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Transport museum gets nod pages 2–3 Drivers’ memorial launched pages 18–19

Tribute to trucking identity pages 10–11

Country News Reaching Australia’s richest agricultural region


By Darren Linton

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Sami Sali with his 1958 Diamond T, the model that launched the family transport company.

History keeps rolling Transport Hall of Fame member Sam Sali arrived at the formation meeting for the proposed transport museum in his own piece of trucking history. In 1956 with the family farm well established, the Sali brothers purchased a truck which was the beginnings of S. Sali & Sons. It was simple by today’s standards but the Diamond T carted goods to Melbourne Market every day. “That was our first semi-trailer, a truck we originally bought in 1958 — and in those days we predominantly carted fruit from Shepparton to Melbourne,” Mr Sali said. “We were just pulling a single-axle trailer but in later years we re-powered it with an International 392 V8 motor and then we were pulling a bogey trailer carrying 16 tonne.” By the mid 1960s with the fleet expanding the focus switched to interstate transport, and the company now operates regular trucks between Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide,


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transporting general freight. Sam Sali’s original Diamond T was destroyed in a fire but he was lucky enough to find another in 2003. “I had the opportunity of buying this truck as an unfinished restoration and we bought it home and did all the mechanics ourselves. We also built the tray body in our workshop.” It is a sentimental as well as a historical keepsake and it isn’t unusual in the industry — which is why there is such widespread support for a museum. “I think it would be great to have the history and memorabilia for our region,” Mr Sali said. “Trucks have changed, trailers have changed, roads have changed, conditions in general have changed — all for the better so far as our equipment is concerned.”

Corinna Boldiston Ph: 5820 3183 email: Advertising manager: Jamie Gilbert Ph: 5820 3184 email: Editorial content: Alexandra Bathman, Sharon Wright, Rhiannon Gavalakis, Jenna Bishop, Darren Linton and Jarrod Whittaker Photography: Ray Sizer, Julie Mercer, Simon Bingham and Bianca Mibus Design: Brendan Cain Published by: Country News, 7940 Melbourne Rd, Shepparton 3630 Ph: 5831 2312

Country News Reaching Australia’s richest agricultural region


By Darren Linton

Transport museum interim chair John Taig and Emerald Bank creator Lloyd Mawson in a vintage fire truck surrounded by transport industry figures who are backing the creation of a museum for the region.

Bringing transport’s story to life The Goulburn Valley is set to host a new transport museum to be built at Emerald Bank, 5 km south of Shepparton. Industry figures met on May 31, leaving with a unanimous agreement to forge ahead with a transport museum which would be another major tourist attraction for the region. The next step is the development of a business case but Emerald Bank creator Lloyd Mawson, who started work as a 16-year-old in his father’s gravel-carting business, is certain the museum concept has enough momentum already. “I haven’t talked to a person that has been negative, not one yet,” Mr Mawson said after the meeting. “They all voted unanimously to go ahead and I suppose the next thing is once we get the business plan and the right people in place we’re looking to go out and secure the funds.” A 2000 sqm building overlooking

the lake at Emerald Bank would house the museum which would operate in conjunction with the existing Shepparton Motor Museum and soonto-be-opened Furphy Museum. Mr Mawson said the museum would bring to life the battles the region’s transport operators fought against regulations that forced goods onto rail, as well as the many characters who populated the industry over the years. The goal is to build an attraction that preserves history but also makes learning fun and interactive. “I would really like to see that we take a lot of time to present it as an educational destination as well because the younger generation needs to understand where we’ve come from.” Mr Mawson said the calibre of the people involved gave the project every chance of succeeding. “I’m very confident,” he said. The project’s interim chairman is truck dealer John Taig who also has a long family history in the transport industry and is equally confident of success. “There are so many people I haven’t spoken to who will put their shoulders

to the wheel to help this because it’s the camaraderie in the transport industry that drives all of this. It is amazing really how they all work with one another even though they compete with each other during the day.” Mr Mawson said the transport industry had been through enormous change during his working life and the museum would seek to educate as well as preserve historical gems. “It is not just the industry, it is about the history of the whole district and there’s so many people and characters involved, it is crying out for a presentation of it,” he said. “A cavalcade of the past, and transport if you think about it is linked to everyday life; whether it’s motor cars or trucks or buses, it’s linked to everyday life. “Everyone has got an involvement in it and a story to tell and I’m sure we can make something that helps the characters come to life again.” Mr Taig said the enthusiasm for the project was incredible. “A number of people I thought wouldn’t be interested have said absolutely, count me in — we have a very good base to work from.”

Frank Latorre’s restored 1961 Foden S21.

“It is not just the industry, it is about the history of the whole district and there’s so many people and characters involved, it is crying out for a presentation of it.” Lloyd Mawson

Trucks & trailers, June 2014

Page 3


By Jarrod Whittaker

Western bypass route supported A senior figure at a major local transport company has backed the need for the proposed Shepparton bypass. Kreskas Bros Transport governance, risk and compliance manager Peter Hill said the project would allow heavy traffic to avoid Shepparton without significantly affecting visitor numbers. “If people are coming to visit Shepparton, they will still come to visit Shepparton,” Mr Hill said. “A lot of the larger configurations of trucks like B-doubles can’t drive through the main streets of Shepparton.” He said heavy traffic used Doyles Rd to avoid the city centre. “I think (the bypass) is a good thing to remove the vehicles from the possibility of them driving anywhere around local roads,” Mr Hill said. Kreskas Bros Transport moves shipping containers full of goods between Shepparton and Port of Melbourne. Each day the company has more than 30 trucks on the road. Mr Hill said the western route would

benefit non-Shepparton-based transport companies moving goods between Melbourne and Brisbane. “Most of the larger (Shepparton-based) transport operators are over this (eastern) side of Shepparton,” he said. He said the Doyles Rd bypass would be the shortest and most practical route for those trucks to continue using. But he said freight infrastructure could be developed along the proposed bypass route over time. He said Shepparton operators who continued to use Doyles Rd would benefit from decreased traffic levels. “It allows for more efficient running, better timing on what we’re doing,” he said. “If there’s less traffic when we’re moving, that’s a good thing.” Shepparton Bypass Action Group chairman Peter Johnson said the bypass would benefit the transport industry. “It’s not only the time they save from the Nagambie bypass — which I think we all love,” Mr Johnson said. “It’s the efficiency they get with their vehicle usage.” He said less stopping would decrease vehicle wear. “There’s a lot of support from the transport industry ... particularly from those who would use it coming from the west of Shepparton.”

“It allows for more efficient running, better timing on what we’re doing,” he said. “If there’s less traffic when we’re moving, that’s a good thing.” Peter Hill

Kreskas Bros Transport governance, risk and compliance manager Peter Hill is an advocate for building the proposed Shepparton bypass to eliminate heavy traffic in the city’s centre. Picture: Bianca Mibus




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By Jenna Bishop

Truck tolls will hit hard An increase in truck tolls to help pay for the expansion of Melbourne’s CityLink and Tullamarine Fwy will hit the Goulburn Valley transport industry hard, local operators say. The transport industry will bear the brunt of the $850 million expansion, with tolls for trucks to increase to more than $45 for a 24hour CityLink pass once major construction works are completed in 2017. The increase will take current truck tolls for the 24-hour pass ($29.05) from almost 1.9 times the car toll ($15.25) to three times the car toll ($45.75). The maximum day-time truck trip cap will rise from $10.63 to $23.91 and the night truck trip cap will increase to $15.94. MMV Transports director and Natroad member Leckie Milne said there was no way for operators to avoid the charges. MMV Transports has trucks travelling to Melbourne at least three times a week and could have up to four or five vehicles in the city on those days. ‘‘Those sorts of costs are the ones you find it really hard to reduce or absorb,’’ he said. Mr Milne said increasing tolls was another blow to the industry, which already operated on tight margins.

‘‘Unfortunately someone along the line has to pay the costs . . . eventually it will be passed on to the client,’’ he said. Kreskas Bros Transport governance, risk and compliance manager Peter Hill said the tolls would be further costs which would make it more difficult to compete in the industry. “The increase of tolls will be something we will have to pass on to our customers, unfortunately,” he said. “It will have a massive effect on the industry.” Mr Hill said the company could have up to 30 trucks in Melbourne, depending on the day. “We have a lot of trucks travelling to and from Melbourne and the Goulburn Valley that use those toll roads to access the Port of Melbourne,” he said. The expansion, funded by CityLink operator Transurban, will create extra lanes in each direction on CityLink between the Bolte Bridge and Tullamarine Fwy, including extra lanes on the Bolte Bridge. It is expected to reduce travel time to the airport from the city by up to 16 minutes, increase capacity by 30 per cent and increase freight productivity. Construction of the extra lanes is expected to begin in the first half of next year and will take about two years to complete.

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ATA award winners Brian Murphy from Directhaul, Tom Scotney, Tim Wedlock, Lynne Jack, Toll Mining Services regional manager Geoff Massey and David Simon.

Industry people honoured The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) honoured Australia’s top truck drivers and other leading industry figures during the 2014 National Trucking Industry Awards. The awards were presented at the ATA Foundation Sponsors Gala Awards Dinner at Hamilton Island on Saturday, June 7. David Simon from Toowoomba in Queensland is the immediate past chair of the ATA and won the Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry award in recognition for his representation of the industry. Lynne Jack from Newcastle in NSW was named National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year and was recognised as one of the founding members of the Newcastle and Hunter Road Transport Awareness Day. Mrs Jack began her career in the industry in 1984 when she took over her father’s Volvo dealership and was elected to the Volvo Dealer Council six years later. Tom Scotney from Warwick in Queensland

won National Professional Driver of the Year after travelling more than 6.3 million km without receiving a fine during the past 10 years. Mr Scotney is well known for encouraging those around him to adopt safer work practices. The Don Watson Memorial Award for conspicuous achievement in furthering the industry’s objectives was awarded to Tim Wedlock from Austbrokers AEI Transport Insurance Brokers at Gordon in NSW. Mr Wedlock was recognised for his experience in providing insurance services to the transport and logistics industry for more than 25 years. The TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award for excellence in the TruckSafe program was presented to Directhaul of Berrimah in the Northern Territory, and the National Training Excellence Award was presented to Toll Mining Services of Newburn in Western Australia.

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Page 5


By Alexandra Bathman

More than happy to stick with Kenworth McNaughts Transport in Finley has purchased four Kenworth T909 models to join the other Kenworth trucks in its fleet. Owner John McNaught said the company had been loyal to the Kenworth brand for many years and the new trucks would replace older Kenworth K104 models that had operated in the company for nine years. The T909 models are iconic to the Kenworth T900 series and have built a solid reputation on the open road and with McNaughts. “We have had the original T900s and as a result the newer models,” John said. Managing driver fatigue is important to the company and John said the T909 models would assist drivers on longer routes. “The wheel base is longer so the driver sits further away from the front axle,” he said. “It gives them an easier vision of the road.” The front axle in the T909 is a Meritor MFS73LA with a rating of 7.2 tonne. The trucks will be used for a number of different loads including bulk fertiliser and rice but mainly bulk grain transport on McNaughts’ main interstate routes from Brisbane to Melbourne, Melbourne to Sydney and Adelaide to Sydney. The four T909s have the Cummins iSXe5 ADR80/03 engine; Kenworth was the first Australian manufacturer to introduce the Page 6 Trucks & trailers, June 2014

Cummins isXe5 engine series in Australia early last year. The release gave Kenworth truck operators another industry-leading choice next to Cummins’ other signature emissions-compliant engines. The McNaughts trucks have been painted with the company’s signature colours, green and white, and Kenworth’s North American influence is reflected inside the cabin.

“The T909 is versatile enough to operate in almost any application, especially where the front axle weight is critical.” Gerard Michel The T909s’ interiors are luxurious with contemporary cream-coloured traditional studded trim. “It has a comforting feel,” John said. “It’s excellent — it has all leather seats.” Another reason he continues to choose the Kenworth brand is because of the service available in the region. “The local spare parts and back-up

service we get is great.” McNaughts Transport purchased the four trucks from Graham Thomson Motors in Shepparton. Graham Thomson Motors general manager Gerard Michel said the Kenworth T909 was a popular choice for businesses that wanted classic styling and a presence on the road. “The T909 is versatile enough to operate in almost any application, especially where the front axle weight is critical,” Mr Michel said. “In the past two years the model has contributed to about 30 per cent of our annual sales.” John McNaught’s son and business accountant Daniel McNaught said the trucks would give the drivers more room inside the cabin. “It’s also the mechanics’ preference as it will be easier to service with the bigger bonnet and radiator,” Daniel said. It’s fair to say all the drivers at McNaughts would have been excited about the business purchasing just one T909 — let alone four; but it will be a lucky few who take them on the road. “It won’t be the luck of the draw when it comes to driving them,” Daniel said. “It will come with the number of years in the business and how well the driver has looked after their truck.”

The driver sits further away from the front axle in Kenworth T909 models.

The interior features cream-coloured trim.


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Engine: Cummins ISXe5 ADR80/03 550 hp at 1800 rpm, 1850 lb ft torque at 1150 rpm Transmission: Eaton RTLO20918B 18-speed overdrive Front axle: Meritor MFS73LA 7.2 tonne rating Rear axles: Meritor RT46–160GP rear axles at 4.10 ratio Wheels: Alcoa Durabrite Brakes: EBSS Level 1 (incorporating ABS + ATC + DTC) Sleeper cab: 50-inch Integrated with aero roof Fuel capacity: 2 x 450 litre fuel tanks, 1 x 300 litre Ad Blue tank

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Page 7


By Alexandra Bathman

Retirement age retreating like a mirage Truck drivers have given a mixed response to the federal budget’s plan to raise the pension eligibility age from 67 to 70 years. Ash Keating, 28, has been working for family business Keating’s Transport for seven years and said physical and mental health were the main concerns for older drivers. He said the pension age did little to help the industry’s driver shortage.

“No young kids want to go into an industry like this knowing they could be in it until they are 70,” Mr Keating said. In 2010 the Australian Trucking Association found the average truck driver age was 43, the average hours worked per week was 47, and almost 20 per cent of drivers would be of retirement age by 2016. “To be honest, I’ll probably still be working for as long as I can like my grandfather who is in his seventies and still working,” Mr Keating said. “But that’s only because of the family business — if it wasn’t for that I know I wouldn’t want to be driving at 70.” Cobram truck driver Garry Plant

drives for Brooks Logistics and said retirement was an individual thing for truck drivers and depended on their health and financial situation. “Some people who are 50 aren’t able to drive but then some people at 70 can,” Mr Plant said. “I’m 64 and have been driving for 46 years. I could keep going quite easily.” According to the Truck Driver Recruitment, Retention and Retirement Research Project, truck drivers close to retirement age had limited retirement plans and most retirements were forced because of poor health. Mr Plant said he considered himself “one of the lucky ones”

because he’d had good work conditions throughout his career and had a self-funded retirement plan. He believed workers affected by the change wouldn’t be worse off with today’s superannuation policies. “Regardless of the industry, you will be well and truly set up.” However, one 60-year-old truck driver from Shepparton, who asked not to be named, told Trucks and Trailers while trucking work was often easy it didn’t come without risks – especially for the older generations. “You’re in charge of a 65 tonne vehicle,” he said. “But at 60, 65, 70 and 80 – we can’t go and do anything else.”


“To be honest, I’ll probably still be working for as long as I can like my grandfather who is in his seventies and still working.” Ash Keating

By Jenna Bishop

Young employees make their mark Most people consider the transport industry as an older person’s game but four young employees are hoping to prove that wrong. The four — two truck drivers, aged 26, and two of the management team, aged 26 and 27 — say there’s plenty of perks in the industry for young people as well as the chance to develop a varied and interesting career. Operations manager Matt Pepperell said it was a change of scenery from a farming background that drew him to the transport industry. “I enjoy every day I go to work, it’s a job I enjoy,” he said. “You’re not just sitting at your desk and you’re not stuck on the same path, there are plenty of options.” Mr Pepperell said he never expected to become part of the company’s management team at such a young age. “It’s definitely not what I expected,” he said. Assistant operations manager Lenny O’Sullivan said he’d been interested in trucks his whole life and a career in the transport industry seemed like the logical option. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do once I’d finished school. I used to wash trucks when I was at school, and when I finished I asked if I could continue working here,” he said. Page 8 Trucks & trailers, June 2014

Mr O’Sullivan then worked his way from a job in the workshop into the company’s office as part of the management team. “We saw the potential in them and brought them into the office,” Kreskas Bros governance, risk and compliance manager Peter Hill said. Mr Hill said the Victorian Transport Association and TAFE had been supportive of the younger industry employees. Both started at the company about six years ago and are now responsible for scheduling drivers, ensuring the company complies with new chain-of-responsibility laws, driver fatigue and mass management. Mr Pepperell has completed a Diploma of Transport and Logistics Management, while Mr O’Sullivan expects to complete the same qualification later this year. Truck drivers Dominic Sorbara and Blair Edward, both 26, are the company’s youngest drivers yet drive its newest trucks. They said it was a reward for looking after their trucks and having pride in the job, and was proof that a driver did not have to wait years into

Matt Pepperell and Lenny O’Sullivan are two of four young employees at Kreskas Bros Transport. their career before they could drive the fancy trucks. Mr Sorbara and Mr Edward said the industry was fantastic to be in as a young person. “You get paid to socialise and drive,” Mr Sorbara said. “I reckon it’s a great job, you’ve got so much freedom.”

Mr Edward said the industry offered the opportunity to meet so many new people. “I’ve got mates spread across the country from the east coast to Adelaide,” he said. He said it also provided challenges. “If you’re in Sydney and away from your company, and you pick

up a load back, you have to make the decisions. You have to figure everything out for load management and distribution across the axles,” he said. For Mr Edward, the work life balance also affords him more quality time at home with his wife and young family.

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Trucking industry identity John Spadaro.

Spadaro Refrigerated Transport’s fleet of trucks worked with many Goulburn Valley orchardists.

Industry dynamo farewelled Shepparton trucking identity John Spadaro has been remembered by his family as a man who constantly challenged himself and pursued his dreams of success. His family recalls a man who relished change, a man who took a simple idea and persevered until it came to fruition. Born in Pachino, Sicily on July 27, 1951 Ignazio (John) Spadaro was the eldest child and only son of Sebastiano and Carmela Spadaro. His father came to Australia to cut sugar

During his more than 40 years in the industry Mr Spadaro started several new businesses — here and in Melbourne — and expanded others, most notably Spadaro Refrigerated Transport which at its peak employed more than 30 staff. Mr Spadaro died suddenly on May 28. He was 62 years old.

Mel’s Catholic Church, Shepparton, in 1975. Of his gift for maths, Tina said her husband never needed to use a calculator — fruit tonnages, fuel mileage, interest rates were all worked out in his head. Not content to grow fruit the newlyweds headed for the bright lights of Melbourne and in the early 1980s Mr Spadaro achieved his goal of being his own boss and bought his first truck — a second-hand semi with flat-top trailer — and targeted largescale companies Brambles and TNT for contract work.

cane, some time later, aged just nine, Mr Spadaro travelled with his mother and two younger sisters, Mary and Josie, to join him. Eventually the family settled in the Goulburn Valley, firstly growing tomatoes and later buying their first orchard at Ardmona. A young John — while gifted at mathematics — only stayed at school until the end of Form 2 when he left to help his parents on the farm. It was while working on the family orchard and socialising with the wider Italian community that Mr Spadaro met Tina Buda. They married in St

He rapidly built a fleet of 25 trucks transporting goods Australia-wide and operating from a Melbourne-based workshop with a refrigerated transport operation in Bundaberg, Queensland. In the early 1990s a new opportunity was presented and Mr Spadaro became a part-owner of JNH Loading Agents, a logistics company. Although this was a new direction for him, boredom with mundane office work soon set in. The lure of again operating his own trucks was too great so he formed another business, JNH Transport and later, MBS Express contracting

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interstate, predominantly for Toll. The MBS fleet was based in Coolaroo, Melbourne, had its own maintenance workshop and peaked at 22 trucks plus sub-contractors. By this time the Spadaros had three children: Sebastian, born in 1977; Anthony, born in 1979; and Carmel, born in 1989. In 1994 Mr Spadaro decided it was time to return to the Goulburn Valley. Sebastian said his father had great respect for fruit growers in the district and wished to renew his ties with them while maintaining his passion for trucks. “Dad bought Shepparton Cold Storage (SCS) in 1998. At the time it ran six or seven trucks,” Sebastian said. In the early 2000s MBS Express was scaled back as SCS — which transported fruit from local orchards to market — boomed. As the business grew it was re-badged Spadaro Refrigerated Transport and moved from its original depot — a disused orchard at Ardmona — to its flagship site on Grahamvale Rd, complete with new Kenworth trucks, local pick-up trucks, forklifts and coolroom storage. Anthony said his father treated the orchardists as friends, not clients. “That’s why he was so successful, he had that personal touch. He was a real people person. He sponsored

By Sharon Wright

so many organisations but not for recognition, he just loved the idea of being involved in the community. That was very important to him,” Anthony said. “He was a great motivator, people came to him for advice and he had time for everyone regardless of who they were.

“That’s why he was so successful, he had that personal touch. He was a real people person. He sponsored so many organisations but not for recognition, he just loved the idea of being involved in the community. That was very important to him.” Anthony Spadaro “And if he had an idea, he had the drive and motivation to see it through.” In 2004 when rising fuel costs and a general industry downturn

forced Mr Spadaro to scale back MBS Express, he commissioned Richie Bros Auctions in Melbourne to sell the majority of his fleet — 77 items in total — including trucks, trailers and equipment. To this day it is one of Richie Bros’ most talked about auctions. Semi-retirement didn’t sit well with Mr Spadaro and he longed to again be involved in the transport industry. So he started again, with three trucks which quickly grew to a fleet of 12. By late 2008 the focus changed to selling surplus equipment which evolved into the current venture, Complete Equipment Sales operated with Sebastian. It was here, Mr Spadaro’s family says, he was in his element, assembling a trusty team of staff to help buy and sell machinery according to his customers’ needs. Mr Spadaro delighted in family gatherings and was the family speechmaker. Whether at an industry function or personal event he was able to speak confidently without notes. Mr Spadaro was a proud Nonno of four grandchildren and was looking forward to walking daughter Carmel down the aisle at her pending marriage in October. Mr Spadaro’s funeral was held at St Mel’s Catholic Church, Shepparton on Wednesday, June 11.


Motoring Matters Group managing editor Chris Mullett presents the 2014 PowerTorque Award for Technology and Innovation to PACCAR Australia managing director Mike Dozier.

Awarded for innovation PACCAR Australia has claimed the PowerTorque Technology and Innovation Award at the 2014 Motoring Matters awards presentation in Melbourne. The Motoring Matters Group is one of Australia’s largest transport industry publishers, with leading titles PowerTorque and Delivery covering light, medium, and heavyduty trucks and trailers, both in magazine and digital formats. Now in their 10th year, the PowerTorque Technology and Innovation Awards seek to recognise the achievements of individuals and companies that push the boundaries of technology and innovation in truck, engine

and driveline development. The 2014 PowerTorque Award for Technology and Innovation recognises the achievement of PACCAR Australia in engineering the application of the PACCAR MX13 engine in the Kenworth T4 Series truck range. The PACCAR MX-13 engine goes into production in Kenworth T4 series models from July, following extensive local testing in a variety of customer applications across the country. Its advanced engineering is designed to deliver outstanding performance, reliability and fuel efficiency, and ultimately a lower cost of ownership.


By Rhiannon Gavalakis

Volvo has the ability to go far in business The reliability, fuel economy and comfort of the Volvo FH, plus its ability to go the extra mile, made it the clear choice for Brian Hicks Transport. The Cobram company also owns Hicks Hunter Transport in Shepparton and recently acquired Mooroopna’s Sitelink Transport’s NSW operation. Newly appointed chief executive Warren Hicks said the company purchased three Volvo FH 540 Globe Trotter XXL models and a standard cabin Volvo FH 540 truck from CMV Truck and Bus, to add to its fleet. “We already had some existing Volvo vehicles and the choice to purchase more was all about the performance and service,” Warren said. “They require less time in the workshop and they have proven to Page 12 Trucks & trailers, June 2014

be reliable trucks which means more time on the road.” He said the fuel efficiency and dependability were the main attractions of the vehicles, with service intervals of 45 000 km, compared to other trucks which require service intervals of 20 000 km to 30 000 km. Warren said MTData tracking also allowed them to track the trucks in real time, monitor engine management and driver performance, plus fuel efficiency. “You can get (an indication) of real-time fuel, revolutions, and how many times the driver has (used) the brakes, and how they are treating the vehicle,” Warren said.

“It comes back to preserving the life of the vehicle and getting the best fuel economy out of it. “It also helps us manage the chain of responsibility such as fatigue management and customer service — if someone asks where their load is, I can tell them.” He said another feature of the truck was an advanced program that could identify the road the truck was travelling on, so it could prepare itself to climb oncoming hills. Warren’s father and managing director of the company Brian Hicks said the four Volvo trucks they purchased were mechanically the same, but there was a difference in the cabin size. “The Globe Trotter is bigger and more spacious than the standard cabin, so it is better for longdistance drivers in particular,” Brian said. “It is their home away from home and we need to look after

our drivers — they are comfortable trucks.” Brian said he recently drove from Melbourne in one of the new trucks, and preferred the trip in the truck, in comparison with his car. “That is how comfortable they are,” he said. The family business has a fleet of 50 trucks and operates in Shepparton, Cobram, surrounding

“The Globe Trotter is bigger and more spacious than the standard cabin, so it is better for longdistance drivers in particular.” Brian Hicks

areas and offers daily return services from Melbourne. It hauls general freight and also has a strong emphasis on produce and fridge work, carting fruit for local farmers to the national markets. The company also travels interstate regularly, predominantly along the eastern seaboard of Australia and to and from South Australia. “We can handle freight anywhere,” Warren said, adding trucks were recently sent to Perth. “We are now offering interstate services from Shepparton, whereas historically we have only done that from Brian Hicks Transport in Cobram.” In addition to on-road services, the company also offers cool room and dry storage. Warren said throughout the next 12 months, the three depots would be combined under the one masthead to unify the business.

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Fleet safety focus aims to help cut road toll Goulburn and Murray valley businesses are being encouraged to share their proven road safety tips as part of a new program launched by the National Transport Commission last month.

Some of Australia’s biggest companies have already joined the National Road Safety Partnerships Program. Pictured are business representatives at the launch.

The National Road Safety Partnership Program’s aim is to reduce injury and fatality rates related to road accidents Australia-wide. National Transport Commission chief executive Paul Retter said major companies including Coca-Cola Amatil and Telstra had already signed on to the initiative and hoped more companies would follow their lead. “Experts predict that road crashes will kill or injure 170 000 Australians over the next five years, and work-related road crashes account for almost half of all Australian workplace deaths,”

Mr Retter said. He said because almost half the new vehicles sold in Australia were purchased by fleets, this program had the potential to cut the national road toll. “If businesses share ways of keeping their employees safe on the road there is no doubt they can have a significant impact on our road toll,” Mr Retter said. “There is no point keeping any road safety successes secret. “Instead of governments bringing in more red tape to keep employees safe,

this program gets the same outcomes just by sharing success stories.” He said the program encouraged employers to share their best practice road safety programs that had been proven to work, so other organisations could implement similar practices. “Following the success of seatbelts and speed cameras, road safety experts are now looking for the next big thing to reduce our road toll,” Mr Retter said. The Australian Road Research Board is now hosting the program. For more information go to

“If businesses share ways of keeping their employees safe on the road there is no doubt they can have a significant impact on our road toll.” Paul Retter



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Magnet Attracting good drivers is easy when you’re giving them a great truck to drive. Volvo trucks feature state of the art cabs that provide drivers with the safest and most comfortable working environment on the road. Volvo’s I-Shift gear change technology means they’re also easier to drive (and easier on your pocket as they’re more fuel efficient). Experienced drivers will arrive at journey’s end feeling fresher and more relaxed. New recruits won’t put your fleet through unnecessary wear and tear. No wonder Volvo trucks pull in more drivers. For more information from your local Volvo Trucks dealer, please call John McHale on 0417 441 461 or visit CMV at 326 Boundary Rd, Laverton. Ph: 03 9916 000. The Volvo FH16 700 is the most powerful truck we’ve ever built. Its massive 700hp engine develops 3150 Nm (2323 ft lb) of torque, has outstanding fuel economy and reliability, market leading 45,000km service intervals and sets the benchmark for long haul operations. Of course, being a Volvo, it’s loaded with state-of-the-art safety features that encourage responsible driving, including Lane Gemini Crs, Shepparton Ph: (03) 5831 2201 Mobile: 0409 344 778

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With the end of the financial year fast approaching, Shepparton firm Brown Baldwin Accountants has contributed the following advice for transport operators. Many transport operators face an ever-growing challenge of remaining profitable in the competitive road transport industry. Operators are faced with an industry where competitor saturation has led to prices shrinking for services offered, increased wage costs, increased fuel prices and increasing overheads. The average rate of return in the transport industry is seven per cent of income generated. Therefore if you do not know or understand your business’ cost drivers and the slim margins, it is easy to lose money quickly. There are many cost drivers in the road transport industry, but the key costs to be aware of are wages,

on-costs and fuel costs. Gross wages and on-costs are significant costs of operating for the transport industry because they represent an estimated 30 to 35 per cent of operational expenditure. Unfortunately for many transport operators they are almost a fixed operating cost as the number of trucks and trailers in a fleet will dictate how many drivers are needed. However, the key to the management of wages is to be aware of what you are required to pay a driver either under the award or potentially under an enterprise agreement. Many operators do not understand this and are still paying drivers with outdated award rates or potentially

under-paying drivers in regards to superannuation, allowances and so on. This can be financially disastrous for your business. The key is to ensure you understand your obligations to employees and ensure you are paying them appropriately while not causing yourself financial stress. Operators need to increase driver productivity through effective route planning in suitable time slots that can maximise equipment utilisation. Another key cost in the transport industry is fuel; it accounts for about 30 to 40 per cent of your business operating expenditure, depending on the business configuration. As all in the transport industry are aware, the cost of fuel appears to continuously increase while the entitlement to fuel tax credits decreases. Operators need to find better ways to minimise fuel use per kilometre. This can be through better driver education (and also sharing in the savings with the drivers), efficient route planning, tyre choices and also

selecting fuel-efficient trucks. If an operator can get fuel savings of 10 per cent per truck it adds up to a significant sum for a fleet of trucks. For example if a truck is currently averaging 1.8 km/litre but can achieve an extra 0.2 km/litre after fuel-saving practices, a truck averaging 2.0 km/ litre over 200 000 km at a fuel price of $1.50 per litre can save the operator $16 600 per truck per year. Also, many operators need to maximise potential fuel tax credits that their business is entitled to. If you operate equipment powered by the truck’s main engine or a separate engine unit, there is a potential back claim for a period of up to four years and ongoing claims to be made by your business that could be worth thousands of dollars per truck. The critical key to success is to understand and manage these costs, because for every one per cent saved you are increasing the profit margin and long-term sustainability of your business.

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Show brings shine to the industry The fourth Melbourne International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show (ITTES) beat its record of attendance for the fourth consecutive time. Almost 40 000 exhibitors, trade and public visitors attended the event held from April 3 to 6. The show is the largest free exhibition dedicated to transport in the Southern Hemisphere and is held every two years. Show director Clint Hendry said the figure was a six per cent jump from 2012 and pre-registrations had jumped by 83 per cent. “We have also seen the fourth consecutive increase in exhibit numbers this year – proving that we continue to build a great tradition here in Melbourne,” Mr Hendry said. An ITTES survey found the development of the show’s moving displays and live product demonstrations were a hit and the opportunity to watch the equipment live helped buyers make purchasing decisions on the spot. Additionally, Mr Hendry said the show’s inaugural Show and Shine competition was a success and had ITTES organisers inundated with

applications for the next competition in 2016. Competition organiser Chris Smith said the event was a “very big positive” and its range of customised working trucks and project trucks had crowds excited. Three out of the six category winners were from Victoria. Andrea Crawford took the prize for the best interior with her 2010 Peterbilt 388 “Miss Liberty Bells”; Laurie Read’s International Load Star “Big ZZZ” was named the best custom truck; and Anthony Latorre won the people’s choice and `best under 10’ awards for his K200 “Mean Green Machine”. Mr Hendry said the show demonstrated the industry’s confidence was slowly improving. “Our survey is showing increased industry confidence backed up by solid orders taken at the show from all segments — truck manufacturers, trailer manufacturers and component suppliers, which is arguably the most important outcome,” Mr Hendry.

The International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show proved confidence in the industry is slowly rising.

The winner of the first Show & Shine competition was an ’87 Mack Superliner 2 from Queensland.

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By Rhiannon Gavalakis

Show pulls a record crowd

Motor enthusiasts converged on the usually quiet country town of Alexandra during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

A record number of wheels rolled into the 18th Alexandra Truck, Ute and Rod Show the Sunday of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. More than 150 trucks, 75 utes and 40 hot rods turned the town’s usually quaint Grant St into a truck and motor enthusiast’s heaven.

One of trucks that attracted special attention in Alexandra.

Page 18 Trucks & trailers, June 2014

Show committee member Andrew Embling said the show attracted its biggest crowd ever. “Because we don’t charge it’s hard to give an exact number but it would have been about 12 to 14000 people,” Mr Embling said. The annual Show and Shine competition was the main event with the Best Truck of the Show trophy awarded to Anthony Latorre from Hoppers Crossing for his 2013 Kenworth K200. Mr Embling said the woodchopping competition and the Red Bull and Caltex racing car replica were other people-pleasers along with the side-show alleys that had something for everyone. “We had 35 axe men in the workshop and the crowds were always four to five people deep,” Mr Embling said.

Away from the roaring engines and splitting wood, a constant stream of people visited the Victorian Truck Driver Memorial that officially opened the day before at the town’s Rotary Park. “The opening of the memorial was very special and truck drivers came and paid their respects,” Mr Embling said. He said the show had become the busiest day of trade for local businesses and the biggest fundraiser for more than a dozen local community groups. “The CWA (Country Women’s Association) offers hot soup every year and it’s become a tradition for many people who make sure they come and get their soup,” Mr Embling said. “The industry says we run the best show in Victoria, and we will keep going for many more years.”

Entrants prepare for the Show and Shine competition.

Keeping their memories alive Retired Cobram truck driver Ronald Campbell knows all too well the heartache of losing a loved one. At the permanent Truck Drivers’ Memorial in Alexandra, his son Malcolm Campbell’s name will appear on a plaque alongside the names of 70 others who have lost their lives in road accidents. Mr Campbell said Malcolm became an apprentice truck driver at the age of 14, assisting the driver in all areas of the job including tying ropes on the load. But in 1978 when he was only 17, Malcolm was on his way home from a football match at Barooga when he was hit by a car and died. “You live through it but it impacted heavily (on us); sometimes I do think, ‘How did we get through?’” Mr Campbell said. He said the memorial site in Alexandra would acknowledge the grief of families who had lost loved ones in transport-related accidents, and would also be a landmark for them to visit. “It is a place to visit, to go and see. I have been to the memorial in Tarcutta, but it is great to have this so close,” Mr Campbell said. “It will get me to go over to Alexandra or if I’m travelling past I’ll stop in and have a look — I think it will be that way for a lot of people.” Family members also had the opportunity to place sentimental items in a time capsule at the unveiling of the memorial, and a photo of Malcolm along with a letter from his eldest sister was placed in a canister. “His eldest sister wrote a great letter about how she felt about

Malcolm for the capsule, and there were things I didn’t even know – they were very close,” Mr Campbell said. “Malcom was a great kid and a happy fellow; I know where he is — he is here with me every day of the year.”

“It will get me to go over to Alexandra or if I’m travelling past I’ll stop in and have a look — I think it will be that way for a lot of people.” Malcolm Campbell

Mr Campbell said he went to the memorial unveiling at the Alexandra Truck, Ute and Rod Show in his restored 1965 700 Ford truck. Creative Ministries Network spokeswoman Bette Phillips organised an inaugural service for families who had lost loved ones in transport-related accidents last year, and 250 people attended. “From that we decided to build the memorial,” Ms Phillips said. “In a way the wall almost becomes an extension of the cemetery — being able to visit it is fantastic for the families, it is a way of being able to help them with their grief.”


By Alexandra Bathman

Memorial officially launched The Victorian Truck Drivers Memorial was officially opened in Alexandra on Saturday, June 7, as a permanent place of remembrance honouring truck drivers who lost their lives on the road. The inaugural Victorian memorial was unveiled in front of a crowd of more than 500 people ahead of the Alexandra Truck, Ute and Rod Show held the following day. The emotional service honoured more than 70 past Victorian truck drivers and created a time capsule that will be opened in 20 years’ time. Show committee member Andrew Embling said the memorial was special to the small country town and to the industry that was like a family. “For us, it was a dream and that dream came true at the Rotary Park in Alexandra,” Mr Embling said. He said to make the dream a reality, funds and materials worth up to $48 000 were donated by a number of organisations, more than 500 hours of man-power was volunteered and the local community offered ongoing support. Creative Ministries workplace and family grief support co-ordinator Bette Phillips thought of the idea in 2012 when

Friends and families came to honour their loved ones during the truck memorial’s opening ceremony.

she had 28 truck driver clients. “Often the place of an accident would be interstate and so there would usually be nowhere to go to express grief,” Mrs Phillips said. She said it was overwhelming looking into the crowd, and the ceremony was personal for those whose loved ones were honoured. “I met someone who had lost their loved one in the ’80s, and to finally have them recognised was a great source of healing,” Mrs Phillips said. National Road Transport Hall of Fame chief executive officer Liz Martin also attended the event and said it was important for people to gather somewhere tangible for events such as birthdays and anniversaries. “A lot of Victorians would go to the Australian Truck Drivers Memorial in New South Wales but that can be expensive for young families so it’s (the Alexandra memorial) really good for Victoria.”

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If you have the freight and the destination, we will get it there.




Toxic toads turn up in Perth Nine cane toads hitched a ride to Perth from Western Australia’s far north by hiding amid a consignment of mango plants on Monday, May 26. The toxic pests were euthanased after being found at a freight company’s Perth depot, having travelled from Kununurra. Western Australia’s Department of Parks and Wildlife officers retrieved seven live and two dead cane toads from a Toll Express truck, as well as six northern green tree frogs and two unidentified native frogs. Wildlife officer Teagan Johnston said it was the largest number of cane toads to reach Perth in a single incident. “There were male and female toads hidden within the plants and if they had escaped from the truck and found a water source, it is possible

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Drivers pick up unusual passengers The chances of nine cane toads sneaking onto a truck load in Victoria are slim, but perhaps more unlikely is the chance of a hitchhiking peacock or elephant. Following the discovery of nine cane toads on an interstate truck in Western Australia in May, Trucks & Trailers asked some northern Victoria and southern NSW operators for tales about unusual passengers. We discovered that a peacock was lucky to keep all of its feathers after a 60 km trip on top of a load of pallets with Saldam Transport, Lemnos, two years ago. “It belonged to a neighbour and so we often saw it floating around in the yard,” Saldam Transport director Shane Muir said. “But he was fine and we bought him back.” Meanwhile, Brooks Logistics at Barooga, which provides bulk transportation, once delivered more than its typical load of grain when called on to make a roadside rescue. “We brought two elephants from Moree to Melbourne when a circus truck broke down about 15 years ago,” director David Brooks said. If you asked Ken Keating from Keating’s Transport in Shepparton why the chicken crossed the road, the answer may just be, “To catch the tram.” Mr Keating recalls six chickens escaping

By Alexandra Bathman

Nine cane toads hid in mango plants to smuggle themselves across Western Australia. they may have begun breeding,” she said. Ms Johnston said the freight company had been vigilant in spotting the noxious creatures and sealed the truck until wildlife officers could arrive to conduct a thorough search. Cane toads are deadly to many native animals and have invaded the state’s north and established breeding populations. Ms Johnston urged people travelling from places where the pests were known to live to check their vehicles and equipment carefully for hitchhiking toads. “They can hide in small spaces so inspect your vehicles, luggage, pallets, camping gear and caravans,” she said. Any sightings of cane toads within Victoria should be reported to the DEPI customer service centre by phoning 136 186.

Are we there yet? This peacock took a 60 km road trip on top of a Saldam Transport load.

from his load in Flemington more than 50 years ago and taking a ride on a passing tram. “Every Friday night me and my brother Ray would transport chooks from Bendigo to Melbourne,” Mr Keating said. “One trip we stopped at the lights on Mt Alexander Rd next to a tram. When the tram took off before us  — the trucks were a lot slower those days — we noticed six chooks had escaped onto the tram’s roof as it moved towards Elizabeth St.” Another truck driver from Cobram, Gary Plant, told Trucks & Trailers about a snake that escaped death on the open road. He said he had seen the snake on his approach on the highway but it disappeared from view on his check in the rear-vision mirror. “I thought he must have slithered away,” Mr Plant said. “It wasn’t until about 150 km later when I stopped at a servo to get fuel that I heard someone screaming. “I took a look and there was a bloody big snake crawling out from the wheel — he must have got tangled up,” he said. To share your story of unusual passengers with Trucks and Trailers, phone Alexandra Bathman on 5820 3162.


By Sharon Wright

An environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative Goulburn Valley business Gouge Linen and Garment Service is powering part of its truck fleet with environmentally-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG). “Many of our linen contracts are for three to five years so it’s relatively easy to determine a fixed fuel cost component,” Mr Priestly said. He said an added bonus was the knowledge that researchers had determined CNG burned cleanly and more efficiently than diesel. Isuzu Australia’s product strategy chief engineer Simon Humphries said CNG technology had been widely used across the globe for decades and was gaining popularity in Australia.

“When we started looking into CNG the numbers really stacked up. The higher the kilometres driven the greater the payback. Trucks travelling between 400 and 500 km/ day are right in the sweet spot for the greatest savings.”

This CNG-powered truck delivers linen to motels, hospitals and restaurants around Victoria. It’s a cost-effective clean alternative to diesel says Gouge’s Rob Priestly.

Rob Priestly

“Isuzu has sold about 100 units in Australia in the past decade and as far as I know they are all still on the road, they are extremely reliable,” Mr Humphries said. “CNG burns very clean, to a Euro VI standard or better, whereas diesel is burning to a Euro V standard.” He said CNG was made by compressing natural gas to less than one per cent of its volume when at standard atmospheric pressure.

Refueling the CNG-powered trucks at Gouge Linen and Garment Service. The company estimates fuel costs are down 15 per cent.

Gouge Linen and Garment Service director Rob Priestly with the unit that compresses natural gas into CNG for use in four delivery trucks.


The business has installed compression units at its Mooroopna site to compress the natural gas used to power the laundry facility into a cost-effective source of fuel for almost a quarter of its truck fleet. Director Rob Priestly said fuel cost savings of 15 per cent could be achieved in the first five years of a truck’s life and increased substantially after that. Starting out with one dedicated CNG truck seven years ago the company now has four Isuzu units in its fleet of 18 trucks used to deliver linen to motels, hospitals and restaurants across Victoria. “When we started looking into CNG the numbers really stacked up. The higher the kilometres driven the greater the payback. Trucks travelling between 400 and 500 km/day are right in the sweet spot for the greatest savings,” Mr Priestly said. “The initial capital outlay is substantial; the trucks with dedicated CNG engines are more expensive and then there is the cost of establishing the compression units. “But the raw energy costs of CNG are much cheaper. A cubic metre of gas at 25 to 30 cents gives around the same power as a litre of diesel at $1.50. “Once we’ve factored our capital costs and conversion costs we estimate we are saving 15 per cent on fuel costs in the first five years of our capital recovery phase.” The stable pricing of natural gas — which, unlike diesel and LPG, is available on long-term fixed pricing schedules — gives the business a distinct advantage when negotiating new contracts.

Trucks & trailers, June 2014

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By Sharon Wright

Motor passion leads to employment Heavy automotive apprentice Ihsan Tanrikulu is forging a career in an area he has long held a passion for — tinkering with engines. From the time he was a youngster growing up on a Tatura tomato farm, Ihsan, now 19, has spent his spare time pulling motors apart and learning how they work. Persistence paid off when, after completing work experience and working casually while still at school, Ihsan was offered an apprenticeship at HM Transport Maintenance in Shepparton. “I love working here, I have had so many opportunities. I’ve been able to do major jobs on trucks, not just routine servicing. “It’s challenging, sometimes you really surprise yourself being able to work out what the problem is or what has caused the truck to break down,’’ he said.

Page 22 Trucks & trailers, June 2014

“I’ve been lucky, I have been shown the right way to do things.” Ihsan attends Goulburn Ovens TAFE one day a week to further hone the skills he has learned in the workshop. “I didn’t realise there would be so much reading at TAFE but it’s something I have to get used to. Trucks are changing all the time and the guys here (at HM Transport Maintenance) are always reading about the new technology,” Ihsan said. When he’s not working or studying at TAFE you can probably find Ihsan at home finetuning his car or one of his four motorbikes.

Second-year apprentice Ihsan Tanrikulu loves his job; tinkering with engines has been a life-long interest.


Regulator boss named

Informative industry forum The latest issues affecting the transport industry were explained to a crowd of 60 trucking representatives who attended a breakfast forum at The Parklake in Shepparton on May 7. Victorian Transport Association industry services manager Brad Close said the Shepparton forum was part of a regional round of sessions held throughout Victoria. “Industry briefings from the three enforcement agencies, VicRoads,

WorkSafe and Victoria Police, were informative and prompted participants to ask questions at the conclusion,” Mr Close said. “Participants were very keen to hear about the new Road Safety Remuneration Orders which came into force on May 1 and how they would relate to their businesses. “These forums are held regularly as new issues arise. The main focus was

TRUCKS and trailers

The Australian Trucking Association has welcomed the appointment of Sal Petroccitto as the new chief executive of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. ATA chief executive Stuart St Clair said Mr Petroccitto came to the role with a detailed knowledge of heavy vehicle regulation. “Mr Petroccitto is currently Queensland’s representative on the NHVR Project Implementation Board, so he’s well across the issues facing the regulator,” Mr St Clair said. “The ATA supports the NHVR, because we believe it will increase the industry’s productivity and safety over time. “Mr Petroccitto will need, however, to focus on getting the NHVR’s systems right, and particularly the way it manages heavy vehicle permits. “The ATA looks forward to working with Mr Petroccitto in his new role,” Mr St Clair said.

to explain some of the new clauses so operators had a clearer understanding,” Mr Close said. Other topics dealt with included heavy vehicle enforcement plans for 2014, truck roll-overs and superannuation. Staff from Murray Goulburn’s transport division at Rochester attended the forum, and a spokesperson said the new remuneration laws had streamlined the process of completing paperwork.

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Trucks and Trailers June 2014  
Trucks and Trailers June 2014  

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