Keeping Track of Tippers

In a busy operations office, it’s difficult keeping track of tippers. Tippers run grain from the farmer’s paddock into grain storage at harvest time, and haul grain out of storage facilities to the ports, or wherever it is bound, for the rest of the year.

“We started in trucks back in 1998,” says Peter Parslow, Castlemac Traders (CMT) Operations Manager and Freight Coordinator. “CMT was formed as the transport division of Agrigrain. They are a seed business and grain trader, so we needed trucks to cart our own seed. We had had some people cart some seed for us and it had got contaminated.

“We are in Trucksafe, the drivers have to do a daily check and we use a tracking system as well,” says Peter. “We’ve been in the scheme since 2001, we used to do a bit of Incitec work and they require Trucksafe accreditation. We were also doing a lot of organic grain and human consumption grain, so we are better off being squeaky clean.

“We have one person full time keeping up with compliance. We are on BFM (basic fatigue management) and don’t need to go to AFM (advanced fatigue management). We do run to Brisbane and Melbourne, but I’ve had three or four drivers pulled up when the Task Force is on, and they have asked our guys why they have BFM. They are not using all of their hours, as it is.

“The thing is, it is just handy. I run a policy that drivers are home Friday night, so they have a happy home life. If you have a happy wife, you have a happy driver. Very seldom do we have a driver caught away over a weekend. Most drivers start the week on Sunday.”

The company has a strict ‘one man, one truck’ policy, with each driver getting a new truck and keeping throughout its life before it is moved on after five or six years, just around the one-million-kilometres point.

“We’ve had three accidents and none of them have been the driver’s fault,” says Peter. “One of our long-term drivers cried for three days after a car came across the median strip and pushed another car up onto the truck.

“Our youngest driver is 49. These guys are all going to retire and I don’t know how to get younger drivers.

“I had a driver retire and then I had a young bloke come in,” says Peter. “He told me he had done this and that. He told me he used to do 7,000km a week, so I told him to hold on and said I was about to terminate the interview. He asked why and I told him no man can do 7,000km a week and do it legally. Needless to say, he didn’t get a job.”

Peter has also been involved in the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) in New South Wales since 2003 and now serves on its Grain Committee and its Executive Committee.