Unlike all of the first world trucking industries, Australia has no prospect of seeing government cutting carbon in trucking. In fact, the Australian Federal Government has delayed the introduction of ADR 80/04 to the point where it is about to become irrelevant.
The results are in and the two people representing the small fleet truckies on the Australian Trucking Association’s General Council have been named and congratulated accordingly. The winners of the 2019 ATA election were Frank Black(Arcidiaco) from Albert Park in South Australia and Angela Welsh from Blaxland East in NSW.
Perennial trucking industry advocate and campaigner, Rod Hannifey, is behind an initiative to get a National Truck Rest Area Strategy now. According to Rod there is no time to lose as the provision of rest areas deteriorates rather than improves.
The WA Freight and Logistics Symposium looked at the problems and possible solutions for trucking in Western Australia. The state’s freight industry faces similar problems to those we face all over Australia, Diesel News went along to see how different it is in WA.
It looks pretty certain that at the end of 2018 the Australian truck market will be breaking truck sales records all over the place. These numbers suggest the Australian economy is stronger than it feels for many working people, but confirmed by consistent economic growth results.
A report from ANZ analysts sees Aussie trucking on the up with positive figures reflecting an upturn in the fortunes of the industry. The ANZ research found ‘a noteworthy’ increase in revenue and margins for the trucking businesses surveyed and this is leading to increased capital expenditure.
The Truck Industry Council has been campaigning for some time to change the rules around dirty old trucks. With the average age of trucks in Australia at over 14 years, and increasing, the truck manufacturer’s lobbying organisation and its President, Phil Taylor, Isuzu CEO, wants the government to disincentivise the owners of trucks sold before emission control rules came into existence.
The June truck sales figures are in for the Truck Industry Council T-Mark survey and it confirms we are in the middle of a booming truck market. The numbers have been rising all year but now we can examine the half year and see just where the numbers are heading.
The Australian Trucking Association has made a call for review of the national trucking laws to enable the trucking industry to avoid keep freight moving. According to Ben Maguire, ATA CEO, an independent, agile and wide-ranging review of Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is needed urgently and must gain the support of transport ministers. Read more
The boom continues with record April truck sales reported by the Truck Industry Council. Strong demand, especially in the heavy duty sector of the Australian truck market. The strong demand has seen the the result for April 2018 was an all-time sales record for the month, eclipsing the previous best April mark set back in 2008, just before Australia was hit by the effects of the Global Financial Crisis. Read more
Among those winning top industry awards at the recent Trucking Australia 2018 event were Ross Fraser, Frances Ross and Boral Driver, Barry Fitzgerald.
Are we in the middle of a trucking boom? The rocketing figures released this week for the first quarter of 2018 would suggest there is plenty of confidence out there and trucks are walking off the show room floor at a fair clip. Read more
Looking at truck sales figures is a way of keeping a finger on the pulse of trucking. The figures put out by the Truck Industry Council every month give us a broad brush picture, with truck sales broken down into brands and market segment (although the heavy duty section does cover everything from a 6×2 22.5 tonne GVM delivery rigid to a tridrive capable of pulling over 200 tonnes GCM).
Looking at these sales going up and down month-on-month is probably not a very good way of seeing a picture of what is going on in trucking. Big orders come though and skew the figures, truck brands may have a supply bottleneck.
However, looking at the number historically can be quite illuminating. Over the years, the figures reflect changing attitudes of truck buyers and their perception of how well business is going. There are also structural changes in the industry which are evidenced by changes in the numbers of truck sold in segments and brands.
So what do the latest numbers, which sum up 2017, tell us about what’s going on? Well, number one, trucking isn’t doing too badly. There is optimism out there and this is reflected in improved sales across the board.
“The final tally was the best result for new truck sales since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), but fell shy of the 2007 Australian market peak of 38,131 sales by 1,306, or approximately 3.5 per cent lower,” said a statement from the TIC. “While a new overall market record was not set last year, a number of long standing records were broken.
“December 2017 saw record monthly sales in both the Light Duty Truck and Van segments, with both segments also logging record fourth quarter (October to December) sales. When added to strong performances throughout 2017, the record fourth quarter results saw these two segments break existing sales records for all previous calendar years.”
Within these figures are some other indications of what is going on. Looking at the figures from 2009, when truck sales were well and truly in the post-GFC doldrums, every brand was scraping the bottom.
Since then, a change has happened in the structure of the heavy duty market. Yes, Kenworth are still there at number one and had a great second half of 2017, when the new T610 models came on strong to support the, always strong, K200. In the rest of the market we are seeing a falling away of some North American prime movers and the rise and rise of the European prime mover.
Kenworth’s rise since 2009 has been strong, but Volvo’s has been stronger. There has also been a strong rise for Scania, even breaking the 1000 truck barrier in 2017. Mercedes Benz have also joined the party with strong sale of the new Actros, and the older run-out Actros, in the past couple of years. There are more and more new European cabovers coming into the fleet.
Looking for a cause of this change can be difficult. Is it due to included safety systems? Is there a generational change in trucking companies and a move away from the US conventional? Is fuel consumption finally being taken seriously? You can mount an argument for all of the above.
One thing which has not changed is Isuzu in the number one slot. Isuzu has topped truck sales numbers for the 29th successive year in 2017. The numbers do not lie and the Japanese brand has strengthened its position in every segment in recent years. The result in heavy duty looks particularly strong. This can probably be put down, to a large extent, to strong sales of the 8×4 product Isuzu introduced a couple of years ago.
We can make one prediction about this next year’s figures. Isuzu will be making a lot of noise this time next year when they celebrate 30 years at number one. The company has dominated the truck market for a long time and doesn’t look like letting its grip slip any time soon!
By Paul Matthei
The cost of buying new trucks cannot always be justified in today’s tight economic climate. As such, some operators are realising the merit in giving their existing units a second life. Diesel Workshop recently spent some time at ReCoat Smash Repairs, a company that specialises in rejuvenating tired, old vehicles.
In the modern business world, where ‘near enough is good enough’ seems to be an all-too-common ethos in the quest to make the most capital return from minimal input, it’s refreshing to discover a company that has been built on the foundation of providing its customers first-rate results with no shortcuts.
ReCoat Smash Repairs was established in 2001 by Tony and Anita Valta, with the business originally operating from their home near Wodonga on the NSW/Victoria border. A 30 plus year veteran in the smash-repair industry, having commenced a panel beating and spray painting apprenticeship at the age of 16, Tony says his motivation for starting the business came from a passion for classic cars and trucks that had its origins back in his childhood. He could see there was a growing demand for this type of work and wanted to use the skills he’d gleaned from 15 years in the industry to fill this need.
“The smash repair industry has changed a lot over the last few decades,” he says. “In the earlier days, panel beating was something of an artform and you’d have time to do the job properly. These days, with insurance companies on your back to get the work done as quickly as possible, there’s not the same time available. It’s a matter of getting the job done and out the door, pronto.
“But people who restore older vehicles generally appreciate the old-fashioned service and don’t mind if it takes a bit longer, as long as the end result is first rate.”
It stands to reason that anyone putting up the considerable amount of time, effort and dollars required to restore a vehicle would want nothing but the best from the business chosen to do the work.
Tony and Anita’s fledgling business steadily grew as the word got out, with more and more customers flocking to their door. By the end of the first decade it was becoming clear that much larger, purpose-built premises were desperately needed. There was also the small matter of the local council becoming increasingly uneasy with the Valta’s booming business being run in a suburban backyard.
Therefore, the decision was made to take the business to the next level – or two or three – with a large block of land purchased at Baranduda, an industrial suburb on the southern outskirts of Wodonga.
The year was 2012 and now the business finally had the space it needed – a 1,200sqm building was duly erected incorporating an expansive workshop, a truck spray booth measuring nine metres long, five metres high and five metres wide, a car spray booth and a chassis cleaning area/wash bay, with generous office space and amenities rooms at the front.
While all of this was being constructed, Tony was busy finding out about the best equipment and practices to incorporate into the business to produce optimum results for customers. For instance, he was convinced that using dipping tanks for immersing vehicle bodies and panels to remove all traces of paint, body filler, sound deadener and surface rust was the best way to prepare these components for a rebuild. As he explains, bead or soda blasting can only remove material that is external and accessible whereas with chemical dipping the solution permeates every nook and cranny to produce a completely stripped bare–metal result inside and out.
Contrary to what many believe, the solution is not acidic but alkaline, and utmost care is taken to ensure every trace is flushed from the components by high-pressure water blasting, followed by a stint in the ‘warm room’, which evaporates all the moisture away to prevent corrosion. Then, surfaces are buffed before the parts are coated with a clear etch primer to keep them pristine until the main primer is applied.
In total, three dipping tanks were installed, with each holding a different chemical solution for various stages of the stripping process, catering to both steel and aluminium components. At the other end of the procedure, ReCoat uses PPG Deltron paint and refinishing products, a company widely regarded as a global leader in this field.
Relating specifically to the truck side of the business, the company has a selection of equipment including scaffolding and scissor lifts to ensure employees can safely and comfortably work at the lofty heights required when working on trucks such as the Dawson’s Haulage K104 Aerodyne featured in this story.
Speaking of employees, ReCoat currently has a staff of 10, including two taking care of administrative duties and the remainder comprising highly skilled and qualified panel beaters and spray painters, able to turn their hands to any type of vehicle from the largest prime mover to the smallest car. Critically, they are also well versed in repairs to fibreglass and plastic components, which are often found on modern vehicles, including trucks.
As some of the finishing touches such as customised sign writing and vinyl wrapping, chrome plating and stainless steel decoration need to be outsourced, ReCoat relies on a network of like-minded local subcontractors who specialise in these fields and come highly recommended. It goes without saying that these finishing touches are an integral part of the exceptionally high standard of workmanship that goes into every job.
The list of clients who have used ReCoat’s services includes Twin City Trucks, Hartwigs Trucks, Dawson’s Haulage, Churchill Transport, Green Freight and Bolts Engineering.
Asked about his take on the future of the business, Tony is typically upbeat, saying he expects the workload to steadily increase as more people realise the value in the quality restoration of older vehicles both for business and private use.
“We have the know-how and facility here to grow with the market as time goes on,” he explains. “With the support of our team of dedicated staff, I’m confident we’ll be ready and able to handle whatever work comes our way in the future.”
The week in trucking has seen truck sales up, natural gas and a courier acquisition all in Diesel News.
In October the Truck Industry Council figures show the heavy duty truck segment continue to forge ahead, leading the continued recovery of the heavy vehicle market in Australia. The total market, truck and van, was up 13.8 per cent for the month of October, while year-to-date heavy vehicle sales are tracking 10.2 percent higher than this time in 2016. All market segments, except light duty, posted gains over the corresponding month last year. Overall the month was the second best on strength.
Kenworth continue to dominate at number one in heavy duty with the current production of 15 trucks a day netting 266 sales in October. Volvo, Isuzu and Mack also sold well over 100 vehicles for the month.
The news from Diesel this week shows evidence of a new Scania, trucking optimism, a major fine and electric axles, with stories from around the world.
Images of the next generation Scania driving on Australian roads have started to appear on social media, as the Swedish truck maker run the new models in a, far from secret, evaluation program.
The latest from Diesel News this week includes a Linfox Appointment, VW/Navistar, Tesla, TMC, Hydrogen Trucks and a New Scania Team, plus 3D Printing and Strong Truck Sales.
Terry Quinnell has been appointed Linfox President – Retail after 40 years’ experience in the logistics industry. Quinnell began his career as a Linfox driver in 1978, and has managed some of Linfox’s largest customers as Vice President – Retail, plus spent nine years as General Manager – Woolworths. He recently led the development and implementation of Linfox’s new subcontractor management system FOXLink. Read more
Sometimes we are too close to our own industry – we need a new perspective on trucking. In its submission to the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has come up with an interesting comparison. It is looking at the freight industry from the consumer’s point of view, in the same way as it perceives the energy industry. Read more
Diesel News looks at the trucking world on Instagram and finds some talented sharp shooters looking to show the trucking industry at its best.
This is great shot, taken at night of one of th V8 Supercars teams transporter at Willowbank Raceway in Queensland. Read more