s never struggled at all,” says Woolston approvingly. There is another negative to this test though – the weather! It seriously deteriorates as we head into low cloud that hugs the mountainous terrain. We’re 80-odd kilometres from Napier when the rain really sets in, as we thread our way through the tight and twisty going. The rain lashes the slightly-curved glass of the split windscreen but the wipers are more than up to the challenge, efficiently and effectively clearing the water and ensuring clear forward vision. Woolston hands the truck over to Robert at the McVicar Road junction, just on the Taupo side of the testing Titiokura climb. It’s a hill that seems to go on and on…and on. But the X15 hauls the 46-tonne combination up the steep gradient easily. “The pulling gear for this hill is fifth in the high range of the gearbox – low split…which will take us up the hill no worries,” says Robert.

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“Now we’re in the pulling gear,” he says as he shifts the Roadranger smoothly and efficiently: “We’ll go in this gear right to the top...” The Cummins is running in the 1500-1600rpm range, the road speed around 32 to 33km/h as the truck powers into the climb. “It’s doing it with ease,” says Robert: “The speed’s lifting to 38 to 39km/h as we reach the top and I change up.” Robert rates his new truck’s performance highly. Take the steering – “it’s very good,” is the laconic reply to my inquiry: “It’s got a very good engine brake, it’s great.” He also likes the quietness of the cab. The Western Star replaces an Isuzu Robert had owned since new: “I ran it for just over five years, and when I bought this the Isuzu was about 30,000 kilometres shy of a million kays.” What attracted him to the Cummins-powered Western Star? The horsepower and torque were key factors – and the ease of maintenance. “I wanted this make of truck because parts are common. With the Isuzu I had, I found that though I had five years in it and didn’t touch the motor, it started to become too costly with parts. These things are easy to maintain. That’s why I went for this truck.” Robert reckons the Western Star is in its element in the bush: “Because I’ve stepped up from the Isuzu, driving this truck you feel really relaxed. You don’t have to drive it hard like you did the Isuzu. “The Isuzu was a little bit underpowered…but it’s amazing what a truck like this can do. Now I’ve got the power under the bonnet, it’s so easy, so easy.” Robert came to fulltime truck driving relatively late in life. “Being

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Top left: Robert Kingi is well pleased with the Western Star – a replacement for his previous logger, a 530hp Isuzu

Top & lower right: Closer to Napier, torrential rain sets in...and by the Esk Valley the Western Star’s in the midst of flooding and slips

Lower left: We’re lucky to get through the flooded sections of the Napier-Taupo highway before it’s closed to all traffic. Robert gets to unload and prepare for the trip back to Taupo....but will soon be joining heaps of other truckies, waiting for the road to re-open

a truck driver was never my priority.” He didn’t start driving loggers until after he returned home from more than two decades in Australia: “When I was there I did a bit of inter-state driving, and worked in power stations and mining, driving heavy equipment underground. I’d stayed 23 years in Australia, and it was just time to come home.” Robert returned to NZ in 1997, and landed a job with the government, working for Work and Income – and “then I got involved with these people and one of them had a son who owned a logging truck and was looking for a driver. “They said: ‘Can you drive a logging truck?’ I said, ‘you tell me a Maori that can’t drive anything!’ “So I had a play around in the truck and went driving. I’ve always been a driver, but I never took it up as my first job.” He’s now been driving loggers for 18 years: “I go everywhere….I haul logs to Napier, to the Mount and the Port of Tauranga. We cart to all the local mills – Rotorua, Te Kuiti, Katikati, Kaingaroa.” He likes driving trucks because, he says, it allows him to be an independent spirit: “It gives you your own space, I suppose – when you’re driving. It’s your time at the end of the day. “On this sort of job – carting logs – it’s a very high-intensity job.

There are only so many hours in the day. To make a good day, I can do two trips across to (Napier) easy.” And driving loggers is what he really likes: “It’s a very challenging job…you’re driving in the bush as opposed to linehaul.” It takes you to “places in the bush where you have to have your wits about you…you have to be switched-on…” And he’s more than happy with the way the Western Star performs in the forest: “It’s manoeuvrable in the bush – very much so.” The closer we get to Napier, the worse the weather gets: “This is not a very nice day,” Robert says with some understatement. “Look at that – the rain’s getting heavier and heavier.” The Western Star’s RT breaks into warnings from other drivers that water is flowing over the road in the Esk Valley near the end of the Taupo-Napier highway. We drive past slips where Higgins crews are working to clear the debris. “They must have had SOME downpour here,” observes Robert as lightning flashes and a swollen stream flows just centimetres below the roadway as we cross a bridge. As we enter the Esk Valley, water covers the road, and torrents are pouring down from the hills and the roadside cuttings. The railway line that runs parallel to the road is completely Truck & Driver | 31

Top, from left: Test driver Trevor Woolston struggles to get into the driver’s seat – with a bottom step that’s well above the ground...and no obvious low grabhandle on the right side. Unimpressed, he ends up relying on the steering wheel and door fittings to haul himself up. He later discovers there is a small grabhandle on the right...and the door does open further than this Lower left & centre: The truck has a central tyre inflation system and a fuel tank each side, giving it a 680-litre capacity

Lower right: Woolston and Robert tilt the bonnet to get a look at this Western Star’s point of difference – its Cummins X15 engine

flooded: “It’s pretty bad mate, pretty bad,” says Robert as he threads the Western Star confidently through the water. Close to the church in Esk Valley, fire trucks surround a roadside house that’s been flooded, trying to pump the water away – a task that seems hopeless in the face of the torrential rain. Visibility is very poor as the Western Star rumbles on towards Napier. We’re lucky to be among the last trucks to get through before the highway is closed to all traffic. We arrive in Napier at 9.25am and pull into the scanning shed where tags are put on the logs before they’re delivered to the port. Robert’s unsure of the ultimate destination of the logs on the Western Star and its trailer – maybe India, maybe Japan. He’s got other concerns: Now that he’s here in Napier, he’s faced with being stranded – maybe for hours, maybe overnight. That’s when one advantage the Isuzu had springs to mind: “The Isuzu had a bit of a bed in it where I could lie down. This one doesn’t.” The chat among the Taupo logtruck drivers here suggests they may be stuck in Napier for a long time. The rainstorm that hit Hawke’s Bay in advance of tropical cyclone Hola has dumped 41.6 millimetres of rain in one day – that’s roughly two-thirds of the province’s average rainfall for the entire month of March. And it’s still bucketing down. The RT traffic is intense as truckies needing to get back to Taupo weigh up the options: Over the Gentle 32 | Truck & Driver

Annie to Taihape maybe? “They’ve closed the road at Rangipo,” one truckie reckons. The consensus is that one’s ruled out. A small convoy heads through Napier’s suburbs and on to Glengarry Road, which joins the Napier-Taupo highway some distance on the Taupo side of the Esk Valley. But, as it turns out….not far enough. Frustrated truckies jam the airwaves with messages that the road is closed. Robert decides to park-up the Western Star and head for the fish and chip shop. While he’s there comes a glimmer of hope: The authorities have announced that the waters are receding and that contractors hope to get the Napier-Taupo road open by midafternoon. The logtruck drivers head for the Esk Valley and work their way towards the front of the steadily-building queue of trucks and other vehicles. Their plan is to hightail it as soon as the road’s declared open, get back to Taupo and put on another load of logs. Time spent sitting and waiting means income lost, so as soon as the cordon lifts, the Western Star and the rest of the Taupo fleet hit the now-dry highway, running unimpeded at the head of the pack – leaving several slow-moving motorhomes in the queue behind them. They figure there should still be enough daylight left to load up with logs, head back to Napier and make a buck. It won’t be a half day wasted. T&D

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Trevor Test


S I CLIMB UP INTO THE WESTERN Star’s cab, my first experience with the truck is less than favourable. Many readers will know I’m not as athletic as I used to be, but this cab entry is a real challenge for anybody. The door doesn’t open to anywhere near 90 degrees, the steps bring you up under the door, the spacing between the steps is far from ideal and I can’t find a forward grabhandle other than one on the upper door pillar….and you can’t reach that until you get onto the top step. Owner Robert Kingi later points out that there IS a small forward grabhandle almost hidden from view…so I was making things harder for myself than I needed to. And writer Mike Stock discovers by accident –

34 | Truck & Driver

by slipping back against it – that the door does open wider. That would have helped too. Nevertheless, it is a difficult entry arrangement – a result, quite clearly, of the addition of the second steer axle. I’m sure though that Western Star’s design engineers should be able to do a lot better. Once in the cab the driving position is easy to get comfortable with. There’s plenty of room for the driver and all controls are in easy reach. Though there’s no room around the pedals to push your leg forward, there’s plenty of room behind them to make yourself comfortable. As far as the powertrain is concerned, it’s back to the good old Eaton Roadranger

18-speed manual gearbox, matched to the great Cummins X15, rated at 620hp at 2000rpm and producing 2050 lb ft of torque at 1200rpm. So a drive over the Taupo-Napier highway is an exciting prospect. As we climb up the hill from Taupo the sun rises over the horizon. I pull down the internal sunvisor….but it’s a waste of time:

It’s so small it doesn’t cover any more of the upper screen than the external sunvisor is already covering. So it’s a good 15 minutes of driving into a blinding sunrise. It’s clearly not ideal. As we make our way up through the Taupo Forest and past Lochinver Station it’s a fairly easy run and a good time to check the truck’s features. The main mirrors are the usual large westcoasters, and there’s a round eight-inch convex lower mirror for wider vision. There’s also a downward-facing mirror above the left-side door. There’s a bit of a forward blindspot on both sides, caused by a combination of the windscreen pillars and the risers off the aircleaners. But with the Constellation’s short, sloping bonnet, forward vision is much better than on many other conventionals, and there’s much less of a front-left-corner blindspot. Interior finish in the cab is traditional North American, with maroon leather-look trim and black hard surfaces. The driver’s seat is a high-back National 2000 Series air-suspension unit, with active lumbar support. The passenger gets a midback version with air lumbar support. Both are comfortable and provide excellent support and I particularly like the amount of lower leg and lumbar support. The dashboard layout is excellent, with all gauges right in front of the driver, and switches over to the left. Airconditioner, heat and vent controls are mounted low to the left, below the switch panel. Nicely positioned to their right is the Traction Air central tyre inflation control. One surprise is the very heavy clutch pedal. I haven’t encountered many heavy clutches lately, with many manufacturers now offering easy-pedal options. It’s also about now that I begin to realise that the aircon doesn’t seem to be working. Things are warming up in the cab as we make the steady pull up the Taupo-Napier road. It appears that the aircon controls are turned on, but the air coming through is definitely not cool. It could be an item to check on its first service. On the climb towards the Rangitaiki Tavern, the road becomes a bit bumpier and it’s really noticeable in the Western Star’s cab. It leaves Mike Stock thankful that the passenger also has an air-suspension seat. I rate the ride as

well below ideal and quite rough. We also experience for the first time a worrying high-frequency vibration – which goes through the truck for just a few seconds and then disappears. It happens twice while I’m driving and once when owner Robert’s at the wheel. A road closure later in the test means we don’t get the chance to investigate further what’s happening, but I suspect it could be coming from the twin-steer setup. The Western Star makes the climb up and over the top with ease as the big Cummins effortlessly handles the toughest of the TaupoNapier hills. Between 1000 and 1500rpm the X15 never looks like struggling. Coming up the Tarawera Hill, with its tight corner halfway up, we run in fifth low – but probably could have done it in fifth high, as I’m able to upshift immediately after the corner. Coming over the summit, we enter a new weather pattern, driving through low cloud and steady rain. Our run down to McVicar Road just before the Mohaka River is an easy one, with the truck in sixth low. The engine brake holds us back well and the truck keeps a good steady speed, fully under control and with very little footbrake application. At the McVicar Rd junction I give Robert back his truck just ahead of the famous Titiokura climb. I’m a bit disappointed by this particular Western Star. Previously I’ve driven some great trucks from this make, but I feel there’s a bit of work needed to get this one up to the standard it needs to be at – to be a serious contender in the conventional 8x4 market. Because of the premature end to our test, I’m not sure if the extra axle fitted here in NZ is a major contributor to some of the issues we experience. It certainly is when it comes to the cab access, but I’m concerned by the standard of the ride – I feel it falls behind many competitors. It may also be a direct result of the extra steer axle. I am sure that Western Star Trucks, a division of the Daimler Trucks-owned Freightliner business, has the knowhow and resources to take a good look at this offering and make changes that will enhance it. Even small improvements like a bigger sunvisor, better-spaced steps and a bigger forward grabhandle on the door frame just above the floor level would be a good start. T&D


WESTERN STAR CONSTELLATION SERIES 4864FS2E5 8x4 Engine: Cummins X15 Capacity: 15.0 litres Maximum power: 448kW (600hp) @ 2000rpm Peak torque: 2780Nm (2050 lb ft) @ 1200rpm Fuel Capacity: 680 litres Transmission: 18-speed Eaton Fuller Roadranger RTLO-22918B Ratios: Low L – 14.40

Low H – 12.29

1st low – 8.56

1st high – 7.30

2nd low – 6.05

2nd high – 5.16

3rd low – 4.38

3rd high – 3.74

4th low – 3.20

4th high – 2.73

5th low – 2.29

5th high – 1.95

6th low – 1.62

6th high – 1.38

7th low – 1.17

7th high – 1.00

8th low – 0.86

8th high – 0.73

Front axles: Meritor FG-941, 14,600 lb capacity Rear axles: Meritor RT-46-160GP R-series Auxiliary brake: Cummins Intebrake compression brake Front suspension: 16,000 lb capacity taper-leaf Rear suspension: Airliner, 46,000 lb capacity GVW: 27,400kg GCM: 90,500kg

Truck & Driver | 35

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A global trade war sparked by US protectionism could have a significant impact on NZ’s exports

Global trade war would hurt NZ I

by Ken Shirley Chief Executive Road Transport Forum NZ


well ort

T’S KIND OF IRONIC THAT IN THE SAME week as the Labour-New Zealand First Government does a complete backflip and signs the TPP – well, in fact, a slightly amended version known as the CPTPP – the Trump Administration in the United States goes off in the other direction and announces the imposition of tariffs on aluminium and steel imports. Now, on their own, aluminium and steel are not proportionally a major part of NZ’s total exports, although for those companies affected of course this IS a big deal. However, there is a much bigger game that’s playing-out here that we need to keep an eye on. At a time when the global economy is becoming more connected by trade and investment flows, which have been proven to raise global living standards, it’s disappointing that protectionism has begun to raise its ugly head. NZ has been a major beneficiary of the strong growth in global trade over the last few decades, but persistent trade deficits and a growing political movement towards isolationism in the US and protectionism in other parts of the world have seen anti-trade tensions grow. Needless to say, it is in the domestic political interests of the Trump Administration to keep fuelling this fire and that seems to be the US president’s primary interest at this stage. The decision by Trump to impose tariffs on imported steel and

aluminium into the US has predictably triggered an international backlash and a promise of retaliations that some are predicting could develop into a full-blown trade war. The United Kingdom, the European Union, China, Japan and others are all considering reprisals and the goods they can whack tariffs on to punish the US. Unfortunately, while the protagonists of such a trade war would be large economies, it would actually be the smaller producer nations, like NZ, that would be caught in the crossfire and would have to deal with some of the worst consequences. Larger economies can rely on a huge domestic consumer base that can insulate them from loss of access to international markets. Hundreds of millions of consumers in the US or Europe and over one billion in China is “a lot” of people to sell stuff too. In fact, there is a legitimate economic philosophy for this so-called autarky, which is based on the benefits of being self-sufficient. Unfortunately for a small, outwardly facing country such as NZ with a tiny domestic consumer base, autarky is not a viable option. A trade war would pose considerable problems for us – while being largely out of our control. With access to key markets coming at a considerable cost it would mean that our exporters, particularly in the primary sector, would be competing on an uneven playing field, with local in-country producers selling an inferior product.

continues on page 39

Truck & Driver | 37








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Manawatu Gorge decision raises further questions







The Saddle Road is the current alternative to the Manawatu Gorge. Photo NZTA


H I LE T H E ANNO UNCEMEN T OF T H E so-called “Option 3” as the preferred alternative route to the now-abandoned highway through the Manawatu Gorge is broadly welcomed by the road freight industry, the decision does raise some interesting issues regarding necessary investments in New Zealand’s roading infrastructure. This is the opinion of Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley, who adds: “We lobbied for Option 3 during NZ Transport Agency’s consultation process as, from the information we were provided with, it represented by far the most suitable route – taking into account the geology, seismic fault lines, gradients and future resilience. “Option 3 was, however, not the only worthy proposal on the table. RTF was also pleased that NZTA is to continue investigations into the efficacy of the proposed Regional Freight Ring Road and a new bridge across the Manawatu River, which was proposed as part of Option 4.”

continued from page 37

This alternative, says Shirley, “had considerable merit, as well as a large amount of support from local businesses and politicians. “The Accelerate 25 group that pushed for it did a good job of developing the concept to a point where proper consideration could be given to the transport future of the entire region. “Palmerston North is now an important freight hub of national significance, making the ring road and new bridge proposals critical pieces of infrastructure when one looks 10 or 20 years into the future.” The Option 3 route north of the Gorge is by far the best solution to the immediate issue of the Gorge road’s replacement, says Shirley. “And, while 2024 is a long way off for those freight companies stuck with having to use the Saddle Road, the simple reality is that this is how long such a major project takes in NZ these days. “Under the Resource Management Act (RMA) consenting remains a

continues on page 40

Global trade war would hurt NZ

ASB Bank economists warned in a recent economic report just how serious the situation could become for NZ. The report said: “A trade war involving three of the major economic blocs – North America, East Asia and Europe – could significantly dampen global economic activity. In combination, these economies account for roughly three-quarters of global GDP and NZ goods and services trade, and more than 40% of the global population. “Two of the three largest trading partner blocs with the US – the European Union and China – are also the top three trading partners for NZ. Our second-largest export market – Australia – is also heavily reliant on trade with the Big 3.” For many exporters this scenario would be unsustainable and would

lead to a scaling back of production and the inevitable flow-on effect that would have to impact service industries such as transport and logistics. It’s also unlikely that we’d be able to argue for the kind of tariff exemptions that Australia has successfully managed to negotiate with the US on steel and aluminium. So, if Trump’s protectionism is restricted to aluminium and steel imports we don’t have too much to worry about. However, if he goes further – or the rest of the world decides to retaliate and the scope of such reprisals expand to export products critical to our economy – then that is a scary proposition and one that I trust our government and trade representatives take extremely seriously. T&D Truck & Driver | 39


Replacement Route

The preferred route to replace the troublesome road through the Manawatu Gorge. Photo NZTA

continued from page 39 major hurdle and takes a ridiculous amount of time,” says Shirley. “While the business case for Option 3 is expected to be completed within the next few weeks, work isn’t predicted to begin until 2020 – due to the laborious and bureaucratic consent process.” RTF and its associations have been advocating for the Manawatu Gorge project to be treated in the same way as the rehabilitation of State Highway 1 through Kaikoura, where emergency legislation was used to bypass some of the onerous provisions within the RMA. Along with other important recovery projects such as re-dredging Kaikoura Harbour, the emergency provisions allowed local councils and utility companies to dispose of the thousands of tonnes of material from the landslides blocking SH1 without the need for time-consuming resource consent processes. “I cannot see why the Manawatu Gorge project was not given the same legislative priority as Kaikoura was,” says Shirley. “The loss of the Gorge is just as disruptive as the loss of SH1 for the communities affected. It also adds a great deal of cost and time to the lower North Island freight task. “It just makes sense in these cases, where a vital route is damaged or destroyed, that rehabilitation happens as quickly as possible and is not held up by unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy.” Shirley reckons that the Manawatu Gorge decision is only the first of a number of key roading investments that this Government, which has stated its aversion to improving the state highway network, may have to face up to. “It is undeniable that major investments are needed on projects such as the East-West Link, Otaki to Levin, SH1 through Wellington, and SH2 between Katikati and Tauranga. Not only are they critical to NZ’s ongoing economic growth, but there are major safety issues at play as well,” says Shirley. 40 | Truck & Driver

“It’s going to be extremely difficult for the Government to refuse these projects when there is such an obvious need for them.” Infrastructure NZ chief executive Stephen Selwood has highlighted the problem the Government has created for contractors – having put so many infrastructure projects on the backburner: “Cancellation of major projects, delays in new projects coming to market and uncertainty about future transport funding are forcing the contracting sector to release skilled staff, just at the point at which the Government wants to increase the speed and scale of construction,” Selwood says. “It’s natural for infrastructure priorities to change with new leadership, but the scale of change in recent months, combined with high uncertainty over future transport funding, is having a particularly heavy effect on a sector under pressure from rising input costs.” In response, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has sought to reassure contractors regarding the pause on work, however his comments also offer a fairly concise overview of the government’s infrastructure intentions. Says Twyford: “The important thing to remember is that we are not going to be building any less or spending any less on new infrastructure – in fact, we’re going to be spending more and doing more. “It is just going to involve a slightly different mix of projects. We are going to be spending more on regional roads, more on local roads, more on urban public transport and rapid transit systems and more on rail. We are going to be spending less on four-lane, dual-carriage expressways,” he adds. Shirley says that the Government’s purpose “is pretty clear. And while the details, such as the Government Policy Statement, may not yet be available (at the time of writing), it is inevitable that there will be a significant change of policy direction. “However, just like the Manawatu Gorge decision, the Government may find that it has to shed its ideology and just get on with the work that must be done to keep NZ moving.” T&D

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A special school d

HEN WELLINGTON’S RIDGWAY PRIMARY School recently bought a whole lot of new bikes to help teach its kids how to be safe on the road, it contacted the Forum to see if might help delivering them. The RTF itself didn’t have the capacity to do the job…but contacted prominent local operator LG Anderson Transport…. which was more than keen to help out. So, one Friday in March, 54 brand-new specialised bikes from Burkes Cycles in Kilbirnie were delivered to some very happy schoolchildren and were soon in use on the school’s newly-completed bike track. Some may question why a transport company would spare a driver and a truck for half a day to run around after a bunch of primary school kids when it could be out on the road doing the freight task and making money. Well, it was an investment well worth making, according to LG Anderson managing director John Anderson: “I’m still a pretty keen cyclist myself,” he reveals, adding that he now owns an e-bike. “So when the request came through it just sounded like something that we should support. If a school is willing to teach its pupils how to ride a bike and use the road safely then that can only be good for our industry….which will one day be sharing the road with those kids.” According to LG Anderson driver Brett Boyle, who transported the bikes: “I’ve been told by John and Craig that delivering these bikes is my number one priority for the day and I’m sure the kids are 42 | Truck & Driver

going to be stoked with them.” Thanks to the LG Anderson team, the kids’ excitement with their new bikes was fantastic and the company’s support won’t be forgotten in a hurry. T&D


Road Transport Forum New Zealand was set up as a national body in 1997 to responsibly promote and advance the interests of the road transport industry and its member associations. Members of the Road Transport Forum’s member associations – NRC, NZ Trucking and RTANZ – are automatically affiliated to the Forum.

Road Transport Forum NZ PO Box 1778, Wellington 04 472 3877 Ken Shirley, Chief Executive 04 472 3877 021 570 877

l delivery Staff from LG Anderson Transport and the Forum pitched in to help deliver bikes to the kids at Ridgway School in Wellington

National Road Carriers (NRC) Providing services that assist NZ transport businesses PO Box 12-100, Penrose, Auckland 0800 686 777 09 622 2529 (Fax) David Aitken, Chief Executive 09 636 2951 021 771 911 Paula Rogers, Executive Officer 09 636 2957 021 771 951 Grant Turner, Executive Officer 09 636 2953 021 771 956 Damon Cooper, Executive Officer 09 636 2952 021 2710 109 NZ Trucking Association (NZTA) Working for owner operators and the industry PO Box 16905, Hornby, Christchurch 8441 0800 338 338 03 349 0135 (Fax) David Boyce, Chief Executive 03 344 6257 021 754 137 Carol McGeady, Executive Officer 03 349 8070 021 252 7252 Women in Road Transport (WiRT) Promoting the sector as a preferred career option for women and supporting women in the industry

Road Transport Association of NZ (RTANZ) Formed in 2010 from the previous regional structure of the NZRTA National Office, PO Box 7392, Christchurch 8240 0800 367 782 03 366 9853 (Fax) Dennis Robertson, Chief Executive 03 366 9854 021 221 3955 Area Executives Auckland/North Waikato/Thames Valley Keith McGuire 0800 367 782 (Option 2) 027 445 5785 Southern Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Taupo/ Poverty Bay Dave Cox 0800 367 782 (Option 2) 027 443 6022 King Country/Taranaki/Wanganui/ Manawatu/Horowhenua to Levin Tom Cloke 0800 367 782 (Option 4) 027 446 4892 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa/Otaki to Wellington Sandy Walker 0800 367 782 (Option 5) 027 485 6038 Northern West Coast/Nelson/ Marlborough/North Canterbury John Bond 0800 367 782 (Option 6) 027 444 8136 Southern West Coast/Christchurch/MidCanterbury/South Canterbury Simon Carson 0800 367 782 (Option 7) 027 556 6099 Otago/Southland Alan Cooper 0800 367 782 (Option 8) 027 315 5895

Truck & Driver | 43

Stark Bros’ location, adjoining one of only two dry docks in NZ, is ideal for its ship repair business. The new Palfinger crane aids in lifting heavy gear off vessels

44 | Truck & Driver


Ships & boats, trucks & cranes Story Brian Cowan Photos Terry Marshall

Truck & Driver | 45




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Although the cranes have been set up primarily to support the company’s core marine work, they’re also in demand for a wide variety of other jobs, including lifting packs of wall linings to the top of high-rise construction sites


OU CAN FIND SURPRISINGLY BIG AND well-equipped transport operations in the most out-of-the-way places...but few as unexpected as the one that’s an integral part of Lyttelton ship repair, marine engineering and boatbuilding company Stark Bros. The 60-year-old business has a lineup of 10 trucks and a dozen or more trailers, clearly placing it as a genuine part of the trucking industry. More than that, it’s a fleet capable of extraordinary versatility, largely on the back of four crane trucks – the star of the group a 500 horsepower Volvo FM fitted with a Palfinger PK92002. It’s among the highest-capacity truckmounted cranes around….and one of only two of its kind in New Zealand. Naturally, carting working materials – and boats – back and forth is a necessary adjunct to the ship repair business, and once a company decides it doesn’t want to pay outside contractors, having a few trucks is a logical next step. That was the decision arrived-at quite early on in the company’s history by Frank Stark, who at the age of 20 and just newly-qualified as a shipbuilder, decided to set up in business on his own. However, commissions to build boats didn’t come along too regularly for the first few years, so Frank diversified, explains his eldest son and company CEO Andrew: “When Dad started the business his passion lay in boatbuilding – but that

on its own didn’t generate a steady cashflow. “So he and his staff poured concrete for paths and tank surrounds, maintained and inspected the fuel pipeline that ran across the hill from Lyttelton to Christchurch….in fact did anything needed to keep the company viable. “And the business has grown ever since on that basis – we do what we have to do.” Frank was one of five brothers, and over time all of the others joined the enterprise – only one of them still active in the company. Ralph Stark, the company GM, started with the business in 1963 after first training as a shipwright, then going to sea for a time and gaining his chief engineer’s ticket. Frank died in 2008 at 70 years of age, but his three sons work fulltime with the business – Andrew as CEO, Cameron as operations manager and Tim managing the marine activities. Ralph recalls the 1960s as a period of rapid expansion for Stark Bros, and the development of the ship servicing and repair side, which intensified the need for a transport capability: “One of the factors was the establishment of Lyttelton Engineering – formed by a breakaway group of workers from Sinclair Melbourne, at the time the major engineering company at the port. “The new company wanted to continue concentrating on general engineering and asked us if we could help out with the transport work. Truck & Driver | 47

4:14 PM

“We already had a goods licence, bought from a local carrier, and not long after we gained another two.” From the beginning, Ralph was active in transport politics, attending his first RTA meeting in 1964. He’s continued to be involved as a delegate and board member ever since. The Chatham Islands crayfish boom of the 1960s and early 1970s also boosted the boatbuilding side, with timber vessels put to work as quickly as the company could build them. Such was the money to be made from the crayfish at the time that, on one occasion, a brand-new boat was delivered....only to be wrecked and sink on its maiden voyage, prompting an immediate order for a replacement! In the late 1960s Stark Bros also set up its own fishing company, Ocean Fisheries, which continues to this day, operating four Stark-built trawlers – the biggest of them 19 metres long. The collapse of the crayfish boom in the 1970s forced a radical change in emphasis, with the ship repair side of the business becoming more predominant. Over the next decade this intensified as the company expanded from working on mainly timber boats to offering a full range of ship repair engineering. With bigger ships came bigger components…. and bigger trucks to carry them. And, just as importantly, there was a need for bigger cranes to lift them on and off the wharfside, or in the dry dock adjacent to the company’s headquarters. 48 | Truck & Driver

That need led to the introduction in the early 1990s of Stark Bros’ truck-mounted cranes. The company now has four of them in frontline service (with a fifth, a fully-refurbished Palfinger PK66 on an ex-milktanker Volvo 8x4, currently for sale). Because of the specialised but often intermittent work that the crane units are called on to do, they’re not constantly on the go. The same also applies to the balance of the fleet, meaning there are only five drivers for 10 trucks. The two biggest crane units – the PK92 and a four-year-old PK78, both Volvo FM-mounted – have dedicated drivers (a reflection as much as anything else of the highly technical work they’re typically engaged in), while the other two are shared around, depending on jobs. It has always been like this, reckons transport manager Bill Terry: “When I started here in 1990, we had nine trucks, all D-Series Fords – the only working museum in NZ! – and two drivers. “We had a contract to cart all the drums of Caltex motor oils from that company’s depot in Lyttelton to its transport and commercial customers and service stations in the wider Christchurch area. The other driver had this as a dedicated daily run...and I was left to drive the other eight trucks. “There were a few times when I managed to drive them all in one day!” The crane truck of the time was fitted with a Hiab 650, and was set up primarily to handle the non-quarantine rubbish skips scattered around the wharves – a contract the company still handles….as

Above: An overview of Lyttelton port and the dry dock. Stark Bros, to the right, and Lyttleton Engineering, to the left, are sometimes commercial rivals, sometimes co-operate on jobs Opposite page, top pictures: The long horizontal reach of the PK92 is ideal for working alongside the dry dock

Opposite page, bottom pictures: Operations manager Cameron Stark (left) oversaw the setup of the latest crane truck, while general manager Ralph Stark (right) is one of the original brothers who gave the company its name

well as rubbish skips in Lyttelton itself. The latter work was picked up, as Bill explains, because some skip companies don’t like operating in the township....its streets are so steep and narrow. A Palfinger PK20 was also added around this time. The current crane truck lineup comprises the three Volvo FMs and their big cranes, a Fuso Shogun 8x4 with a rear-mounted Hiab 322 crane and a Hino 500 with a PK12. Then there are the standard trucks – a Volvo FM 460 6x4, a 530hp Isuzu EXY 6x4 and a Scania 8x4, which between them handle the heavier haulage, plus two Hino 4x2 flatdecks and a Volvo FL10 4x2. Trailers include three curtainsiders (two stepdeck semis and a B-train), half a dozen flatdeck semitrailer units and three tankers (including two 30,000-litre fuel-rated units). Mostly the tankers are used to remove waste oil and bilge water from ships (since the bilge water is often contaminated by oil and therefore cannot be discharged at sea). In these cases the water is separated out and the oil residue then disposed of. There are also a couple of 25,000 litre stainless steel ISO tanks, that are occasionally used to transfer fuel oil from a ship for storage while the ship’s tanks are cleaned or repaired.

A trombone trailer, extendable to 26m, carries the long pipes used by dredging vessels, or pile casings needed for wharf upgrade work. Finally, there’s a low loader that transports the occasional digger or over-height load, but more often is used for the Stark-built wire roller, which is set up to carry two reels and can pull 2500m of 30mm trawl wire off a ship onto the reels, or new wire from the reels back onto the ship. It has an integral brake system, allowing it to hold tension on the wire as it turns. It’s a very specialised bit of equipment, and in the past six months it has serviced boats in Timaru, Dunedin and Bluff. The unit is used by electric power line companies as well. Whereas their equipment reels line onto the drums while the vehicle carrying them is mobile, the power of the Stark unit is such it can pull a couple of kilometres of wire. A few years back the equipment was used to replace the cable for the Queenstown gondola. In that instance, its two-reel layout proved really useful, with one reel wound in, and the new line fed from the other drum. The unit sits on a 20ft ISO twistlock base. Drive is supplied by an electric/hydraulic powerpack, which then drives through a rubberised wheel, Truck & Driver | 49

“The majority of our transport is still internal....” rolling against the cable drum. As Andrew Stark points out, the transport arm was set up from the beginning – and has evolved ever since – primarily to support the ship repair business: “We have structured the ship repair side around being able to serve our clients’ requirements and being able to do what needs to be done – often with very little notice. And our transport operation runs to the same set of values. “For the most part we don’t have longterm contracts with customers. Essentially we wait for the phone to ring and then go do it. There are times when we have quite a lot of capital investment sitting idle, but that’s the reality of a jobbing, service business as opposed to something where you can predict how much work a particular unit will be doing. “The majority of our transport is still internal. We cart steel and other engineering products into our repair and shipbuilding facilities, we store fishing nets in a facility we have in Bromley that has 1.5 hectares of total land and over 2000 square metres under cover. We also store trawl doors there as well….plus a lot of mussel industry equipment.

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Enter your fleet colour scheme in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards: Just fill out this entry form (or a photocopy of it) and send it into New Zealand Truck & Driver. Be in with a chance to win in the annual PPG Transport Imaging Awards. Contact name name & position in company: ________________________________________________________________ Location:


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Please send a selection of photos of one particular truck in your fleet colours. It’s desirable (but not compulsory) to also send shots of other trucks that show off the colours. Make sure your images are supplied as large format files taken on a fine setting on a digital camera. The files must be at least 3MB. All entries become the property of Allied Publications Ltd. All entries property of AlliedIMAGING Publications Send yourbecome entry tothe PPG TRANSPORT A Ltd. S AWARD Send your entry to: PPG TRANSPORT IMAGING AWARDS 1642 or email to Allied Publications Ltd PO Box 112062 Penrose Auckland Allied Publications Ltd, PO Box 112062, Penrose, Auckland 1642, or email to (Remember do not reduce size of images to transmit by email, send two at a time on separate emails if large files.) (Do not reduce the size of images to send them by email – send large files one or two at a time in separate emails if necessary).













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OME OF THE HISTORY OF THE CHANGES in the colour scheme and branding of NZ Express Transport is lost in the mists of time. That’s not so surprising really, considering that the origins of the company itself date back 150 years – making it one New Zealand’s oldest transport companies (if not THE oldest)…. And considering too that it’s been through remarkable twists and turns in ownership, location and the nature of its work – with the historic name and brand now, for instance, in the care of its fourth or fifth owners. But uncertain that some of its history has become, there remains a respectful feeling from the current owners that they are custodians of something valuable, as John Petrie – one of the group of Canterbury transport operators who bought NZ Express Transport Christchurch 12 years ago – makes clear. “Oh, there was no doubt in our minds when we bought it that the name and brand would stay. I think it’s bloody important that it’s kept.” And so do many others, he adds: When the company posted on Facebook that it would host a function (held last November) to mark the 150 years since New Zealand Express was founded in Dunedin, it attracted 4000 views. Adds Petrie: “We had people ringing up – ‘oh my brothers, uncles, my aunties worked there in such and such a time…and I’ve got some photos’…And all this sort of thing went on.” People also brought in and sent photos from over the decades – all of which, plus speeches and photos from the function and a potted history of the company, are now being compiled into a company keepsake. One thing that remains unclear, says Petrie, is the origin of the current yellow and red colour scheme and the distinctive arrowhead-enhanced NZ Express logo. Old photos from the 1930s through to the ‘50s indicate that the fleet trucks were painted white – with the earliest photos

2 | Truck & Driver

showing the present livery dating back to the 1960s, “when there were quite a lot of NZ Express depots around,” says Petrie. By 1920 the company had opened branches around the country, but in the wake of the Great Depression, in the mid-1930s, all but five were sold off to individual regional owners – although they all retained the NZ Express name (the independent operators adding their home base in brackets). And some of them continued to operate under the NZ Express name until the late 1990s. Whenever it was first introduced, the current NZ Express Transport logo – which features a yellow arrowhead on a red background….doubling as part of the letter E and repeated within the word Express – nearly didn’t make it into the 21st Century. In 1999, then company GM Richard Riley revealed to NZ Truck & Driver that “a few years ago, one of the trucks was being repainted, and I suggested we should leave the motif out, because on its own it seemed a bit obscure. “But without it, the door looked so incomplete, we retained it. It’s the sort of thing not everybody’s eyes pick up, but it’s a simple and elegant piece of design.” While the current owners have been committed to retaining the company branding (the colour scheme and the logo), they have made a few mods – renaming the company NZ Express Transport, the signwriting featuring the word ‘Transport,’ in freehand script style. The livery was also updated – doing away with having the yellow upper body and red lower body colours meeting in a straight line around the cabs. Says John Petrie: “We started buying some trucks and changed that a bit – dropped it to the front and swooped it up on the side of the cab. And added a pinstripe to it as well, between the yellow and the red.” The yellow and red colours were also standardised soon after


All pictures, clockwise from above left: The yellow and red colours were in evidence after the owner of the Auckland NZE branch bought the 107-year-old Brightlings Transport in Christchurch in 1974.... the distinctive arrowhead E company logo... the company is one of NZ’s oldest transport operations... one of the company’s DAF CF85s shows off the current livery, with the red dropping down on the front edges of the cab and swooping up at the rear – with the colours reversed (red Swinglift cranes and yellow skeletal) on the trailer.... the straight lines of the livery back in 1999.... old Bedford owned and restored by NZE staffers Barney McGrath and Colin Richens sits alongside a current-model Fuso, highlighting the livery changes

the new owners took over – coming up with Express Cream and Express Red in consultation with PPG. Says John Petrie: “When we took over NZE there must have been five or six different-coloured yellows in the fleet, because everybody was using a different painter…” At the time, half of the 36-strong fleet comprised owner/driver trucks – and “the owner/drivers all went to wherever they could to get the cheapest deal to paint ‘em. And nobody had actually done too much about trying to standardise it.” The company, which specialises in transporting shipping containers, runs a mix of makes in its fleet of 40-odd trucks, with Freightliner, UD, Fuso, Kenworth, DAF, Mack, Volvo, Scania, International and Isuzu trucks included –

a few conventionals amongst them. But Petrie is “pretty proud” with the way they all look “pretty much the same,” thanks to the work of Wayne Ashby and his team at Reliance Collision Repairs, Truck Painting, Graphix. When dealing with a new model – like the DAF CF85s that feature on the PPG Transporting Imaging Awards poster this month and which are the latest additions to the fleet – the Reliance graphic artists provide concept drawings …and then it’s a matter of working around any peculiarities in the cabs to make them look the same.

Says Petrie: “They do the whole job. We just leave the truck there and it comes out – the right colours…and signwritten.” Petrie told the 150th birthday celebrations that soon after the current owners took over the company he had a meeting with an Auckland client who’d “successfully built a sizeable business and asked me if we were keeping the NZE brand, as he had thought we should change it as it had a ‘less than desirable record’ for supply and services in Auckland. “I replied that we had no intention of changing the brand as it was an icon of the NZ transport history. “About five years ago this person sold their business to a larger operator in their industry and his brand is gone and lost forever. Sad really, as it will never feature in history….unlike NZE.” T&D

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All pictures: Scenes from days gone by. From its very beginnings Stark Bros had a transport licence to service its shipbuilding and ship repair businesses, and the practice of filling spare time with outside jobs was established



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Above: Transport manager Bill Terry oversees a fleet that’s quite remarkable in its versatility Right, both pictures: A Stark Bros facility in Christchurch offers 2000 square metres under cover and more than a hectare in the open to store equipment for the fishing vessels that the company services

“The fishing industry uses a huge range of diverse equipment, needed for different seasons and areas, and we help to store it when it’s not needed. “However, a growing proportion of the transport is for outside clients. We used to do a lot of drum cartage for the oil companies that at the time were virtually next door, but they’ve pretty much gone – so now we cart fish from the Independent Fisheries trawlers through to the coolstores in Christchurch, under contract to Hilton Haulage.” The fish comes off the factory ships frozen, packed in cartons shrink-wrapped onto pallets, and is carted on the company’s curtainsider trailers. Because the trip takes barely 15 minutes, there’s no need for reefer units. Temperatures are monitored both ends, and the trailers are MPIcertified. A regular component of the marine repair work lies in maintaining the so-called “Russian” fishing fleet that has Lyttelton as its base. As Andrew points out, the vessels are actually a mixture of Ukrainian and NZ-owned: “Independent Fisheries owns two and operates another leased one, while several others are leased by other NZ fishing companies. The vessels have all been here for around 25 years, with the Ukrainian-domiciled skippers, crews and processing staff working on a 52 | Truck & Driver

six months on/six months off cycle.” The versatility of the crane units in particular, combined with the can-do attitude honed by years of looking after its marine customers, makes for a fascinating range of outside contracts for the Stark Bros transport fleet, says Bill Terry: “That’s the beauty of my work – every day is different. Every job begins with a phone call. When our drivers turn up in the morning they generally have no idea what they’ll be handling or where they’ll be going. By comparison, the drivers from any one of the pure transport companies servicing the port container operations could probably have the same route and loads for weeks at a time. “Today, for example, I’ve got one truck delivering a spa pool to a city site, another lifting a spa pool and a caravan onto a hillside site in Lyttelton (the owner proposes to live in the caravan while a new house is being built on the site, and likes the idea of having the pool as well)…. “And another truck is shifting a whole lot of showjumping fences from one location to another at the A&P Showgrounds. “Yesterday the two big cranes shifted a modular plastic pipe-making facility from Hororata to Ashburton for temporary storage, while in a couple of days the PK78 will be in Cheviot. “We’ve carted a load of mature trees from

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Above: A fleet lineup during the 1960s. The company began with crane trucks in the late 1980s

Left: Chief executive Andrew Stark is one of three second-generation brothers now with the company

Belfast to the city, and in the wake of the Kaikoura earthquake the big crane units put in a lot of time helping out with slope stabilisation work above State Highway 1.” As Ralph Stark points out, this ready-response DNA derives from years of handling the needs of ship owners: “We don’t know what’s happening tomorrow. Even some people here don’t realise the port is virtually a round-the-clock operation, and if a ship turns up needing work done on it, you’re expected to be able to start straight away. “Some clients’ expectations are on the border of what’s possible – or practicable. But over the years we’ve developed an ability to find ways around challenges that others might consider impossible. People want something done….and we do it.” On that point, Bill Terry recalls a container ship that some years ago needed a funnel radiator replaced. The owners had been told all around the world that the vessel would have to go into dry dock for the task. Stark Bros were able to swap the eight-tonne unit while the ship was berthed at the wharf – still unloading containers. Spa pools are another challenging cargo that the company has developed expertise in handling, he says: “And we’ve also not long ago entered into a relationship with the agent for an Australian-built range of inground pools up to 12m x 4m in size, which is projected to bring in steady work. “We Customs-clear the pools when they arrive at port and deliver them to their sites, which can be as far away as Central Otago. This calls for a piloted journey. It’s not high-volume work, so we use it as a fill-in. If it were significantly more, a pool a week for example, we’d have to rethink the whole approach.” Growth in outside work, he adds, is based

strongly on word of mouth: “As an example, some time ago we did a crane job for a builder on a site in Sumner. The job went well, and he obviously talked to his mates in the same line of work, because not long after we started to get inquiries from other builders.” Andrew Stark says that the outside work, although welcome in that it boosts income, is always subsidiary to the company’s core needs: “We’ve got to be careful not spreading ourselves too far with the transport side. We’ve done quite a lot of crane work in Kaikoura, but if we send a truck up there it means we’re minus a unit we might have a sudden need for down here – for our own activities. “Conventional transport companies who we compete against are generally set up to service longer-term customers in a specific series of tasks, which can sometimes limit their quick-response flexibility. Several construction companies in Christchurch now use us as the go-to when they need a crane truck at very short notice. “Compared with a mobile crane, a crane truck can offer a high level of flexibility, even if it can’t match the sheer lifting power. For instance, it can go either straight out, or straight up. One job we’re doing in the city at the moment involves lifting packs of Gib onto a high-rise construction. Basically, you’ve got a truck parked right alongside the building, with the fly jib allowing the packs to be placed inside the structure.” Even with this wide range of abilities, Starks doesn’t necessarily have the kit for all internal requirements, he adds: “We job work out when it makes economic sense to do so. As an example, we have a transitional facility for devanning containers and storing equipment for shippingTruck & Driver | 55

Above: The combination of an 8x4 tractor unit and a mid-mounted Palfinger is common to three of the company’s crane units. Tracked machines in the background are destined for work in Antarctica Right, both pictures: Shipbuilding and repair remains an integral part of the Stark Bros business. The company has built five deep-sea trawlers for its Ocean Fisheries offshoot

related customers – the likes of Independent Fisheries, Sealord and Maruha. “Then there’s the Antarctic research vessels, like the Korean icebreaker that’s in port at the moment. Last week we devanned five containers of scientific equipment that it needs for its next trip. We don’t have a swinglift to handle the containers – it’s a specialised bit of machinery we need only for that job that the rest of the time would be parked up doing nothing (and using the crane trucks would be a definite overkill). “We have no plans to try getting work in that market, so we contract the likes Hilton Haulage or NZ Express for those jobs.” The principle of having gear designed primarily for the company’s core activities, with outside work a bonus, is seen to great effect in the new Volvo FM/Palfinger 92002 combination. From the beginning it had a primary performance objective – the ability to lift 3.1t at 20 metres reach, those figures relating to the trawl doors on the fishing boats that Stark Brothers repairs and maintains. The doors are large, rectangular structures towed in the water behind a trawler to keep the mouth of a trawl net open. The company’s previously largest crane, the PK78, is unable easily to handle them. One unusual characteristic of the new unit is its installation on a four-axle truck – a decision that pushed its front axle loadings so close to regulatory limits that, set up with all its kit on board, it cannot carry a passenger! The setup, by the way, was all done inhouse – using the wide range of skills of the company’s engineering staff. The only other PK92 in the country – operated by Auckland-based specialist crane company Tom Ryan Cartage – sits on a five-axle Hino 700, but Cameron Stark, who oversaw this project, says that wasn’t an option: “ A five-axle truck doesn’t work for us, because for a lot of our work – on jetties, 56 | Truck & Driver

around the dry dock, on the hills of Lyttelton – manoeuvrability and being able to back into tight spaces is king. “So we started looking around the market. Hino and Fuso were still in the frame, but the trouble with them was that they sit too high. That’s OK for linehaul, but our drivers are in and out of the cab a dozen times a day, so from a health and safety perspective I couldn’t recommend to the company that we buy one.” Several Euro-brand models fitted the bill, the nod eventually going to the Volvo FM. As Cameron explains, weight was critical: “When you mid-mount the crane like we wanted to do, you tend to load up the front axles, the situation being made more tricky because we also wanted to mount a fifth-wheel to be able to tow a trailer. The axles are rated at 6500kg, but our regulations limit them to 5500kg. And the weight of the PK92 is up by around a tonne on the PK78. “That meant the design engineers were thrown a real curve ball – they were playing with barely 50mm on the placement of the crane. To make sure we were within limits, we got the CVIU over three times to weigh up the truck axles – the first time when we were setting it up, the second during the crane installation, and the last time when it was complete, down to the number plates and ready for the road. “They were absolutely fantastic, and ensured that the unit would be fully legal when it went into service. With the fly jib on, the truck’s tare is right on the limit, a fraction under 26t. “We also wanted to avoid needing an H-permit, so that we’d be free to go anywhere and not be restricted to routes or times of operation.” On many jobs the truck will be paired with a three-axle, 12.1m semitrailer, but it’s also fitted with a Ringfeder because a semi puts a little too much weight over the drive axles and the company

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Above: Double-crane lifts are relatively common. The cabin is to be used in Antarctica by a Korean scientific research team Left: Among the extensive range of trailers are several flatdecks, curtainsiders for carting frozen fish from trawlers, and a trombone unit to cart drilling pipes

is planning to set up a 9m pull trailer as well, which will add to the versatility of the unit. The weight saving extends to the new ICE120 lifting chain developed by German company RUD. The chain – coloured a distinctive pink – is around 30% lighter than comparably-strong conventional chain. Cameron emphasises that the job was a real team effort: “The input from Volvo NZ and Palfinger NZ, the CVIU and design engineers Meyer Consulting was critical. Then, when it came to the setup, marine assistant manager Henry Bastion and all of his people in the workshop – welders, fabricators, woodworkers, designers – were fully engaged with the project.” And while the core engineering of the subframe on which the crane sits – and which is attached to the truck chassis – is top drawer, the thing

that first catches the eye is the truck’s overall presentation, with beautifully-constructed chain bins, access steps and accessory lockers, capped off by alloy side skirting. Cameron Stark admits this last item adds nothing to the truck’s overall practicality, commenting: “It’s kind of like pimping your ride.” However, he acknowledges its effect on presentation: “When you look at the other trucks, with their separate guards, their fuel, hydraulics and AdBlue tanks, chain bins and leg blocks all on show, it kind of makes them look a bit messy by comparison. “It was an added cost, sure. But the work was all done inhouse during downtime with other work, so it wasn’t as if we had to job it out.” The new Volvo is a rarity in the Stark Bros fleet in that the whole setup was brand-new, says Truck & Driver | 59

The new Volvo FM/Palfinger PK92 combination was set up specifically to lift heavy trawl doors off fishing vessels, both in the dry dock and alongside wharves. Nearly all the fitout was done inhouse. The unit’s image is enhanced by smart alloy side skirts, while the attention to detail in the engineering is superb. The Palfinger is operated by way of the latest, high-tech remote control

Andrew: “Traditionally we’ve bought secondhand trucks. In fact, when we began with the cranes 20 years ago, it was secondhand cranes….on secondhand trucks. “Then, a few years ago with the PK78, we bought the crane new and put it on a secondhand truck. This was followed two years ago when we transferred our relatively new PK10 onto a new truck, a Hino 500. That has since been upgraded to a new PK12. “So when we were planning for a new unit to

replace the PK66 we thought long and hard about what route to take – and decided that, given the issues we’d had with the truck on the PK78, we’d bite the bullet and go new-new.” That’s quite a brave call, given the near $750,000 capital outlay and comparatively intermittent usage of the equipment….but he’s confident it has been the right one. The ship repair company not only has the gear it needs for its core work, it’s also capable of filling some pretty interesting niches in the wider transport sphere. T&D

60 | Truck & Driver

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Decades of Story Wayne Munro

Above: A brand-new XF105 and a late 1950s vintage A1800 pose outside DAF HQ to mark the 90th anniversary

Opposite page: The truck production line in 1950. It turned out a dozen three-tonne, 5t and 6t trucks daily


T’S 90 YEARS SINCE DAF HAD ITS BEGINNINGS IN THE Netherlands…. And it’s 19 years since PACCAR’s European make was officially launched here in New Zealand… But it was another nine years earlier, in 1990, when the first bulk shipment of DAF trucks arrived in the country, somewhat controversially: They ended up being mothballed, apparently because of a commercial wrangle. Former Auckland transport operator Kerry Bowman, who endedup owning five of the 330 ATi model DAFs, reckons that 27 of them were imported by then Kenworth agent Lees Power…wearing Leyland badges. This was legit, since the Dutch company had bought the British truckmaker in 1990 and had relaunched the Leyland Roadtrain model in Britain using the DAF 330 ATi engine. But this was fully six years before Kenworth’s parent company PACCAR bought DAF – and PACCAR was reportedly less than 62 | Truck & Driver

pleased with Lees dealing with another make. That prompted a lengthy delay, with the entire shipment parked-up in storage. Eventually – about two years after they arrived, according to Bowman – the trucks were sold into a lease and rental operation, with many of the 330 ATis ending up running in the Transport Wairarapa and Hilton Haulage fleets. Bowman bought his first of them off TR Group in 1997 – beginning a relationship with the make that led to him buying 14 DAFs…and sees him now, in semi-retirement, delivering them (along with Kenworths) to new truck buyers around the country, on behalf of current NZ distributor Southpac Trucks. He reckons that the 330-horsepower DAF-engined 330 ATis, which ran 13-speed Roadranger manual gearboxes and DAF highway diffs, were “bloody nice trucks mate. “Yes, they were beautiful to drive. Very comfortable and very easy to drive. Pretty basic – but you could drive them all day long.” The engines too were strong: “Mate they could pull. You could


come up the Kaimais – pull ‘em back to 900rpm and they’d just sit there.” Bowman still had one of them working in his Auckland-based Bowman Bulk Freight business when he sold up, in 2008. Globally, DAF’s roots date back to April 1, 1928 – when Dutch engineer Hub van Doorne started a small construction workshop in the city of Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. It was only a shop tucked away in a corner of the Coolen brewery, where the talented van Doorne launched into work including welding and forging for local companies like lamp and radio manufacturer Philips. The following Great Depression inspired van Doorne, by then joined by brother Wim, to expand the business – getting into trailer manufacturing in 1932. And changing the name, appropriately, to Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek (loosely translated into Van Doorne’s semitrailer factory)….abbreviated to DAF. Thanks to their welded chassis, the trailers that left the small factory, reportedly stood out from the opposition because of their high payload capabilities. The welding that went into the trailers was, DAF reckons, “a unique innovation in those days, that significantly saved weight.” Another first was the DAF container trailer – launched in 1936 and designed to allow the fast loading and unloading of containers from railway carriages. It was a very early example of intermodal transportation and made DAF one of the world’s first suppliers of container trailers. But 13 years later, the Van Doornes launched into a new area of the road transport industry – beginning production of its first truck. Again appropriately, the company name changed too – to Van Doorne’s Automobiel Fabriek....still shortened to DAF.

A year later, series production was under way in DAF’s first dedicated truck factory, with three-tonne, 5t and 6t trucks being built. Initially, the DAF trucks left the factory as rolling chassis, but with the characteristic grilles (with their seven chrome bars) already fitted….along with temporary seats made of wood. The DAF chassis were driven to bodybuilders for the mounting of custombuilt, locally-made cabs. In 1951 DAF began making its own cabs, with rounded corners and a slanted front grille for improved aerodynamics. Driver comfort was enhanced with the introduction of a suspended seat. Initially, DAF installed Hercules and Perkins petrol and diesel engines – but by 1957 it had designed and began manufacturing the first of its own engines, the DD575 diesel. Two years later, it added a turbocharger – “another groundbreaking achievement,” says the company. In the 1960s, driver comfort was enhanced with what DAF says was the first cab designed for international transport – the DAF 2600 model equipped with two bunks and big windows for a spacious feeling….as well as an optimal view on the road. Power brakes and power steering added to the driver comfort. In 1969, DAF was one of the first manufacturers to introduce a cab tilting mechanism – greatly improving maintenance access. DAF reckons that when it introduced turbo intercooling in 1973, that was an industry-first: “The technology was initially developed to meet the demand for higher engine outputs and lower fuel consumption, but also proved to be indispensable in realising cleaner exhaust emissions.” In the 1980s, DAF launched its advanced turbo intercooling (ATi), to provide power and efficiency gains through the refinement of Truck & Driver | 63









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Top: The higher-specced XF models like this 2012 Waitoa Haulage XF105 8x4 have claimed around 10% of DAF’s NZ sales Lower left: The first DAF, on the road in 1949 Lower right: Van Doorne’s entry into road transport was actually in building trailers, in 1932 injection technology and an optimised combustion chamber shape. And in 1988 DAF introduced its Space Cab concept, focused on both operating costs and the driver, setting new standards, the company reckons, with the size of the cab and its comfort – targeted at Europe-wide operations. The DAF 95XF was judged Europe’s Truck of the Year for 1988. And when it introduced the even bigger Super SpaceCab in 1994, that became “the benchmark when it comes to driver comfort and roominess,” DAF reckons. In 1996, PACCAR bought the Dutch company. The Pacific Car and Foundry Company had by then been a key player in the North American heavy-duty truck market for over 50 years, following its 1945 acquisition of the Kenworth Motor Truck Company. And, in 1958, it had expanded its US truck offering by purchasing the Peterbilt Motors Company. Then, in 1980, it had bought the British make, Foden. Here in NZ, the news of PACCAR’s DAF acquisition delighted Southpac Trucks – a company created just two years earlier by current MD Maarten Durent, the late Mike Corliss and The Colonial Motor Company. Recalls Durent: “We were on the next plane out” – Corliss and current CMC CEO Graeme Gibbons heading off to meet with PACCAR in a successful bid to add DAF to its NZ product portfolio.

“It just opened up a whole new avenue for us: We’d been North American drivetrain all the way through – even with the European cab on chassis, which was Foden. “So it was really good to get into a continental European product – to look at how we could grow that European segment and take some market share. Not just off the Europeans, but the Japanese as well.” It also, he explains, made the NZ operation much less vulnerable to volatile currency exchange rates. In 1998 the 95XF became the European Truck of the Year – an honour the XF105 would repeat in 2007. In 1999, the Transport 99 truck show at Hopuhopu, just outside Ngaruawahia, saw the official NZ launch of DAF, with an 85CF and 95XF sharing the Southpac stand with, among others, the new Kenworth T604 and the big-selling Foden Alpha. Deliveries began the following year. The first official shipment of Kiwi DAFs saw just five trucks – 75CFs that went to Taranaki fleet J.D. Hickman and a Mainfreight owner/driver and three FAD 85CFs. One went to G.C. Stokes in Kumeu, one to Stephen Ward and the third…unknown. In 2000 41 DAFs were sold here. Maarten Durent says that launching DAF in NZ “was hard going – as you’d expect.” It was a matter, he says, of convincing would-be customers of their reliability – and reassuring them with Southpac’s Truck & Driver | 65

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S Above left: Auckland operator Kerry Bowman operates the crane on one of the five 330 ATis he ended up owning. He remembers them fondly Above right: DAF’s 1976 take on a driver-friendly long-haul cab – with the F2800 Supercontinental model Right: The XF105 won the Euro Truck of the Year title in 2007

established service and parts network. The tipping point for the make in NZ, he says, “was when we crept up in horsepower – started getting 500 and when we went to the Euro 3 cab. We went from the earlier square headlights, we had all that comfort and a more modern cab. Everything was just streets ahead.” Breakthrough fleet sales in the first few years included TR Group – “they took a lot of rental trucks and longterm lease trucks – and Halls: They took a lot of early Euro 1s and 2s. “And gee, those early ones, they did millions and millions of Ks. I remember they pulled some bearing shells out at two million Ks and they went ‘slap those back in – they’re still going.’ They had a great run out of them.” DAF launched the new LF, CF and XF series in Europe in 2001 and 2002 – the LF taking the European TOTY honours in 2002. It followed up with the introduction of the XF105 model in 2005, and the Euro 4 and 5 programmes in 2006. They were followed by a complete range of new Euro 6 models in 2013. In NZ, DAF sales climbed to 72 in 2001 and 87 the following year – only to then fluctuate between 32 and 67 over the next eight years. In 2005, the truckmaker unveiled the PACCAR MX engine that’s now installed in all of its heavy-duty trucks – and in over 40% of all Kenworths and Peterbilts. The latest generation MX-13 and MX-11 engines are, says DAF, “extremely efficient” downsped engines, with intelligent drive lines and efficient rear axles – resulting in high torque being available at low engine speeds for “unmatched fuel efficiency and the highest driver comfort.” The combination of advanced vehicle software algorithms, improved aerodynamics and a new, compact aftertreatment system, resulted in a 7% improvement in fuel economy, DAF says – “the largest fuel efficiency gain in the history of the company.” 66 | Truck & Driver

In NZ, Southpac achieved a breakthrough with the make in 2008/’09, with the introduction of DAF’s Euro 5 models – with the all-important option of a Roadranger 18-speed manual rather than the ZF or AS Tronic standard spec transmission, plus Meritor drive axles. Says Durent: “We started fitting the Roadrangers here – because they said it couldn’t be done. That’s the worst thing you can say to us!” Soon they became a factory option. “The Meritors came in very early from the factory – as a result of South Africa, Australia and NZ looking for better tare weight. The hub reduction rear was good…for traction, but it was heavy.” Southpac general sales manager Richard Smart points out that just as the Euro 5 Kiwi DAFs were being nicely refined to “exactly what we wanted…then unfortunately we had the GFC.” Only once the after-effects of the financial crisis had gone did DAF sales here really hit their straps. In 2012, around 125 were sold – up from 74 the previous year… and 42 in 2010. Sales since have averaged better than 200 a year – hitting a best-ever 253 last year. This year, Smart hopes, they’ll hit 280. To the end of 2017 almost 1800 DAFs, including the light-duty LF, had been sold in NZ over 17 years. In 2017, the new CF and new XF were named joint winners of the TOTY 2018 in Europe – “for their class-leading transport efficiency and impressive fuel efficiency gain of 7%.” The LF also scored Commercial Fleet Truck of the Year honours in the United Kingdom. In terms of where to from here….DAF has been actively developing future technologies – working with leading European electric and hybrid powertrain development projects. It demonstrated its truck platooning capabilities in 2015: Its EcoTwin vehicle system saw trailing vehicles automatically follow a lead truck to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and to improve traffic flow. Its success, says DAF, led to the company

Founded 1898

“I’ve been using BPW axles and suspensions since 2009. We operate in Northland’s forestry where the combination of tough off highway roads and public roads really test our gear. We’ve had a great run out of these axles and suspension, they are our preferred option” Stephen Batchelor Managing Director of Aotearoa Haulage Ltd

Ph: 0800 427 956


Axle and suspensions shown may differ from those used by this fleet

Will Gundesen’s 16-year-old 95XF has clocked up 2.2 million kilometres

Photo Derek Tankersley

Durable DAF W

HEN PALMERSTON NORTH TRUCKIE WILL GUNDESEN started out in business as a Linfox contractor in 2002, he bought “a cheap old Volvo.” Within a year he determined that he needed to buy something brand-new “because, you know, you’re always scared with secondhand gear.” He almost bought a Kenworth – then found this DAF 95XF that was a three-month-old demonstrator…and “around 50 grand cheaper.” The clincher, he confesses, was that “it’s sort of got like a sports exhaust – a Donaldson. So it was the sound of it sold it for me! It’s got a good little rumble.” There was also the fact that it had a 530-horsepower DAF engine, which “everyone thought was a lot of horsepower – but I sort of liked the look of the future.” Besides, the 6x4 tractor unit was going to be doubleshifted from the outset – first running between Palmy and Wellington. “Next thing we were going to Taranaki, going to Tauranga and up to Auckland. You don’t want to do that in a 400 Mitsi.” Around 2006, “they had a recall….did a Euro 3 upgrade – they had some defects with them. Mine had just cracked a head. It was all-but an inframe rebuild really. Mine had done 600,000k. I also shouted it some new injectors. “And to be honest, it’s done over 2.2million Ks now and I haven’t put a spanner to the engine since the rebuild. It does turbos about every 500,000 – religiously! But the engine and injectors I haven’t touched them for 1.6million. “First time we touched the gearbox – a ZF 14-speed synchro

68 | Truck & Driver

manual – was 1.5 million as well. “Overall it’s still a tidy looking truck. People can’t believe it’s done that many Ks.” He rates it “a comfortable truck eh. I mean, when I got it everyone was bagging DAFs – there were a couple of people had bad runs with them. But in every model you get a lemon.” He was happy enough to drive it for 12 years, “before I shouted myself a new truck.” That’s even though “the old exhaust brake does nothing – you might as well stick your hand out the window!” He does believe that doubleshifting – “keeping them hot – is good for a truck.” Gundesen, whose Gundy Transport shifted over to AF Logistics (now Foodstuffs North Island Transport) early in the DAF’s doubleshifting life, reckons he’s “retired it a few times” – bought a new XF105 in 2008, with the old 95XF downgraded to a backup…. “so then they went and found me another run. Then in 2011 I bought a new Freightliner…and they gave me another run.” Now he’s up to five trucks, including three K200 Kenworths and another new XF105 – and the old DAF has now “truly been in retirement for about 18 months.” It’s now used only once every couple of months and, Gundesen admits: “I have been contemplating selling it. Logic says ‘get rid of it’ – because they age really fast when you don’t use them often. “But then it’s that sentimental thing. It was my first brand-new truck – that got me to where I am now. “It’s pretty unheard of – a European truck that’s done THAT many Ks. Whatever they did back then they did it right.” T&D

The 2600, launched in the early 1960s, was purposebuilt for trans-Continental transport – with two bunks and windows all around for a spacious feeling

being selected to exclusively participate in English platooning trials in 2017. The make has long since gone global. These days, DAF trucks are manufactured in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and Brazil, and DAF products are sold by 1100 independent dealers on five continents. “DAF provides a complete range of excellent trucks that offer the industry’s lowest operating costs, best transport efficiency and highest driver comfort,” reckons DAF president Preston Feight. “Thanks to the wonderful team of over 10,000 dedicated people who design, build, sell and support its quality trucks, engines, parts and services, DAF is well positioned to continue growing

successfully around the world.” The way Richard Smart sees it, in the NZ setting DAF has “got the best of both worlds: It’s got the European high spec and safety features and comfort factor, but we’ve also got a factory that’s really switched on to the fact that this is a different part of the world. “They sell trucks to 47 export markets – and they make a different truck for each one. You don’t get a European photocopy – you get all the strange things that we need, that they don’t have in any other country. They build us unique model codes, they build us Meritor suspension, Roadranger transmission – all the bits we need to make the product stand up to NZ conditions.” It is, he reckons, DAF’s point of difference with its Euro rivals

In 1950 the DAF factory began building this T60 model with its own cab. Until then the trucks had left the factory as rolling chassis – with cabs custommade by local bodybuilders

Truck & Driver | 69

Above: One of DAF’s biggest successes in NZ has been its tipper-spec CF85, introduced in 2012. Around 250 of them have since been sold Right: Daily Freight contractor Denis Woodman’s 95XF was one of the first two on the road in NZ. It ran a 530hp DAF engine, a ZF synchro manual gerabox and Meritor diffs on Kenworth Airglide suspension

in NZ: “I mean, if you look at our main competition in the Euros, which is obviously Volvo – now that’s got some export components, but it’s quite a European truck…. “Whilst that technology is good, if it’s not going to survive screaming across a paddock in South Canterbury carrying 50 tonnes of cows, then it doesn’t really matter does it. “Over the years we’ve fine-tuned what the factory’s got, to the point where the latest Euro 5 would have to be the best product we’ve ever had from the factory. “For example, DAF makes a model called an FTD, which is an 8x4 tractor, which doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. The fact we run two different chassis rails – a low one for certain applications and a higher one for offroad clearance – that’s unique to NZ. We have some specific gearchanging software in AS Tronic, to suit our terrain. When we introduced new product in 2007/’08, we did some terrain mapping and gearchange measuring on some set routes – that programme only exists for us. “Just lots and lots of things like that, which tells us that they look at every aspect of what we do and try and engineer it to suit us as best they can.” Smart reckons that in the Kiwi market, “we’d like to think there’s only us and Volvo fighting for it (top honours) among the Europeans. Our only shortfall is that we don’t have that big 600hp, 700hp offering that some operators believe they need for certain applications.” That’s where DAF’s North American brother, Kenworth, comes in: “We’re fortunate that, if we do need a 15-litre, high-horsepower 70 | Truck & Driver

offering, we’ve got another product that fits in there quite nicely. The two have always worked very well alongside each other. “When you put the two products side by side, we like to think we’ve got something for every part of that 23t and above sector.” Currently the MX-13 engine offering here tops out at 510hp – for both the CF85 and XF105 models. That will, Smart says, go up to 530hp when we get Euro 6 engines – and with torque which he reckons is the equal of other Euro manufacturers’ 560hp or 580hp engines. DAF has found favour across many applications – including linehaul and metro freight, livestock, logger, tipper and fuel tanker work….and more recently also penetrating into niche areas like readymix concrete agitator trucks and concrete pump trucks. But, says Smart: “I think one of the biggest new markets we’ve opened was in 2012, when we decided with the factory to build a dedicated 6x4 tipper. We looked at all the bits that we would really want – and we over-specced it enormously. “We put a 20918 (Roadranger manual) behind a 510 engine. In a Kenworth you’d run 620hp through that! Big front axle, big tyres, vertical exhaust – worked with all the bodybuilders to find the optimum wheelbase so they didn’t have to do any engineering work. “That enabled us, because we only have that one spec, to buy in bulk and take it to the market at a good price. “And over 100 different customers have them. There’d probably be 250 of them on the road. That’s the one that’s upset the Japanese market the most.” T&D



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Aussie/Kiwi Martin Wilson poses with his Kenworth C509, pulled up at a roadhouse en route back to Orange Creek Station



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OU COULD SAY I LIVE A DOUBLE LIFE: I’M Aussie-born…but have lived and worked in New Zealand most of my life. For the last 30 years I’ve run a farm west of Te Awamutu and operated a truck and trailer (a Mack RB 400, which replaced its FR Mack predecessor 13 years ago), a bulldozer and an excavator, doing earthmoving work.

hotos Story & p on ils Martin W

Now 62, I was just 18 when I first came here – and started driving a Leyland Comet for Don Brook Earthmovers in Glenfield, Auckland. Later on I drove for Warkworth Transport for four years, carting stock and freight – starting out on a Mercedes-Benz 1418 and finished on an ERF. Ever since then I’ve been running my farm and the earthworks contracting business. Truck & Driver | 73




Product that is built for your industry not your home At Panasonic we understand your industry is built around tough environments, that is why we have built our products to last the distance.

Peter Walker 021 999 400 –

I have carted older cows to a meatworks at Tongala, in Victoria. That’s 2200kms from Alice! But I’ve got lots of friends in Australia and my wife Carolyn and I own a vehicle and caravan there – based in Alice Springs. Each year for four years now, we’ve left the farm in the hands of our daughter and son-in-law and, for June, July and August we’ve gone to live in Alice Springs – when the Outback’s busy with cattle cartage, due to the cooler conditions. Carolyn works at the hospital, while I drive a roadtrain for Orange Creek Station. It’s a 500,000-hectare station on the Hugh River, about 100 kilometres south of Alice. At Orange Creek I’ve done some flatdeck work, carting mining equipment from outback areas using a triple. And in my first year there I did a lot of stock cartage within the station – from the outer yards to the feed lot at the homestead. But a lot of the work is carting cattle out to meatworks or for fattening – and, given that Alice Springs is smack in the middle of Australia, that means you’ve got a long way to travel. Young cattle that are sold off tend to go south to Port Augusta, where they’re cross-loaded onto smaller B-double units and transported down into South Australia and Victoria or across and east into New South Wales. Fat cattle go south to the meatworks at Murray Bridge or Naracoorte in South Australia. Murray Bridge is over 1400kms….one-way! Naracoorte’s another 250kms further – and I have carted older

cows to a meatworks at Tongala, in Victoria. That’s 2200kms from Alice! Cattle going north are generally headed for live shipment to Indonesia. They’re usually transported to feed lots in the Darwin area, where they’re acclimatised ready for the sea voyage. This trip is also a long one – it’s about 1500kms from The Alice straight up the Stuart Highway to Darwin. The result is that the roadtrains are fitted out for the job. Fuel tank capacity is a priority, so truck chassis length is at the max in order to accommodate the tanks. The Kenworth C509 that I drive has room for 2300 litres. As well as this the trailer belly tanks hold another 1000 litres for emergencies. Here’s a typical day in my Aussie trucking life. It starts at 5am when I head over to the cattle yards, where my truck is already parked up, waiting for its BAB-quad trailer unit to be loaded at first light. These trailers are newly approved – referred to in Australia as a “quad” unit. My job this trip is to transport fat steers from Orange Creek to Murray Bridge, south of Adelaide, to a meatworks. So, for my 120 steers it’s their first and last road trip! These cattle weigh in at an average 710 kilograms so it’s a big payload. The boss is sorting cattle so I get out the wheel brace and start methodically checking wheel nuts. The day before I spent fitting 22 new tyres –

It’s early evening as the 140-tonne roadtrain pauses for a moment just north of Coober Pedy on its trip south. The BAB trailer quad set is designed so it can easily be broken down close to major cities....where quads are not permitted

Truck & Driver | 75

replacing a third of what’s on the unit. I also carry about six spares, but I doubt I’ll need any on this trip as its tarseal all the way. We start loading at 6.30am and when we’re all done we head to the station homestead for a big breakfast – steak and eggs or bacon and eggs…. with all the trimmings. We do very well for food here. Stock movement permits having been filled out in duplicate and all signed, it’s time to hit the road, bound for South Australia. First stop, two hours and 180 ks later, is Kulgara roadhouse. As all the stock are happy I press on – and get a good run down to Coober Pedy, about 400 ks into the trip. The road’s just right for the cruise control and it’s set on 100. In Coober Pedy I find I have a problem – one big steer is down. After a bit of prodding and poking I get him up, so shoot into the roadhouse for a quick feed. Half an hour later I’m on the road again, driving into the night with Mark Knopfler singing Sultans of Swing. My Cummins motor is blasting out its own tune, using all 620 horses to haul 140 tonnes down the great Stuart Highway. What a life. Next stop, my sulky steer’s down again. But, after some TLC, I get him up. The road has been rough for the last 100 ks so I probably should have

slowed down a bit for my passengers. My usual routine is to stop for a few hours’ sleep at Glendambo, 300kms north of Port Augusta, before continuing the trip south. So I pull into Yorkeys Crossing trailer park as the sun’s coming up. This is just north of Port Augusta on the Stuart Highway. At this point I have to drop off my rear B-double unit, as 53-metre roadtrains can’t proceed any further south. Donny Childs, Vietnam vet, bronco rider, camel trader and roadtrain legend, is meeting me here with his Kenworth prime mover and will hook up the rear units. Then the two of us can travel on down to Adelaide and beyond. While I wait for him it’s interesting to watch as other roadtrains arrive from the north and start cross-loading onto smaller units. Tanami Transport’s mighty Mack Titan pulls in towing a triple unit. No sooner has he pulled up and two local trucks start backing in. Our roadtrains are all side-loading so one truck backs up to the front door and simultaneously another is backed into the rear side door. Donny shows up, apologising for the delay: He’s been held up by a car accident just north of Port Pirie. He’s soon hooked up and we rumble on south, Donny’s C15 Cat setting the pace. For an old guy, he’s a hard act to follow.


Jamieson Transport is looking for experienced Road Train Drivers who are interested in joining our Port Hedland operation. We provide FIFO rosters and accommodation while on site. We work with some of theleading mining and resources companies in Australia and our reputation for providing reliable and quality service to our customers is second to none. You will be operating quad side tippers carting bulk materials from the mine sites to the port.

• Efficient operation of quad trailer road trains • Complete all necessary associated documentation (such as the preparation and signing of cartage dockets and service requests) • Be able to treat our equipment with care and respect • Candidates will be required to demonstrate a willingness to work within these environmental conditions As part of our employment process, all employees will be required to undertake a pre-employment medical and ongoing drug and alcohol screening To be considered for this role, successful applicants will possess the following: • Current MC licence or relevant experience • Current Commercial Driver Medical • Detailed (5 year) Driver History Report.

• Current National Police Clearance • Must have a minimum of 5 years’ heavy commercial vehicle experience • Current Drug and Alcohol Screen • Competent 18 Speed Road Ranger experience • Provide references Great ongoing prospects are available for candidates that have a fantastic attitude, demonstrate capability across all areas and have a proven commitment to both themselves and their employer Benefits • We are offering excellent wages (negotiable by experience) • Very friendly and flexible roster (Residential and FIFO) • Flight and meal allowance (weekly) • Accommodation and transportation provided

Please direct all enquiries about this position to: If you are shortlisted you will be sent an application form via email. You need to complete and return this as soon as possible to be considered for this role. Due to the high number of applications that we receive - only those applicants who are shortlisted will be contacted.


Specific Responsibilities

Back home in NZ, Martin runs this Mack RB 400 in his earthmoving contracting business


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09 525 0830 Truck & Driver | 77

Top: Loading up cattle at Orange Creek for the 34hour trip to the works Above left: The view from Martin’s Kenworth as he tracks colleague Donny Childs in South Australia Above right: Martin (left) and roadtrain legend Donny Childs Left: The rest of Martin’s “fleet” back in NZ

We pull over to check the stock at Port Pirie and I find my big steer down again and stretched out. I decide to lighten off his pen and give him more room, so I put one steer forward and another back. As I’m doing it, he gets up…so all’s well. Driving through Adelaide is no fun. After that it’s a steep climb up the Adelaide Hills and then a cruise on down to Murray Bridge meatworks, where we offload without a hitch. These cattle have been in my care for 34 hours, so I feel a pang of sorrow to see them standing in 78 | Truck & Driver

the yards waiting for their inevitable end. After that, it’s a quick run to the nearest roadhouse for a nice shower and a meal. The Kenworth C509 is equipped with a very comfortable sleeper so, after a long phone conversation with the wife, it’s the land of nod for me – before I head back to Orange Creek for my next assignment. The Alice Springs winter cattle sale is looming, which means another 10,000 to 12,000 head to shift…but that’s another story. T&D


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Our Hamilton-based R&M division is up and running in it’s new building at 29 Horotiu Road, just minutes from the Waikato Expressway.

Managing Director Mike Stevenson We are excited to improve our service and support for all of our Waikatobased customers and transport companies within the golden triangle.

The 10,000 square-foot facility is also used to house additional truck build assemblies needed to accommodate increased volumes and orders in place for 2018. Long-serving T&G employee Neil Saxton is overseeing the additional Truck department and Joel Bradley is managing the R&M division. Location




1 GR







Hamilton Support Centre, 29 Horotiu Road

0800 4 T AND G 0800 482 634

Ph: 0273 855 635



Truckers & Loggers

Big turnout, big catches T

HIS YEAR’S TRUCKERS & LOGGERS FISHING Tournament was one of the biggest in the Bay of Islands-based contest’s 15-year history. Forty-two teams and over 160 anglers from all around the country registered for the tournament, hosted by the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club. While the weather forecast predicted rain, very little eventuated and the winds stayed moderate so fishing conditions were great and a good number of fish were caught in all but one category (with tuna the only species where all prizes weren’t claimed). The first marlin of the tournament was tagged

by Mainstream’s Greg Haliday, on Back in Black, just three and a quarter hours after fishing started. Around the same time, Craig Stokes, on Wild Blue, hooked up a blue marlin that he fought for almost five hours before landing it. It was weighed-in that evening at Whangaroa and came in at 213.2kgs – and turned out to be the heaviest marlin of the tournament. Within an hour, Mark Postlewaight on Armani caught a 37.6kg yellowfin tuna – which was the heaviest tuna of the contest. During the first day, two more marlin were tagged and released and several big snapper and kingfish were measured and released. Truck & Driver | 81


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Top: The team on El Torito won the prize for the best photo of the tournament – this shot of the team posed in front of the aptly named Marlin Hotel in Whangaroa Above left: Craig Stokes (left) picks up his prize for the heaviest billfish from Isuzu NZ’s David Ballantyne

Above right: Russell Bill led a big tournament for the Pyramid Trucking team on Anchorage. Here he receives the prize for the best tag and release billfish from Cummins NZ’s Daniel Gallagher

Day two saw several more marlin hooked up, with some escaping and a couple tagged and released. Three more marlin were tagged and released on day three – and two more were brought in to be weighed. The Pyramid Trucking team on Anchorage tagged two marlin on the last day to take the overall top team points and team-member Russell Bill also claimed the top angler honours. Anchorage’s Dennis and Dean Pollock also won the Best Skipper and Best Deckie awards respectively.

Jonathon Fulton took the prize for the heaviest snapper with an 8.2kg fish and was first and third in the contest for the largest measure and release snapper (with 77cm and 71cm fish)… while son Shine was second in the measure and release with a 75cm snapper. Don Wilson won the heaviest kingfish prize with a 22.34kg fish – and backed that up by winning the largest measure and release kingfish honours with a 110cm fish. Shine Fulton (108cm fish) was second and Doug Wilson (102cm fish) was third. Craig Stokes’ 213.2kg blue marlin won the Truck & Driver | 83

Top left: Don Wilson (left) receives his prize for the heaviest kingfish from SI Lodec’s Shaun Morse Top right: Mark Postlewaight (left) receives his prize, for the heaviest (and only) tuna caught, from Castrol’s Alister Craig Left: Jonathon Fulton (centre) and son Shine between them took out the major prizes for the biggest measured and released snapper. Here they receive their prizes from Diesel Services’ Mike Hurley (left)

Many teams have already confirmed their entries for next year’s tournament heaviest billfish honours, ahead of the blue marlin caught by Ben Charles (184.8kg) and Chris Graham (173.4kg). Behind Russell Bill’s best tag and release billfish, Greg Haliday (Back in Black) was second and Craig Jamieson (Family Jewels) third. Mark Postlewaight’s 37.6kg yellowfin was the only tuna caught, so the second and third prizes were decided with lucky draws. The team on El Torito won the best tournament photo award for its shot outside the Marlin Hotel in Whangaroa. The tournament was once again supported by

84 | Truck & Driver

loyal industry sponsors Southpac Trucks, Patchell Industries, SI Lodec, Isuzu Trucks, Cummins, Castrol, Auckland Oil Shop, Diesel Services, New Zealand Truck & Driver and NZ Logger magazine. The best prize haul of any Bay of Islands fishing tournament was sourced from Shimano, Barrels 100% Albany, ITM Haruru Falls Bay of Islands and the Man Cave Waipapa. The prize list included several major lucky draw prizes, including a 55-inch LG Smart TV, and 80W and 50W Shimano reel and rod sets. Many teams have already confirmed their entries for next year’s tournament. T&D


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This Kenworth T900 Legend logger has joined the Satherley Logging operation in Napier, with Shane (Gun) McFarlane the lucky man behind the wheel. The 6x4 has a 600hp Cummins X15 engine, an 18-speed Roadranger manual gearbox and RT46-160 diffs, plus many extras including an “oldschool” sunvisor and round indicator lights on the guards…and Legend features like quarter-light doors, full leather seats, heritage instrument gauges, a flat dash, chrome steering wheel, woodgrain gear knob and dash, seven-inch exhaust stacks, chrome air cleaner bowls and a seven-bar grille. It has Kraft logging gear and tows a matching four-axle trailer.

A class quarter T

HE NEW HEAVY TRUCK MARKET IN March was about 4% shy of the alltime best sales figures for the month – just 20 trucks short of the 484 registered in March last year. But the 464 registrations in the overall truck market (all trucks over 4.5-tonne GVM) was enough to push sales out to 1185 for the first three months of the year – thus creating a new first quarter record (8% up on 2014’s previous best Q1 total). The trailer market made it a double – its best-ever March (with 161 registrations beating March last year by 25%) and that contributing to a Q1 total of 384 sales – 10% up on the previous mark of 350, set in 2015…and 16% up on March last year. The March trailer rego total also rated as the third-highest ever…for any month (just behind November 2015’s 166 and October 2014’s 167). In the heavy truck market, Fuso rebounded from its stumble

in February (when it registered just 48 trucks, compared to market leader Isuzu’s 106) by registering 100 units – just three less than Isuzu. That returned Fuso to second place (up from third) in the year-to-date standings, with 203 registrations compared to Isuzu’s 258 and third-ranked Hino’s 169. DAF, with 40 March registrations, moved up from fifth to fourth YTD, with 88 sales. Next, with 71 YTD, was Volvo, which jumped up from ninth with 39 March regos. Kenworth (68/16) and Mercedes-Benz (62/16) lost two places and one place respectively in the 2018 rankings, while Iveco (55/20) held onto eighth place, UD (55/16) lost a spot and Scania (32/11) held 10th. Behind them came MAN (22/7), which went ahead of Mack (21/6), Freightliner (18/5) holding 13th, Foton (14/8), Fiat (11/3) and International (9/6). In the 3.5-4.5t maximum GVM crossover segment, Fiat (78/27) continued to easily outperform the rest, with Truck & Driver | 87




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This is one of five Volvo FH600s that have joined the McCarthy Transport logging fleet, based in Whanganui. The 8x4 rigid, which works all around the North Island, has RTS2370B single reduction diffs, along with extras including a central tyre inflation system, onboard scales and a 33-litre fridge. It works with a five-axle Makaranui Highway Hound log trailer.

Mercedes-Benz (18/4) and Toyota (8/1) slipping further behind. The Toyotas comprised seven Hilux GUN126R models rated at 4230kg GVM, and a solitary Dyna. Volkswagen (5/4) overtook Ford (4/2), while Renault (2/1) lost one place. Fuso (82/37) was firmly in charge in the 4.5-7.5t GVM segment, followed by Isuzu (57/20), Mercedes-Benz (36/11), Hino (32/9), Iveco (22/13), Fiat (11/3, Foton (9/6), Ram (8/3) and Hyundai (6/4). In the 7.5-15t segment, Isuzu (90/38) extended its comfortable lead over Fuso (56/30), which overtook Hino (50/20). UD (16/5) remained fourth and Iveco (6/3) retained fifth, but Foton (5/2) lost a place. MAN (3/1) retained seventh, while DAF, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz had two apiece YTD. Hino (22/8) led the 15-20.5t segment from UD (14/3) and Fuso (14/7). Iveco (10/3) lost a spot, while Isuzu (6/1) remained fifth and Mercedes-Benz (3/0) sixth – tied with Scania (3/1). Isuzu joined the ranks in the 20.5-23t segment, which was still led by Hino (8/3), with UD (3/1) second. In the premium 23t-max GVM segment, Isuzu (104/43) edged further into the YTD lead – but with DAF (85/39) displacing PACCAR stablemate Kenworth (68/16) for

second…and Volvo (71/39) jumping from fifth to third, pushing Kenworth back another place. Hino (57/15) also lost a place, while Fuso (51/26) held sixth and Scania (29/10) retained seventh. UD (22/7) gained three places, Mack (21/6) gained one and Mercedes-Benz (21/5) lost one. Down in 14th place, International (9/6) had its best month in more than a year. Industry analyst Robin Yates’ look at registrations for the first quarter of 2018 shows that market leader Isuzu’s share was down for the third year in a row. Its sales volume was also down on last year – as too was Fuso’s. On the other hand, Hino increased both volume and share. Others to increase their share were DAF, Kenworth, Mercedes-Benz, Iveco, Foton, International, Hyundai and Western Star. All others lost share. In the trailer market, Patchell (43/12) maintained its comfortable lead, while Fruehauf (34/16) recovered from fourth last month to equal-second with MTE (34/15). Roadmaster (28/11) improved one place to fourth and TMC (27/13) was up two spots. The big loser was Domett (25/6), which dropped from third to sixth, while MaxiCUBE (22/6) slipped one spot to seventh. Transport Trailers (16/7) held eighth, ahead of Jackson Enterprises (12/6) and Transfleet (12/5) in ninth-equal. T&D Truck & Driver | 89



Wellsford’s Wharehine Group has put this new DAF FAT CF85 tipper to work on quarry and contracting duties around the Auckland region. The 6x4 has a 510hp PACCAR MX375 engine, an 18-speed Roadranger manual gearbox and Meritor RT46-160 diffs with inter-axle and crosslocks. It has a Transport Trailers tipping body and a matching four-axle trailer.

23,001kg-max GVM 2018


Vol 258 203 169 88 71 68 62 55 55 32 22 21 18 14 11 9 8 8 8 4 1 1185

% 21.8 17.1 14.3 7.4 6.0 5.7 5.2 4.6 4.6 2.7 1.9 1.8 1.5 1.2 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.1 100.00

March Vol % 103 22.2 100 21.6 55 11.9 40 8.6 39 8.4 16 3.4 16 3.4 20 4.3 16 3.4 11 2.4 7 1.5 6 1.3 5 1.1 8 1.7 3 0.6 6 1.3 4 0.9 3 0.6 4 0.9 1 0.2 1 0.2 464 100.00


Vol 78 18 8 5 4 2 1 1 117

% 66.7 15.4 6.8 4.3 3.4 1.7 0.9 0.9 100.00

March Vol % 27 69.2 4 10.3 1 2.6 4 10.3 2 5.1 1 2.6 0 0.0 0 0.0 39 100.00


Vol 82 57 36 32 22 11 9 8 6 1 264

% 31.1 21.6 13.6 12.1 8.3 4.2 3.4 3.0 2.3 0.4 100.00

March Vol % 37 34.6 20 18.7 11 10.3 9 8.4 13 12.1 3 2.8 6 5.6 3 2.8 4 3.7 1 0.9 107 100.00

In the premium 23t-max GVM segment, Isuzu (104/43) edged further into the YTD lead 7501-15,000kg GVM 2018 Brand ISUZU FUSO HINO UD IVECO FOTON MAN DAF HYUNDAI MERCEDES-BENZ Total

Vol 90 56 50 16 6 5 3 2 2 2 232

% 38.8 24.1 21.6 6.9 2.6 2.2 1.3 0.9 0.9 0.9 100.00

March Vol % 38 38.0 30 30.0 20 20.0 5 5.0 3 3.0 2 2.0 1 1.0 1 1.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 100 100.00


Vol 22 14 14 10 6 3 3 1 1 74

% 29.7 18.9 18.9 13.5 8.1 4.1 4.1 1.4 1.4 100.00

March Vol % 8 34.8 7 30.4 3 13.0 3 13.0 1 4.3 0 0.0 1 4.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 23 100.00

20,501-23,000kg GVM 2018 Brand HINO UD ISUZU Total

Vol 8 3 1 12

% 66.7 25.0 8.3 100.00

March Vol % 3 60.0 1 20.0 1 20.0 5 100.00


Vol 104 85 71 68 57 51 29 22 21 21 18 18 17 9 8 4 603

% 17.2 14.1 11.8 11.3 9.5 8.5 4.8 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.0 3.0 2.8 1.5 1.3 0.7 100.00

March Vol % 43 18.8 39 17.0 39 17.0 16 7.0 15 6.6 26 11.4 10 4.4 7 3.1 6 2.6 5 2.2 5 2.2 6 2.6 1 0.4 6 2.6 4 1.75 1 0.44 229 100.00


Vol 43 34 34 28 27 25 22 16 12 12 10 9 7 6 6 6 6 5 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 31 384

% 11.2 8.9 8.9 7.3 7.0 6.5 5.7 4.2 3.1 3.1 2.6 2.3 1.8 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.3 1.0 1.0 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 8.1 100.00

March Vol % 12 7.5 16 9.9 15 9.3 11 6.8 13 8.1 6 3.7 6 3.7 7 4.3 6 3.7 5 3.1 5 3.1 4 2.5 2 1.2 2 1.2 3 1.9 2 1.2 0 0.0 2 1.2 4 2.5 1 0.6 2 1.2 1 0.6 1 0.6 1 0.6 2 1.2 2 1.2 0 0.0 2 1.2 0 0.0 1 0.6 1 0.6 1 0.6 1 0.6 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 0.6 1 0.6 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 0.6 0 0.0 1 0.6 20 12.4 161 100.00

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Hamilton’s Les Harrison Transport has added this new Isuzu GIGA CYJ 530 to its operation, working much of the time for Dairy Transport Logistics, carrying Fonterra products around the North Island. The 8x4 curtainsider has a 16-speed Isuzu AMT and a two-stage retarder. It has a Roadmaster body and tows a matching five-axle trailer.

Truck & Driver | 93



Two new identical Swinglift container sideloader trailers have been purchased by TR Group, for deployment with the TDL Group, working behind DAF CF85 8x4 tractor units. The HC4020-35IC-4 trailers have Yanmar 68hp power units and run on BPW axles and suspension. They tare at 9940kg.

Auckland’s DGL has this Volvo FM500 Globetrotter 6x4 tractor unit hauling freight between Auckland and Christchurch.

94 | Truck & Driver

Taupo’s Peter Thomas Transport has this Volvo FH 700 8x4 tractor unit doubleshifting on linehaul work around the North Island for Goodman Fielder. It hauls a four-axle MaxiTRANS super-quad refrigerated trailer and has extras including bi-Xenon headlights, a bullbar, extra spotlights, air horns, twin fuel tanks, a tv, a 33-litre fridge and a sliding fifth wheel

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Trash is transported from Auckland to the Hampton Downs landfill in the northern Waikato by this Volvo FH16 sleeper cab tipper run by Auckland’s SR McCardle. The 8x4, which has a 700hp engine, is contracted to EnviroWaste.

Chilled and frozen foodstuffs are carried between Auckland and Whakatane by this new Volvo FH500 sleeper cab, which has joined the Pukekohe-based Northchill fleet. Extras run to a stainless steel toolbox and LED lights.

96 | Truck & Driver

Total Log Haulage in Waverley has put this new Kenworth T659 50-tonne logger to work in the Hawke’s Bay region. The 8x4 has a 600hp Cummins X15 engine, an 18-speed Roadranger manual transmission and RT46-160 diffs with dual axle locks, on Airglide 460 suspension. Finishing touches include alloy wheels, dual seven-inch exhaust stacks, chrome riser intakes, a stainless steel sunvisor and a roof-mounted aircon unit. It has Mills-Tui logging gear and tows a matching five-axle multi-bolster trailer with air suspension and alloys.

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This publication has been extremely successful with distribution going out every month to New Zealand High Schools along with NZ Truck & Driver Magazine. We have had nothing but extremely positive feedback from many schools with several requesting additional copies to pass out amongst school leavers. On the back of this the RTF is preparing a schools resources kit that can be used by the various trade launching the second edition of the Student Career Guide.

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PAINT • PANEL • AUCKLAND’S JOSAM TRUCK CHASSIS STRAIGHTENING SYSTEM • AND LOTS LOTS MORE Contact Les Plenzler (The Pope) or Danny Radich Ph 09 276 7206 • 09 276 7207 • Fax 09 276 7205 20 Kahu Street, Otahuhu, Auckland Truck & Driver | 99


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Looking back over the years of trucking out on the Hauraki Plains, it remembers many past and present transport operators who helped break in this tough peat country making it some of New Zealand’s most productive farmland. 450 photos. For just $59-00 plus postage of $6-50 you can get your limited edition publication.



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100 | Truck & Driver


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Now released in time for Christmas Volume 3 of the much sought after From Low Gear to OVERDRIVE. Bring your collection up to date with this latest edition or get all three issues. The best historic record of the central North Island road transport scene, featuring many well known fleets of the past and the people behind them.

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Many great shots of the Forest Products fleet and some names that have disappeared into the past. Keep your historic collection up to date with Gavin’s latest. The ideal Christmas present for the trucker in your life. For just $48-00 plus postage of $6-50 you can get this limited edition publication.



The latest in the collection of historic pictorials by Gavin Abbott moving into the early years of the Mamaku West Trucks and Truckers featuring the fleets and identities of the Tokoroa Kinleith area.

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LOUIE AND HIS HARD CASE BUGGERS Well known forester and hunter Lance Duncan retired from the forestry industry then sat down and wrote a book. It’s the tale of his life and is full of yarns from many years of working in forestry and hunting and those people he met along the way. Its full of humour, our proof reader was in stitches when she worked on this manuscript. It hasn’t been sterilised it’s written as Lance tells it and anybody who knows him will know you will get it straight. If you are easily offended then it’s probably not for you. Get your copy now, for a great read and some real entertaining yarns.

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NZ Truck & Driver Magazine May 2018  
NZ Truck & Driver Magazine May 2018