Meet a KW Oldie - Guy Knowles Palmeston North

Guy Knowles is the owner of Guy Knowles Transport ltd.

Kenny: Hey Guy, how long have you owned Kenworths?

Guy: Hey Kenny. I’ve owned Kenworths for over 18 year or so now but I have loved them since I was a kid, that would be before you were even on the assembly line.

Kenny: Why do you love Kenworths so much?

Guy: That’s easy, they are simply the best.

Keeping the Kenworth K200 dry and ready
Looking Stunning with a fantastic livery

Q & A with a Truckie

Blake puts the questions to truck driver Laryn Heath.

Q: What age did you start driving trucks?
A: 25.

Q: How long have you been driving for?
A: 11 years.

Q: What truck do you currently drive?
A: A Kenworth K200.

Q: What do you currently cart?
A: General freight, so pretty much anything and everything except gravel and livestock.

Q: What is the best thing you have carted?
A: I like doing oversized tractors and floats in our local Easter parade.

Q: And what’s the worst load you’ve ever carted?
A: A load of express market onions! They moved and went all through the trailer – I had to restack the bags back onto the pallets by hand.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who want to be truck drivers?
A: Try and stay fit and healthy, and always make sure you get enough sleep!

Q: What type of trailers have you pulled?
A: Tautliners, flat tops and extenables.

Q: What’s the best thing about being a truck driver?
A: Every day is different and you’re always meeting new people.

Q: What kind of training did you have to do to get your licence?
A: I had to do a knowledge computer test and a two-day driving test in a manual truck.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being a truck driver?
A: Being away from my family.

Q: What’s something most people don’t know about trucks?
A: Almost every item you buy from a shop has been on at least three trucks!

Q: And what’s your favourite truck?
A: The T950 Kenworth!

Q & A with a Truckie

Blake puts on his interviewer hat and gets to know his truck driving Pop, Mark Close.

Q: What age did you start driving trucks?

A: 17, I’ve been driving for 39 years.

Q: What truck do you currently drive?

A: Freightliner Argosy.

Q: What do you currently cart?

A: Anything that goes in tipper trailers but mainly grain and fertiliser.

Q: What’s the worst load you’ve ever carted?

A: A load of wood without tipper trailers. It had to be hand loaded and unloaded.

Q: What type of trailers have you pulled?

A: Everything but livestock. Over the years I’ve pulled tippers, tankers, car carriers, flat tops and tautliners.

Q: Whats the best thing about being a truck driver?

A: Beating Kenworths with my Freightliner (he wishes, he knows I’m a Kenworth fan so he is just stirring me up!).

Q: What is the best thing you have carted?

A: Potatoes in the tipper because its a quick and easy load.

Q: What kind of training did you have to do to get your licence?

A: I had to go for a drive around town with a police officer. The day I got my licence I went on my first interstate trip.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being a truck driver?

A: Having to anticipate what other drivers are going to do and dealing with caravans.

Q: What’s something most people don’t know about trucks?

A: It’s not like driving a car, they take a really long time to build up speed and a long time to stop.

Q: What is your favourite truck?

A: I had a 4800 series Western Star. That would have to be my favourite truck.

The big T610 Kenworth

One rainy afternoon I jumped in the big T610 Kenworth with truck driver Matt from Steve Martin Contracting, and I was on my way to Nelson.

As we pulled away I could hardly tell that we had a load on – the truck boasted 600hp and we were carrying 30 tonnes of flour.

As we were leaving Christchurch, we didn’t know if we were going up the coastline or up the Lewis Pass, because the road could have been closed because of snow. But Matt made the call and we went up the Lewis Pass – the road hadn’t shut so that was good news!

Matt and Dustin carried 30 tonnes of flour on their trip

It was my first time in a T610 Kenworth. The truck does about 5500 kilometres a week. Steve Martin Contracting has four trucks. Matt said he has been truck driving for 22 years. It takes about one hour to unload and about 45 minutes to load the T610. Matt likes the truck’s power and it is a manual gearbox. Matt says he prefers black mud flaps over white mud flaps. My favourite thing about the truck was the cool green LED lights, which looked awesome at night.

Thanks Matt for taking me along for the ride, and to Steve Martin, his wife Robyn and the entire crew at Steve Martin Contracting.

All aboard the Grain Train!

Reid heads out in a Scania with our friends at Owens Transport, carting grain to Auckland to make beer!

Hi there Little Truckers, my name is Reid and recently I had my second adventure in a big rig truck.

This time I was in a V8 R620 Scania with Shaun and Ben from Owens Transport.

As Shaun pulled up, I felt amazed and shocked at the same time because of how big the Scania was and that it was a curtain sider. Today’s job is to cart grain to an Auckland brewery to make Heineken beer.

Reid up front

Shaun drove into the Tatuanui weighbridge to pick me up. The Scania is a truck and trailer that holds a big bag inside filled with grain. It was weird because there is not normally a big bag inside a curtain sider. Big tanks store all the grain before loading the trucks. It gets loaded up the top. There’s a remote that tips the deck up and down when the truck is unloading the grain. When the truck’s deck tips, the grain goes out the little doors at the back.

I am really grateful to Shaun and Ben who took time out of their day to take me for a ride and for answering my questions! What an epic day riding in the big gear!

A day out with Dad

I started the morning by attempting to mirror my father’s normal daily routine. A 4am wake up call, breakfast, preparing for work and then the drive to Swanson from Mangere.

My dad Kiripati is the general freight manager for Swanson Transport Ltd. General freight handles and transports a wide variety of goods that can be transported in many ways. They can either be transported in containers, vans, trucks and trailers and sometimes even specialised vehicles.

The general freight trucking industry provides a number of key services such as local pickup, local sorting, destination sorting and local delivery. Communication and planning plays a pivotal part in performing his role. The numerous emails and phone calls received can vary from internal and external customers, new customers requiring freight services to drivers who will require location confirmation and any special delivery or pickup instructions.

Order and truck allocation is key to ensure that the right vehicle is sent to perform the right job. Certain truck operators hold different class licences, so my father needs to identify these special jobs and select the right operator to perform the duty.

Every day is different, so planning ahead to keep on top of the ever-changing schedule is important to ensure things run smoothly for himself and his team. My dad’s role requires him to work in the office, ensuring that he is always available to tend to his customer and team needs. He is very hands-on and will happily assist if need be in the warehouse, operating the forklift and loading trucks.

Swanson Transport has their own mechanical workshop for their trucks on site, as well as their own wash bay. There are many trucks, all different types and sizes that perform special jobs. Some trucks have a fitted crane at the back, which allows them to lift extremely heavy and large loads. There are also pilot utes that guide larger trucks – they are responsible for alerting the truck driver of any possible issues ahead and ensure other road users are aware that a large heavy load follows.

Safety is taken very seriously at Swanson Transport, certain safety gear is required to move around the workplace. All visitors are required to sign in on arrival and access must be given to enter the work site. Hi-vis vests, hard hats and safety boots are to be worn, most importantly being aware of your surroundings and recognising possible danger.

I have enjoyed my time at Swanson Transport, witnessing first hand Dad’s work day and the pride he takes in his work.

I had the privilege of meeting the owner of the business, Mr Jeff Smith, who has been part of this business for many years. I also met general manager Mr Nick Longuet-Higgins, as well as the office staff who were all very welcoming. Now that I’ve had an insight into how the transport industry operates, next time I see a truck on the road I’ll definitely be giving it a wave! Thanks to Dad and everyone at Swanson Transport for showing me around.

Photo Tips and Tricks

Junior truck photographer Thomas shares some top tips on how to take a great truck photo

Rain, snow or sun-shine, you’ll find me out and about in all sorts of weather, snapping photos of cool rigs hauling in and around Canterbury.

Here’s a few top tips I’ve learnt for a good roadshot.

I make sure my camera is on the right setting for most of my photos. I use the sports mode as I find it suits the fast moving trucks the best.

The best thing about roadshots is you can pick your background and find some really nice spots to take your truck photos.

I also look for where the sun is and try to get the sun on the front and side of the truck. This is very important unless it’s an overcast day.

On overcast days I can shoot trucks going in both directions with an even lighting.

Timing is quite important as well, as cars and other traffic sometimes get in the way.

Timing is everything when it comes to roadshots. Here’s a few of my favourites I’ve taken over the last year…

Keep on trucking! Over and out, Thomas

Loading up the truck

Reid heads out to do some earthworks with his stepdad, Ben. He saw tractors, diggers, rollers and loaders, all from a Kenworth.

Name: Reid
Age: 9
Can be found in a: Kenworth

My step dad Ben works at HDL, which stands for Hill Development Limited. They do earthworks for subdivisions. One Saturday my brother Heath, sister Lily and I got to hang out at Ben’s work.

The boss, whose name is Mike, gave us some HDL shirts and a couple of walkie talkies to communicate with.

First, we started up the 2003 T404 Kenworth 6×4 alloy bin tipper with 18-speed road ranger transmission. The C15 550hp Cat engine was super loud and my sister honked the horn, which was even louder! Today’s job was to fill in a hole with sand/ash, so we needed the Komatsu 13-tonne digger to load up the Kenworth truck.

As the digger loaded the truck, I could feel it shaking like a truck rumbling past our house. Then we backed up the truck to the hole and dumped the load by tipping the deck. Second time round I went in the digger with my step dad – it was fun to push the levers and watch the scoop load the truck.

It was cool seeing the other machinery too like tractors, diggers, rollers and loaders. I had an epic day hanging out at Ben’s work site.

Out and about with Rossco Bobcats

Kaitlyn met up with our friends over at Rossco Bobcats, and learned all about how quick bobcats are compared to other vehicles. She also got to check out some classic trucks.

Name: Kaitlyn
Age: 10
Hails from: Canterbury
Goes to: Shirley Primary School

I recently got the opportunity to go out with my mum to Rossco Bobcats, a Christchurch-based transport company. We got to meet Rossco and his wife Wendy, as well as their mates Shane Pearson and Mark Amer, who everyone calls Magpie.

Rossco has run the company for more than 20 years. On our visit, we got to go in Rossco’s truck, which had a bobcat on the back. It looked amazing.

We also got to go in Magpie’s truck. He took us for a nice ride around Rolleston and told us all about the work he does and how he loves working in the transport sector. Magpie does a lot of travelling and says he really enjoys his job.

Shane took us out in his Kenworth truck. He told me it costs $700 a day in fuel to run a truck! Wow. He starts early and finishes by 4pm, making a full day of it.

Shane showed Mum and I around his big garage, which had a few old fashion trucks in it. I loved the L&P truck. We also saw a lot of trucking memorabilia that was nicely displayed.

I really enjoyed my morning and meeting Rossco and his mates, thank you so much for having me.

Rossco and Wendy Higgins own and operate Rossco Bobcats, a general earthmoving company that works on everything from landscaping, driveways, section clearing, and floor pads for new homes, all around Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region.

After working on a bobcat for his brother-in-law, Rossco decided to branch out on his own, and now has been operating bobcats for 40 years. The company owns three trucks, a skid steer loader, and a 5.5 tonne bobcat excavator.

Rossco says bobcats are very quick and efficient, and faster than other machines.

While Rossco is operating the machines, Wendy takes care of all the bookwork and accounts.

“She’s my rock,” says Rossco. “We’ve built the business up together and are really happy.”

Buckle Up! It's time to hit the road

Blake lives in a country town in New South Wales, called Leeton. He tells us all about his dad’s work for Guilford General Transport.

Name: Blake
Age: 10
Hails from: Leeton, NSW
Truck of choice: A Kenworth K200

My dad carts general freight for Guilford General Transport. His loads range from oversized buildings and tractors to paper and bottle caps, and sometimes he even carts dangerous goods. Today’s load is bales of wool.

We didn’t leave home until 4:30 pm in Dad’s Kenworth K200 with a 550hp Cummins motor. We had a full double load in the tautliner trailer. The load was going from Griffith NSW to Melbourne, Victoria.

After checking the truck over and making sure there were no flat tyres, it was time to buckle up and hit the road.

We drove from Leeton to Jerilderie on the Newell highway before stopping to get some dinner.

We were driving at dusk so we had to keep an eye out for kangaroos – luckily we didn’t see any, but we did see some emus though.

We passed through lots of little towns and saw heaps of interesting things like the Big Strawberry at Koonoomoo and the silo painting at Wunghnu.

We stopped at Guildford’s Shepparton depot and checked the load of wool. Because wool bales move around a lot during transport, we had to tighten the straps. We then helped our mate Billie drop his trailers and hook onto a new set.

I wasn’t able to go all the way to Melbourne with Dad on this trip because he was going to be away for the next four days, so at the Guilford’s Shepparton depot I hopped out of Dad’s truck and into Billie’s for the drive home.

The load in Billie’s trailers was bits and pieces; there were small tractors, toilet paper and farming supplies. On the way home we stopped in Jerilderie again to grab some diesel and spent the drive talking about my dream of one day owning my own truck company. We arrived back at the Leeton depot at 12:20 am where Mum picked me up and took me home to bed.