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
The news in the world of trucks this week includes Truck Sales Taking Off, Flynn Liquidation, Isuzu Bullbars, Groeneveld Takeover and a Penske Expansion.
The latest sales figures released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC) suggest an optimistic trucking industry is starting to invest in more new trucks at the heavier end of the market. Although the light- and medium-duty markets have been relatively strong in recent years, the heavy-duty segment has been less dynamic. Read more
Two top women working in and with the trucking industry were celebrated as part of the Women in Industry Award awarded with around 250 guests nominees, finalists and winners attending a gala presentation dinner in Melbourne.
The fourth annual awards night, hosted by The Project’s Gorgi Coghlan, recognised the achievements of women working within the commercial road transport, logistics, mining, engineering and manufacturing industries, and aims to raise the profile of women within industry, as well as promote and encourage excellence.
Among the award winners were:
Excellence in Road Transport, sponsored by NatRoad, went to Pam McMillan, Chair, Transport Women Australia.
Social Leader of the Year, sponsored by COG Advertising, was awarded to Beverly Williams, Industry Pathways and Placement Coordinator – Automotive Centre of Excellence, Bendigo Kangan Institute.
Winner of the Excellence in Engineering category, sponsored by Cummins, was Philippa Craft, Product Manager – Bulk Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen, Helium, BOC Limited.
“We would like to congratulate all attendees and finalists for joining us at this year’s Women in Industry Awards,” said event organiser, Lauren Winterbottom. “It was amazing to celebrate and promote the achievements of so many women in industry, and we hope to see you all next year.”
The fourth edition of the awards was complemented by the inaugural Women In Industry Conference, which took place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre earlier that day.
‘’NatRoad are proud to sponsor the Women in Industry awards to show our support for increasing and recognising diversity across industry. I would like to congratulate Pam McMillan, Chair, Transport Women Australia on winning the Excellence in Road Transport category,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO.
Pam has been involved in road transport for most of her life and was invited to join the board of Transport Women Australia in 2000. She was the Transport Women representative on the Council of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) for seven years, is a JP, and has also been on the board of, and administrator for, the Australian Truck Drivers Memorial since 2005.
Pam was the winner of the National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year in 1999 and, along with husband Doug, was inducted to the Road Transport Hall of Fame at Alice Springs in 2005. She was a joint winner of the NatRoad 2013 Ted Pickering Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to The Road Freight Industry and their company was also the winner of the Global/NatRoad Awards for Excellence in 1998.
Beverly has worked for Bendigo Kangan Institute for approximately 25 years and her career highlights include working with youth and disengaged youth to support their educational outcomes, welfare referrals and transition to employment, working with industry to support student placements and transition to employment opportunities (including apprenticeships, traineeships and other job roles), providing excellence in customer service internally and externally, and ensuring streamlined and efficient campus administration co-ordination and practices were maintained.
This week, on Diesel News, we are talking all about the Linfox Reshuffle, NHVR Deal, Uber and Autonomous Trucks.
Linfox has announced the promotion of five executives to key leadership positions. Greg Thomas has been appointed as CEO of the Linfox International Group, Kylie Fraser has moved to be Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) President, Matt Sheridan is now CEO at BevChain, Mark Mazurek has become COO at Linfox Australia and New Zealand and Ian Strachan has been appointed as President Linfox Intermodal (formerly Linehaul).
“These changes will ensure Linfox continues its strong growth and is well positioned to adapt to the evolving needs of our customers,” said Peter Fox, Executive Chairman Linfox. “I am delighted to appoint these well-deserving, talented individuals to key leadership positions in our business. It is wonderful to see all these roles being filled by internal candidates.”
The NHVR has signed an agreement with South Australia’s peak local government body to improve productivity and safety across the state’s heavy vehicle industry. NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said this agreement with the Local Government Association of South Australia included an action plan that would deliver specific outcomes for the heavy vehicle industry.
“More than 150 million tonnes of freight is moved by road annually in South Australia and it’s important that it’s done safely and productively,” said Petroccitto. “I’m pleased to be working with the LGA SA and the 68 member councils across the state to improve the permit system and information available at the local level and make sure the heavy vehicle industry is meeting their expectations.”
No Blame Investigations
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has called for independent, no-blame, safety investigations into road crashes involving heavy or autonomous vehicles, in its submission to the House of Representatives standing committee inquiry into the social issues relating to land-based driverless vehicles in Australia.
The introduction of increasing levels of automated driving technologies and fully autonomous vehicles will require reforms to safety investigations of road crashes involving heavy or autonomous vehicles. Presently, road crashes are investigated by police and/or the coronial system. According to the ATA, this system is not suitable for investigating crashes with complex or multiple causes.
Reports from the US media tell us Uber took on personnel from a Chicago transportation brokerage last year aiming to make a move into the US trucking industry. The team from 4Front Logistics came on board at Uber as specialists in connecting manufacturers and retailers in order to streamline shipping costs.
Uber seems to be attempting to utilise logistics expertise from its ride sharing operation across to road transport. That strategy puts it in the middle of a large, highly fragmented industry of freight brokers who match cargo with truck operators.
There is news about Farmers, the Chain, New Roads, Accident Rates and Truck Wash Funding in this week’s Diesel News.
The NHVR is delivering a number of information sessions across the country to discuss amendments to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws due in mid-2018.
A series of these sessions will run at next month’s Brisbane Truck Show, taking place on Thursday 25 May at 1.30pm, Friday 26 May at midday and 2.30pm, Saturday 27 May at 11am and 3pm. No RSVP is required and attendance is free for truck show patrons.
There are also more regional CoR sessions recently added to the schedule. The first took place in Shepparton, Victoria, on 3 May and next they will take place in Albury, NSW, on 4 May, Blacktown on 10 May and Newcastle on 11 May. For dates and locations of all NHVR CoR information sessions visit the NHVR website.
ALC and Farmers
Representatives of both the Australian Logistics Council and the National Farmers’ Federation met in Sydney recently to discuss the critical infrastructure challenges facing Australia over the next generation.
“This meeting allowed ALC and the NFF to explore the key infrastructure issues involved in getting produce from the farm into our cities and ports,” said Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director. “We know Australian households want to purchase the freshest possible produce when they do their shopping. We also know that Australia’s high-quality agricultural produce represents an enormous export opportunity. However, industry can only meet the expectations of domestic and international consumers if we have a safe and efficient supply chain.”
Fixing Country Roads
Upper Hunter Shire Council and Liverpool Plains Council are set to receive more than $5.57 million in funding under the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Roads program. The funding will complement funding previously pledged by the Australian Government and both councils to upgrade Main Road 358 between Merriwa and Willow tree. The improvements are set to save 50km of travel for 4,000 trucks per year.
Mackay Ring Road
The Mackay Ring Road is planned to be built between Stockroute Road, Bald Hill Road and the Bruce Highway intersection in Queensland, Australia. The project is being undertaken by the governments of Queensland and Australia in three phases.
Construction work on the $565m project is scheduled to commence in mid-2017, and expected to be completed by early 2020.
The Transport Workers’ Union is calling for urgent action to address the alarming increase in deaths among transport workers. Figures from Safe Work Australia show an increase in deaths among transport workers.
Almost 40 per cent of all workplace deaths involved transport workers, with 19 transport worker deaths out of a total of 51 workplace deaths.
“The Federal Government bears responsibility for this increase in deaths,” said National Assistant Secretary Michael Kaine. “In recent years transport employers and the wealthy supermarkets and manufacturers were on notice that there was a system of scrutiny monitoring safety and holding them to account. A year ago, the Government tore down this independent tribunal.”
Receiving $600,000 in funding, a new wash-out facility at Tenterfield will provide livestock operators improved opportunity to mitigate bio-security issues and will relieve operators of the burden of travelling an additional 100km to access the next available truck wash at Glen Innes.
According to the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, regional truck washes are critical facilities used by livestock transporters servicing regional industries. A lack of available and adequate wash out facilities on key freight routes can have serious negative outcomes on the meat and livestock sector and an unhealthy impact on local communities.
This week in Diesel News we are concentrating on PBS, Cummins/Eaton, Young Drivers and Truck Sales as well as a new face at Isuzu.
The Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) has announced a partnership with Advantia Transport Consulting to deliver Performance Based Standards (PBS) training. The ‘master class’ is aimed to fill a void for engineers, management and sales staff of truck, trailer and body manufacturers and dealers, as well as operators of PBS vehicles.
Rob Di Cristoforo founded Advantia Transport Consulting in 2008 to work with the road transport industry and government agencies to improve heavy vehicle productivity and safety outcomes.
“There has been a lack of practical, usable, real-world information available regarding the PBS scheme,” said Di Cristoforo. ”We have designed this one-day course to help manufacturers, dealers and end-users understand what can be achieved, and how to go about it. The masterclass will provide detailed insights into the opportunities offered by the PBS scheme.
“We’ll then walk participants through the process of getting vehicles from concept onto the road, achieving great productivity benefits.”
The Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) announced Drew Cannon as the 2017 winner of the LBRCA Young Driver Award. The award in its third year and sponsored by SafeWork NSW, recognises outstanding young drivers under 35 who demonstrate a best practice approach to driving and safety. The major prize is a $5,000 study tour to the USA.
Drew will soon be on his way to various livestock centres across the USA to gain an understanding of international livestock transport and handling practices.
“Drew is a worthy recipient of this award”, said Lynley Miners, LBRCA President. “Hailing from Tamworth NSW and operating predominantly road trains across the country for his employer Stockmaster, Drew is a true role model for the regional transport industry. Drew is described as a quiet achiever but his dedication and passion to the industry is loud and clear”.
Cummins/Eaton Joint Venture
In the US, Eaton and Cummins have announced an agreement to form a joint venture for automated transmissions for heavy-duty and medium-duty commercial vehicles. The joint venture will be named Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies.
The joint venture will design, assemble, sell and support all future medium-duty and heavy-duty automated transmissions for the commercial vehicle market. Cummins and Eaton will each own 50 per cent of the new joint venture. Under the terms of the agreement, Eaton will receive US$600 million in cash from Cummins for 50 per cent interest in the joint venture.
“Customers are focused on powertrain solutions that provide the best combination of technology, performance and quality,” said Craig Arnold, Eaton Chairman and CEO. “Our joint venture with Cummins will leverage the technical strengths and experience of two industry leaders with long histories and deep industry expertise to provide superior automated transmission technology for our global customers.”
New Fleet Sales Manager
Isuzu has announced the appointment of Steven Goulding as it’s new National Fleet Sales Manager. Goulding joined Isuzu earlier this year, bringing with him over 20 years’ management experience in the automotive and capital equipment hire industries.
His most recent role was as General Manager of Jet Vac Equipment, where he spent three years managing major customer portfolios and overseeing the sale of hydro evacuation equipment imported from America. He fills the gap left when Les Spaltman, who served as National Fleet Sales Manager for three years, was appointed Isuzu’s National Sales Manager last year.
The first two months of calendar year 2017 saw boom sales in January followed by a crash in February, however March results were far more consistent and in line with expectations and at the end of quarter one the new truck market looks in quite good shape, according to the Truck Industry Council.
First quarter sales are the best that have seen for almost a decade. Year-to-date a total of 7,158 trucks and vans have been delivered in Australia, this is an increase of 383 units over this time last year, a 5.7 per cent increase. In fact one must rewind to 2008 where 8,267 trucks were sold in January through to March to find a better start to the year (compared to 2017, the 2008 result was a substantial 13.4 per cent better). Looking just at the month of March 2017 in isolation, 2,962 vehicles were sold, an increase of 293 trucks (11.0 per cent) over March 2016.