The Trucking Twitterverse Unveiled

Growing Your Fleet

Once you start a transport business, and if it goes well, the big dilemma soon appears about growing your fleet. Operating from western Sydney, Barry Garousse and his partner Lisa run Garousse Refrigerated, a successful small fleet hauling an eclectic mix of freight.

Growing Your Fleet

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Barry hadn’t deliberately planned to become a small fleet operator but as time progressed opportunities came up which enabled him to grow the business. For instance, once he had two semis working for Primo he decided to buy another trailer as a spare in case of a breakdown.

“I went to an auction with a plan to buy a trailer and walked away with two,” he grins. “Then I thought ‘what the hell am I going to do with the extra one’.”

He needn’t have worried though, not long after a call came from HNL, a refrigerated transport company that had taken over the IGA supermarket cartage contract at Silverwater. The upshot was Barry was contracted to supply two semis to do local and NSW country deliveries for IGA. This gave him the opportunity to realise what he describes as a highlight of his life, buying a brand new Kenworth T402.

“It was a real buzz to sit in the dealership with the salesman at the computer and actually design the truck that I wanted,” Barry enthuses. “You had the multiple questions: What air cleaners do you want?; What windscreen?; What interior?; How many gauges?; Do you want dual exhausts?; What chassis colour?; Do you want the flare kit?; What type of bull bar? 

“It’s such a good feeling when you actually get to choose and decide exactly how your truck comes off the production line. Going down to the factory at Bayswater to see how the Kenworths are put together was an amazing experience too. I took my brother-in-law and cousin so the three of us toured the factory and my cousin came with me in the new T402 when I drove it back to Sydney.”

The other truck he bought for the job was a new Isuzu Giga and while the work for IGA was consistent and formed an integral part of Garousse Refrigerated’s repertoire for some time, a massive jump in fuel prices post GFC rendered the job unviable.

“When I started there the price of fuel was $1.17 a litre and in a short period it went up to $1.80 which basically took away our profit margin for the work,” Barry explains. “So we had to make the difficult decision to sell the two trucks and downsize. HNL ended up buying the trucks and I still see the T402 running around today and think to myself ‘that’s my truck’.”

True to form, the downsizing didn’t last long as Barry soon spotted an opportunity to diversify into something completely different, bulk cement haulage.

“We ended up buying the Mack Super-Liner and started towing for Independent Cement in 2011. It was only nine months old with 90,000 km on the clock when we bought it – still like new. The trailer is a Kockums.”

Barry says the driver of the Mack, Bradley Kochel, who has been with him for five years, is one of the best drivers he’s employed. The truck is loaded out of Port Kembla and serves a variety of clients within NSW. It covers between 2500 and 3000 km weekly.

“Maximum payload with this work is critical so we have the truck on HML with the IAP which allows us to gross 46 tonnes on selected routes,” Barry adds.

In the meantime, Garousse Refrigerated continues to grow, working for new customers and picking up additional work opportunities, Barry says. “I love what I do and would not have it any other way.”

Everything is on a Big Scale in the Pilbara

Everything is on a Big Scale in the Pilbara

Everything is on a big scale in the Pilbara for the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, the distances involved are huge and the tonnages needing to be moved are enormous. Even though much of the iron ore arrives at the port on rail transport and the gas is piped out to the ships offshore, there is still a massive amount of freight needing to be moved by road, just to service the mining infrastructure and workforce working here.

Everything is on a Big Scale in the Pilbara

The madness of the construction phase for these enormous iron and gas installations has passed, but Karratha is still a very busy town. Much of its business is busy developing the capability to service the needs of the resources industry projects now running in the region.

One of the businesses involved in this service industry is Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, whose striking pink trucks are instantly noticed by other road users out on the highways of the Pilbara and on the roads down and back to Perth.

The trucks themselves are part of an initiative by Volvo Trucks to tackle the problems of driver supply and retention in the Australian trucking industry. The donation of two trucks, a Volvo FH 16 and a Mack Superliner, was announced earlier this year, at the ITTES in Melbourne by Volvo Group Australia President, Peter Voorhoeve, as part of his campaign to improve the lot of truck drivers and get proper training and qualifications up, in the industry.

The donation of the trucks was in recognition of the great work being done by Heather Jones in Karratha. She has been a lone voice in the Pilbara wilderness for a number of years. however, with Volvo’s involvement, it seems someone is finally listening to her ideas and interested in her methods.

Everything is on a Big Scale in the Pilbara

I have been really drowning for the last sixteen years, trying to do this by myself,” says Heather. “No matter what you say, they agree it’s a good idea, but let you do it yourself. With Volvo on board now, I am very excited. I love safety and I love safe trucks. These are easy trucks to teach in, so it’s a good match for me.”

The heart of the philosophy is in evidence when Diesel News visited Heather and her team at the PHHG headquarters in Karratha. These are working trucks and the task at hand is running two triples out to a large gas installation site and removing the garbage a small town of 7,500 souls generates.

The difference is, the drivers of these trucks and the way the job is handled. At any one time there can be trainees working on the job. The first stage sees them observe, sitting in the passenger seat and learning how the job is done properly. The next stage is to handle the simpler tasks with an experienced driver at their side helping out and checking everything is done right and the final stage involves the driver tackling the complete task, on their own to an extent, but monitored to ensure safety and efficiency.

It’s as simple as that, just a matter of giving someone with the license to drive a truck the skill set to actually do the job properly and be a useful member of the trucking community. The principle here is, you have got your license, now you need to learn how to be a truck driver.

Pure Pulling Power

Pure Pulling Power

Diesel News is not quite sure what is going on here, but this Mack is reckoned to be showing “Pure Pulling Power”. Here we have a 1972 Mack Truck, which appears to be performing a wheelie with a load of logs. This Mack has a two stick Spicer 5×4 transmission and a V8 Detroit engine. You don’t have to look at the images, just close the eyes and listen the engine roar.


Here we have something similar, with a heavy haulage unit losing it a bit near the top of the grade as the front wheels leave the ground:


In this example from Sweden, what is going is perhaps a little easier to work out. The load is obviously, heavy and the truck does have pulling power, but there may be a little bit of trickery going on here. The prime mover almost certainly has a sliding turntable, they are very common in Europe. It’s difficult to see any detail on the wheel hubs as they pass by, but it would a good bet the rear axle on the prime mover is a lifting tag. After a bit of practice it would probably be possible to time the pressing of axle lift button to coincide with the power coming in as the accelerator is pressed. Then, hey Presto! A B-double doing wheelies:


this is probably the nearest we can fu=ind to real wheelies in a truck. Theirs is what happens in Canada, where the crazy French Canadians are into drag racing fully loaded B-double trucks. The lifting steer axles are showing us the real thing, ‘Pure Pulling Power’!

McAleese rising, Toll Flying, Robots, Parts Apps and DME

McAleese rising, Toll Flying, Robots, Parts Apps and DME

This week’s news sees McAleese rising, Toll Flying, Robots, Parts Apps and DME making the headlines around the world.

McAleese rising, Toll Flying, Robot Delivery, Parts Apps and DME

Rising from the ashes of the demise of McAleese, a new company is being headed by former McAleese CEO, Mark Rowsthorn. To be called Rivet, the new entity sees what’s left of McAleese emerge from administration.

One section of the business, Rivet Mining Services, is to be a provider of bulk haulage and ancillary onsite services to mining companies in Australia. The company’s website says the business currently operates across Australia’s key resource regions in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Rivet Energy is set to be a distributor of liquid fuels, LPG and other petroleum products across Australia. The division provides services to global oil and gas companies.

McAleese rising, Toll Flying, Robots, Parts Apps and DME

Toll Group has launched the Toll Rescue Helicopter Service in partnership with NSW Ambulance to provide greater aeromedical services to communities of NSW in the Southern Zone. Patient rescue, retrieval and treatment services are now operating from the new Toll & NSW Ambulance Rescue Helicopter Base in Sydney

The Toll & NSW Ambulance Rescue Helicopter fleet is made up of eight new purpose-built Agusta Westland 139 helicopters, assisting NSW Ambulance helicopter doctors and paramedics to reach patients in remote areas, faster than ever before.

This contact forms part of the NSW Government’s new $151.2 million state-wide Helicopter Retrieval Network. Mark Delany, General Manager Toll Helicopters, said this contract represents the start of a long-term partnership to deliver world class aeromedical and rescue services to NSW.

“The communities of NSW and ACT can be assured that they have the safest and most capable aviation operation supporting their ambulance care,” said Delany. “We have extensive experience in helicopter services, and our pilots and aircrew are some of the most highly experienced and trained aviation professionals in the country.”

McAleese rising, Toll Flying, Robots, Parts Apps and DME

Mercedes-Benz Vans has invested in Starship Technologies, a start-up company for the development of ground-based, autonomous delivery robots. The concept combines the advantages of a van with those of an autonomous delivery robot.

A Mercedes Benz Sprinter serves as a mobile loading and transport hub for eight robots. The mothership concept is the first outcome of a research and development cooperation between Mercedes-Benz Vans and Starship Technologies that began in 2016. Through its financial commitment to Starship Technologies, Mercedes-Benz Vans is now reinforcing this strategic, long-term collaboration.

“The robot can only travel short distances under its own power and until now has had to return to the warehouse to be reloaded after each delivery,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “On the one hand, the introduction of the van as a mobile hub widens the operational radius of the robots significantly, while also rendering superfluous the cost-intensive construction and operation of decentralised warehouses.”



ZF has introduced a new Part Finder smartphone and tablet app. It includes the specifications of parts from ZF Aftermarket’s product brands of SACHS, Lemförder and TRW, with content structured for fast navigation.

Customers can search for replacement parts by various means, including entering the reference code specific to the spare part or by entering the vehicle’s identification number (VIN). It is also possible to find the necessary parts via a list of vehicle manufacturers.

“As with all ZF Aftermarket activities, it is important for us to create a solution that improves service and optimises daily business for our global aftermarket customers,” said Neil Fryer, Chief Commercial Officer of ZF Aftermarket. “Our new parts app enables ZF’s global aftermarket customers instant mobile access to details of the market-specific premium spare parts they need.”

In New York, a Mack truck is part of the first commercial test of a Dimethyl Ether (DME) in North America. For diesel engines, the advantage of DME is the high cetane number of 55, compared to that of diesel, which is 40 to 53. Only moderate modifications are needed to convert a diesel engine to burn dimethyl ether.

“We believe DME shows great promise,” said Dennis Slagle, President of Mack Trucks North America. “DME is a liquid fuel that doesn’t require refrigeration or high-pressure compression. It can be produced from a number of feedstocks including natural gas, coal and renewable sources such as paper, wood, agricultural and animal waste; biofuel crops such as soybeans, sugarcane and corn, and even from municipal waste, an attractive idea for the New York sanitation department.”


Looking for a Positive Future

Looking for a Positive Future

If you are looking for positive future for the trucking industry in Australia, it has to come from the young people involved at the ground level.

It was great to meet a young man with a very smart truck who retains some of the values which have made the trucking industry what it is today, alongside an enthusiasm for the industry and desire to do the right thing. Add to that a damn fine truck with a stunning paint finish, albeit on a rainy day in Adelaide.

Looking for a Positive Future

The white truck standing in the yard is clearly different. At first glance, it’s a white truck with some blue stripes pulling a pair of tipper trailers with some nifty graphics down the side. These are proclaiming the product the Patersons Bulk Transport spends most of its time carrying, Cooke Plains Gypsum.

However, the eye does get drawn back to the Mack Superliner, there is something about the look of the truck, it seems to glow or shimmer. Approaching it, the quality of the paint finish becomes clear, the depth of the colour and shine. Around sunset the white is said to take on a blue hue by its proud operator, Sam Paterson.

When Diesel spoke to him, Sam had been driving the truck for two months and just settling into it. “Me and Dad really love our trucks,” said Sam. “The old man’s got a Southern Cross, so we fight for front spot in the shed, I like mine and he likes his.”

The conversation always returns to Sam’s gleaming white Mack Superliner. “I only drive the truck five or six months of the year, so it’s not like I am going to clock up massive kms, no-one else will drive it.”

Looking for a Positive Future

Apart from the paint job, the truck has a number of innovative features. One is the inside mounting for the adblue tanks. They sit around the drive shaft to enable a bigger fuel capacity for some of the longer runs. This is a feature seen in the Volvo product and adapted across into Mack models where fuel capacity can be critical. Sam’s truck has a fuel capacity over 1800 litres as a result.

The filler cap for the adblue tank emerges behind the fuel tank and it has been hidden by a hinged part of the walkway over the tanks leaving the cap hidden under one of the steps. It is so well concealed, Sam has managed to convince truck stop busy bodies his truck doesn’t use adblue.

Here’s a young man with his head screwed on and with a good looking truck to boot. He is looking to the future, seeing how the business can keep up with the competition and develop further.

Three of the Best from Instagram

In three of the best from Instagram Diesel News finds some Australian beauties on Instagram and showcases the art of the photographer.

Classy looking Mack Superliner. Fire’er up!

#mackaustralia #superliner #macktruck #Mack #staunch #truckphotography #truck #cool #aitkenphotography

A photo posted by Aitkenphotography (@warrenaitken) on

Here’s professional looking shot of some of the Scuzzy fleet in Brisbane.

Scuzzy, Daimler Trucks Brisbane and Rocklea Truck Electrical helping out Hummingbird House

A photo posted by Australian Custom Trucks (@australian_custom_trucks) on

A working truck hauling a road train.

Some #HTC phone photography lol #roadtrain #kenworthtrucks #truck #kenworth #aitkenphotography

A photo posted by Aitkenphotography (@warrenaitken) on

Issues Facing Many in the Trucking Industry

Issues Facing Many in the Trucking Industry

Looking at a small fleet, we get a microcosm of the issues facing many in the trucking industry today. Paterson Bulk Transport, based in Tailem Bend in South Australia is one such operation who have talked to Diesel about how they are travelling.

Issues Facing Many in the Trucking Industry

The Paterson family actually own the Cooke Plains Gypsum mine where the product the tippers transport is extracted. However, the tippers don’t just haul gypsum. They can also be found following seasonal work around, carting grain and grapes at various times. There are also regular general freight or bulk runs from Adelaide to Darwin, Melbourne and to Tasmania.

The company runs twelve trucks, and all of them are expected to handle a bit of every kind of freight depending on the time of year and work load. As a result the company runs over 50 trailers. Like many rural operators the cyclical nature of a lot of the work means the equipment needed is multiplied to keep wheels turning. The fleet is evenly divided with six Macks and six Kenworths on the road.

Grain season tends to be through November and December in this area. After that, the farming industry turns to preparing the land and the gypsum work picks up and keeps the fleet busy. By the time it gets around to March, the grape harvest sees the flattops concentrating in the wine growing areas. Patersons have side tipping bins which are designed to flip over the gantries at the wineries.

The trucks in the PBT fleet run all over Australia. Two of the trucks stick to curtainsider work between Adelaide and Melbourne, handling general freight. Some of the freight is Patersons’ own while other work is as a subcontractor.

“We don’t muck around with tankers and we don’t muck around with stock but we do everything else,” said Sam Paterson, third generation truckie and son of the current owner. “We’ve managed to get our own work everywhere, in our local area, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney.

“We always have our own work going out to places, but I never have any trouble getting a return load. I am a big believer in not trying to cut in on other people’s work, interstate. If you can work with them, you are better off working with them and getting a load home, than trying to create too much of your own work interstate and getting cut out all together.

“I work a lot with other family businesses. If they’re down our way, I’ll load them back and then, if I’m up their way, I’ll get them to load our trucks back. It’s a network of similar businesses to ours. It’s quite rewarding, the networking side of it, the different people you meet.”

Patersons have 10 employees in the team, plus Sam and his parents. B-doubles handle most of the work, but the Darwin run is done by road trains. Sam’s father, Preston, can be found handling the Adelaide Darwin run most of the time. Meanwhile, Sam stays close to home, when he can, and keeps an eye the business and the fleet.

“We do a lot of general freight up to Darwin, either as a double or a triple, then we have to do a dog run up to Port Augusta,”said Sam. “We also run machinery up there, oversize loads and stuff like that. we’ve got extendable trailers, two drop decks and two flattops. We’re probably top heavy on equipment, but it means we are ready to go anytime.

“I just do a little bit of everything now. I organise all of the trucks and then, when we are busy, I jump in one myself.”


Cummins, Uber and Volkswagen/International

Cummins, Uber and Volkswagen/International

News this week from Cummins, Uber and Volkswagen/International is interesting, as is a couple of announcements from Mack Trucks and another SuperTruck.


Reports in the US trucking press talk about a joint press conference in Hannover with Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus and Navistar CEO Troy Clarke. The discussion was about synergies possible since VW took a 16 per cent stake in the Chicago based truck maker.


Cummins, Uber and Volkswagen/International
Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus


“We are looking forward to a successful alliance,” Renschler is reported as saying. “Navistar needs what we can offer, including engines, transmissions and axles.”


From the International point of view, Clarke was quoted as saying, “We are excited to have found a partner that looks at the future the way we do and with whom we have a high degree of alignment. We have a common vision of the industry and its issues. That we can do it better together makes it a perfect fit.”


Uber is flexing its muscles in the freight space in the US after buying self-driving truck startup Otto. Some reports talk of Uber plotting its entry into the long haul trucking business, working as a freight transporter and a technology partner for trucking.


With 15 trucks in development now, the company expects to be running freight on the roads with autonomous trucks in 2017. Reuters report shippers stating Uber had already approached them about hauling goods.


Here in Australia, Mack Trucks is taking the precautionary measure of recalling 295 trucks due a potential incorrectly specified driveshaft. Mack says it is fully committed to safety and continual product enhancements, and is recalling these trucks as a precautionary measure, as in the unlikely event of a driveshaft failure, pieces may fall onto the road.

The driveshaft in question is being recalled on a limited number of Mack Granite, Trident, Super-Liners and Titans manufactured between 17 January 2012 and 29 September 2015. This recall does not apply to all Mack Granite, Trident, Super-Liner and Titan trucks manufactured during this time, only the limited number fitted with the driveshaft in question.


Mack Trucks Australia has already started contacting all impacted customers in writing, in accordance with its commitment to customer service and its legal obligations. Work to rectify the impacted vehicles has already commenced, and replacement parts have been despatched to dealerships. Customers are encouraged to contact their local dealer or authorised workshop to arrange a time for their vehicle to be inspected at their earliest convenience.


On another note, a Mack Granite cab chassis has been donated to TAFE Queensland SkillsTech, to be used as a training tool for the future generation of heavy-vehicle workshop technicians.


“Volvo Group Australia’s generous donation of this truck enables SkillsTech to provide the best possible training for our apprentices,” said Mary Campbell, General Manager of TAFE Queensland SkillsTech. “On behalf of TAFE Queensland SkillsTech, I would like to thank Volvo Group Australia for investing in the future of the heavy vehicle industry, and I’m confident our apprentices will make great employees, thanks to your support.”


At the IAA Show in Hannover, Cummins  revealed the next generation X Series for heavy-duty truck applications with 15 litre and 12 litre displacements to meet Euro 6 and equivalent emissions standards as they become globally adopted from 2019 onward.


According to Cummins, a worldwide shift to low emissions standards takes effect in 2019-20, introducing regulations similar to Euro 6 in countries including China nationwide, India, Mexico, Brazil and Australia. With a global manufacturing, technical and service footprint, Cummins reckons it is ideally placed to support OEM domestic and export business.


Navistar’s SuperTruck was unveiled in the uS, with a claimed fuel efficiency of 13 miles per gallon (5.5 km/l), and achieving 50.3 per cent Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) and a possibilities to get to 55 per cent BTE.


The CatalIST, the International SuperTruck, uses an adapted version of the Navistar N13 engine. The cab and bonnet mounted mirrors are replaced with a series of cameras and interior-mounted monitors. There is also an all-new shape with a sloped windshield and wedged cab for improved aerodynamics. Aerodynamic improvements in the trailer reduce the drag coefficient by more than 30 per cent.


Getting the Wheel End Right

Bulk Operators Looking For Growth

The good rainfall in many rural areas combined with continuing new house building will see bulk operators looking for growth and bulk trailers builders under pressure. Diesel News talked to one small operator in South Australia.


Bulk transport is a highly specialised industry, while also covering a number of different customer groups from large multinational corporations to small farmers in remote areas. The industry is dominated by the small mum and dad operations around Australia. One such operation is based in Tailem Bend in SA.


Bulk Operators Looking For Growth


“We’re probably lucky, because we started with the gypsum and that’s our bread and butter,” said Sam Paterson, from Paterson Bulk Transport. “We use a couple of subbies to haul gypsum and then we have others who buy the gypsum direct and pick it up themselves. We are shifting around 80,000 tonnes per year leaving the mine.


“Once upon a time, there wasn’t the need for backloading, we got paid a two way rate for one load. Now, it’s a competitive market and you’ve got to try and work both ways and make it pay. Instead of the gypsum and transport running hand-in-hand, we now run Cooke Plains Gypsum as a mine and the transport company as a transport company. You can’t rely on each other to make it work and not get too complacent.


“We take gypsum Australia wide. Predominantly, in the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane regions as well as over to Tasmania on the boat. We used to do a lot up to the Territory, but not so much these days. Then there’s a lot of work locally. We deliver to farmers, landscape yards everyone who has got anything to do with agricultural industry. We have got customers who we cart our gypsum to  and then we cart their grain, fertiliser and wool.


“Back, years ago, when I was a kid, we used to run flattop tipping convertibles and then we would take gypsum to Sydney and load general freight back out. It worked both ways, because you couldn’t get a back load for a tipper. That’s how we started doing general freight. Now, we have got into curtainsiders and the business goes in two different directions. Convertibles are a thing of the past, a lot of the customers won’t use them.”


The Patersons operation has one truck which runs on Performance Based Standards. It’s a Mack Trident with a quad dog set-up which allows it to run on general access routes at 57 tonnes. Running at 19 metres long, it is possible to get a 38.5 tonnes payload on it, not much less than is possible on the B-doubles in the fleet. All of which runs on HML, with the drivers working within the BFM system.


“The bigger PBS tipper and dog combinations with five or six axle dogs don’t necessarily suit what we do,” says Sam. “We have split loads and you can only so much on the trailer. Somer places we go to your have to split to get in, so you can’t the long dog trailers in there. It’s different horses for different courses.”


Read a full version of this story and many others in the next edition of Diesel.