The move from a long career using road trains in the Northern Territory to the relatively civilised Gold Coast and much smaller combination has meant a lot of differences in culture and operation for Spud Murphy.
Logichaul is a transport company based at Yatala on Brisbane’s south side that uses a variety of vehicles including semis and 19-metre B-doubles to deliver masonry and other palletised building materials in Queensland and New South Wales.
Last year the company added five UD Quon prime movers to its fleet, and according to Brian ‘Spud’ Murphy, National Fleet and Logistics Manager at Logichaul, the Quons are proving to be an ideal prime mover for this medium-distance haulage operation.
Spud should know, considering he’s a 35-year industry veteran, with a good part of this spent managing a fleet of road train fuel tankers in the Northern Territory, home to some of the harshest operating environments in the country.
While the best prime mover for hauling ‘trains’ in the Territory is pretty much at the other end of the spectrum to what’s required for carting bricks around Brisbane, Spud’s long experience gives him the ability to discern the best vehicle for a given task, whatever that task may entail.
He started his career in the mid-1980s as an apprentice diesel mechanic with Detroit Diesel at a time when the 6V71, 8V71 and 8V92 two-stroke Detroit Diesels were popular choices in the heavy-duty scene.
Then in the latter years of the ‘80s the revolutionary Detroit Diesel Series 60 four-stroke engine – the first heavy-duty diesel to incorporate electronic fuel injection and engine management – burst onto the scene. For Spud, this helped add another dimension to his mechanical expertise.
“Since then I’ve been involved in the trucking industry in various roles, most recently as Fleet Manager for fuel haulage company Direct Haul in the Northern Territory, a position I held for 11 years,” says Spud.
Some three years ago Spud made a significant ‘sea change’, moving from Darwin where he was born and raised to Brisbane where he joined Logichaul, a company that specialises in the delivery of palletised and general construction materials including bricks, blocks, pavers, pylons, sleepers and sand in Queensland and New South Wales.
Asked about the transition from his previous role in Darwin to his current role in Brisbane, Spud says that while a lot of things are surprisingly similar, the biggest difference by a country mile is the drivers.
“I came from the road train space with old-school drivers who come to work with a lunch box in one hand and a small toolbox in the other,” explains Spud. “Here in the ‘big smoke’ the drivers come to work with a small lunchbox, if that, and many of them have very little comprehension of the basic workings of a truck from front to back, and often the care factor just isn’t there. That’s by far the biggest difference that stands out to me.”