There is a balance to be found for GLW Freight, based in the Perth suburb of Forrestdale, in in the city’s southwest where many of the transport operations of Western Australia are based, with its easy access to the roads to the east looking at interstate vs intrastate.
All of the work the fleet handles in the east/west segment is functioning as a two up system. This way of working does give plenty in efficiency, but can be problematic when trying to get the right driver for the right truck with the right partner. The way the two-up system works for GLW means each driver gets two and a half days at home in Perth each week.
The age profile of drivers in the fleet is relatively high, as it is becoming more generally in the trucking industry. When Graeme refers to his younger drivers, he’s talking about drivers around 45 years old. These drivers tend to work in the local container fleet, while the older drivers tend to be those working on the east/west runs.
The majority of the long-distance freight being hauled by GLW is as part of contracts for a couple of major customers. If there is any spare capacity to fill, it is often on the west to east leg of the journey, as the major customers keep the east to west trailers generally full.
Most of the time, two of the trucks are on the Melbourne run, two on the Sydney run and another two are based in Brisbane, running between there and Albury/Wodonga.
“The operation in Brisbane works, I’ve got a good guy over there,” says Graeme Woodall, GLW Director. “He organises the other driver. They’re the best drivers I’ve got, I never hear from them and I never see them. We’re in the throes of putting another one on, who will just run between Brisbane and Sydney.
“I don’t really want to run these remote operations, but when you’re asked to do it and you’ve got a good driver that you know and, you know they can do it, it’s possible. If we didn’t have the right driver, we wouldn’t do it. We been very, very lucky with the drivers we’ve got over there. One of them has been with us for nine years and the other one for five years, and they have never had a day off.”
This means Graeme and the operation’s Financial Officer, Andrew Lange, are experiencing the two sides of trucking in Australia when working interstate vs intrastate. One part of the operation is running entirely within the Western Australian trucking regulations and another part of the business is running entirely under the Eastern states’ rules, and their National Heavy Vehicle Regulator-based regulations. To keep abreast of the latest industry issues, the business is a member of the Western Road Federation and NatRoad.
The fleet is covered by the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme and the drivers all work under basic fatigue management. The combination of two-up driving and BFM for the east/west runners works well and there are very few issues. The long distance team also includes a husband and wife two-up team.
“They are very good,” says Graeme. “If you climb into the truck, it’s like it is brand-new.
All of the trucks in the fleet apart from the few Volvos are Kenworth K200s, with just Kenworth T909 working on a long-term ammonium nitrate contract into the Pilbara. When specifying a new truck Graeme usually gets them rated at around 90 tonnes GCM, which can be extended up to 106 tonnes, if and when required.