Specialised carriers moving the world's finest cars

Our local Aussie reporter Mike Williams speaks to the team at Alan’s Unique Car Carriers in NSW and checks out their cool truck fleet.

Meet my mate’s fleet! Alan Norton runs a small fleet of very special trucks and he moves some very special freight. It’s not every day we get to see what’s inside the purpose-built covered car transporters.

Alan’s Unique Car Carriers is based in Erina, which is a small town on the coast about half way between Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales. From there, Alan and his drivers go all over Australia moving some of the world’s finest and possibly most expensive automobiles.

Just having a look at the pictures, there’s a few cars I wish I could sneak into my garage. What would you like if you could have one or get one for Mum or Dad? Would you choose the Ferrari or maybe that Lamborghini? Would it be the custom pickup or the vintage Ford? What about the black hard top or the very famous and very rare Peter Brock VK Commodore beast? If it’s out of the cars, I’d the white one, the McLaren, what a true beast of a car.

But really I’m a truck guy, so I reckon I’d pick one of those Scania R450s. That’s the go. Wouldn’t it be great to drive one of those and move some cars all over Australia. It’s amazing what you can find being moved about by trucks.

Stay safe out there, and happy truckin’!


Multiquip

We get to know the team at MultiQuip, a company that is dedicated to servicing the poultry and aggregate industries in Australia. Transport manager Lyndon Jay tells us all about it.

When was MultiQuip established and who by?

The first company in the Multiquip Group was established in 1984 by Steve and Lucy Mikosic, who owned a chicken farm at the time.

What does MultiQuip specialise in?

The Multiquip group has:

  • A large presence in the poultry industry (from picking up fertilised eggs for hatching in our own hatchery at Maldon near Picton, NSW – over two million birds per week) delivering those “day old” birds to farms throughout Australia. We then run a fleet of trucks around Australia that deliver chicken feed to those farms, and a very large fleet of trucks that go into these farms (mostly at night) to collect the fully grown birds for delivery to processing plants throughout the country.
  • A fleet of trucks that operate out of our quarry near Goulburn that deliver sand and aggregate material to concrete plants and other aggregate users around NSW.
  • A fleet of refrigerated vans operating out of chicken plants around Australia.
  • A large diesel servicing business operating throughout the country.
  • A manufacturing business in Austral, Sydney that manufactures highly specialised metal products.
  • An engineering firm that carries out specialised engineering/ machining for particular clients.

How many vehicles have you got in your fleet?

300+ prime movers, 500+ trailers, 120 heavy rigids (including truck and dogs), 120+ forklifts, 100+ light vehicles (mostly utes), 150 pieces of earth moving equipment, etc. Where does Multiquip operate? Nationally – we have approximately 16 depots around Australia.

A good-looking lineup

What other types of machinery does Multiquip use?

Automated chicken catching machines (yes – that is a thing).

And how many staff members do you have?

There are approximately 1200 employees throughout the company around Australia.

Can you tell us about the different types of trucks you have and what they are used for?

We use many HPVs (high productivity vehicles) to perform the various functions throughout the company, including 28 different PBS designs. Using PBS allows us to increase the gross mass that we can carry and operate under very specific laws and rules.

What’s the best thing about working with trucks and transport in Australia?

The diversity of our operation and the level of safety that our company demands from all employees. We train our drivers very intensely and continuously.

Multiquip’s drivers go through lots of training
The vehicles are used to perform various functions
Multiquip has 16 depots around Australia

Austin Transport Services Ltd

The white and red predominantly Kenworth fleet of Nelson-based Austin Transport Services Ltd are regular visitors to many parts of New Zealand. Milly McCauley sat down with administrator Sheryl Holt, at the company’s Nelson headquarters to learn more.

Who owns Austin Transport?

The company is owned by Brian and Lisa Austin. Brian also drives one of the company’s trucks, while Lisa is the health and safety coordinator and looks after the human resources side of the business. Lisa and Brian also take an active role in their community by sponsoring many events such as the Pork Pie Run, which is a car run open to any Mini owners. The event is a fundraiser for KidsCan.

How long has Austin Transport been in business?

Lisa and Brian began Austin Transport Services in 2007 and have continued to build the company into what it is today for the past 16 years.

Where do you have trucks based?

The main depot is in Richmond, near Nelson. We have a Christchurch depot and a depot in Auckland which is shared with another company.

How many trucks does Austin Transport operate?

The company operates 32 trucks.

Bryan Austin co-owns Austin Transport Services Ltd

What makes of trucks do you have and how many of each?

Kenworths are owner Brian’s favourite make of truck, so most of the fleet is made up of Kenworths. There is also a Hino, one Scania and a couple of Freightliners.

How many people do Austin Transport employ?

There are 32 employees at Austin Transport.

What type of loads do you cart?

The company carts all sorts of general freight, timber, containers, and machinery. Our tip trucks mainly haul gravel and roading material.

Where are the main areas you operate in around New Zealand?

The company operates New Zealand-wide.

What is your title at Austin Transport and what are your responsibilities?

I am the administrator and work mainly in finance for the company.

Did you always think you would work in transport?

I never thought I would work in transport.

How long have you been involved with the business?

I have worked for Austin Transport for 10 years.

General manager Dennie Capell and operations manager Blair Tootell

What’s your favourite thing about working in the industry?

My favourite part of working in the industry would be working alongside the team of drivers at Austin Transport.

What things would you like to see change for the transport industry over time?

To see the roads around New Zealand improved.

Do you have a favourite truck in your fleet?

It would have to be one of the fleet’s Kenworths.

What would be some advice you would give to any young people who want to start a career in transport?

l would advise anyone to just get involved, to get to know the industry, and work up from the bottom to the top.

Can you tell me a fun or interesting fact about Austin Transport?

A number of the fleet’s trucks are named after trucking songs by famous Australian entertainer Slim Dusty. This comes from when Brian spent time driving long-haul across Australia and would pass the time by listening to Slim Dusty songs.


Carr & Haslam

Carr & Haslam is one of New Zealand’s oldest carrying companies. Milly McCauley met Chris Carr at the company’s Mount Richmond headquarters in Auckland to learn about the operation.

Who owns Carr & Haslam?

Carr & Haslam was started by the Carr family and has been continually owned and operated by our family for the last five generations.

How long has Carr & Haslam been in business?

Carr & Haslam began in 1862 and has been operating ever since – 160 years! Where do you have trucks based? Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.

How many trucks does Carr & Haslam operate?

The company operates 70 trucks.

What makes of trucks do you operate?

Our fleet is made up of models from Fuso and Mercedes-Benz.

Has the electric truck in your fleet been successful? Why did you choose that one?

The electric truck has been successful. We chose the Fuso eCanter as this was the only mainstream model available to us. Fuso is a well-trusted manufacturer that already knows how to make trucks. They also know how to make all the different technical parts of the machine work without fail. This made the choice easy.

Mercedes-Benz Actros heading down the desert road
Milly behind the wheel

How many people does Carr & Haslam employ?

Carr & Haslam has 100 employees across the operation. They include management, drivers, dispatchers, store people and administration staff.

What type of loads do you cart?

Our main cargoes are cars, LPG gas cylinders, and steel.

Where are the main areas you operate in around New Zealand?

Carr & Haslam operates all over New Zealand.

What is your title at Carr & Haslam?

I am the managing director of the company.

Did you always think you would work in transport?

I had always grown up around the company, but I didn’t become involved in the business until I was 26.

What is your favourite thing about working in the industry?

My favourite part about working in the industry would be the constant change. The transport industry is constantly adapting and finding solutions as the world changes and requires different ways of doing things, whether that’s an increased demand for products or the call for climate action.

What things would you like to see change for the transport industry over time?

I would like to see the transport industry be recognised for its importance. So many people don’t realise how crucial the transport industry is to your everyday life. It takes 14 transport deliveries alone to make the bread that you might turn into toast and eat for breakfast. Examples like this display just how significantly the transport industry affects our lives.

Carr & Halsam’s eCanter driver Kenny Kong with Milly
Chris and I with a photograph showing Carr & Haslam’s first petrol truck in front of the horse-drawn fleet

Do you have a favourite truck in your fleet?

No, they are all tools.

What would be some advice you would give to any young people who want to start a career in transport?

I would encourage anyone wanting to start a career in transport to have passion and really want to do it. Working in transport is a very different job, there is so much opportunity to work in different branches. It is also a job that is forever changing and one that always requires something different out of you.

Can you tell me a fun or interesting fact about Carr & Haslam?

Established 160 years ago, Carr & Haslam throughout its history has made three major transitions across four propulsion methods, these being: Horse and cart to petrol, petrol to diesel and now diesel to electricity. This is massive when you think about it. Carr & Haslam has lived through some of the most revolutionary technology invented, and continues to run an extremely successful company as it learns to adapt.


Catching up with Eden Haulage Ltd

The gold Eden Haulage trucks from Invercargill in the deep south with their bright graphics will be familiar to many Little Trucker Down Under readers. Milly McCauley catches up with owner Phil Collinson to find out more.

Who owns Eden Haulage?

Phil: Eden Haulage is owned by me, Phil Collinson and my family.

How long has Eden Haulage been in business?

Phil: Eden Haulage commenced in 2005 with one truck, it then expanded in 2008 into four trucks. The company progressively got bigger from 2012, by adding a truck each year.

Where do you have trucks based?

Phil: 12 of the 13 trucks run by Eden Haulage are based at the Invercargill depot, and one truck is based in Canterbury.


How many trucks does Eden Haulage operate?

Phil: Eden Haulage operates 13 trucks. Of those, 12 work every day and one older truck helps do any local jobs. Two trucks in the fleet are double shifted (when two drivers share one truck at different times of the day, allowing it to run for up to 24 hours a day).

What makes of trucks do you have and how many of each?

Phil: Eden Haulage has two Internationals, two DAFs, two Freightliner Argosys, six Kenworths and one small Nissan Diesel delivery truck.

How many people does Eden Haulage employ?

Phil: The company has 16 staff all together.

What type of loads do you cart?

Phil: A large part of the company’s work is fresh produce (vegetables and fruit). The remainder is cardboard packaging, seafood, groceries, timber and some general freight.

Where are the main areas you operate in around New Zealand?

Phil: Eden Haulage trucks operate mainly between Invercargill, Central Otago and Christchurch, however some of our trucks travel each week to Nelson, Blenheim, Tauranga and Auckland.

A pair of Kenworth Aerodynes travelling through Central Otago

What is your title at Eden Haulage and what are your responsibilities?

Phil: I am the director of Eden Haulage; I do everything from relief driving to dispatching. I try to do everything I can to support the business, from something as little as changing a light bulb, to meeting with customers to find out how we can assist them better.

Did you always think you would work in transport?

Phil: I always knew I would work in transport, all I dreamed of when I was young was to work for the rural transport company I happened to live next door to. The idea of a career in transport just made sense for me.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the industry?

Phil: The great people I meet.

What things would you like to see change for the transport industry over time?

Phil: I would like to see the industry be able to produce better money and better conditions to pass onto the people who drive the trucks.

Do you have a favourite truck in your fleet?

Phil: My favourite truck would be the C16 Caterpillar-powered Freightliner Argosy we bought secondhand in 2013. I thought it was a cool truck when its previous owners put it on the road.



What are the various positions in Eden Haulage?

Phil: We have an operations dispatcher, administration staff, metro deliverers/ loaders, relief drivers and a team of linehaul drivers.

What would be some advice you would give to any young people who want to start a career in transport?

Phil: I would advise anyone to listen to others, be a diligent worker and try to absorb all the information you can from people within the industry.

Can you tell me a fun or interesting fact about Eden Haulage?

Phil: Many of the trucks in the Eden Haulage fleet carry a Mr Potato Head picture and name on them, this theme is because of the large number of potatoes Eden Haulage carries.

This International Eagle was Eden Haulage’s first truck

Phil and Darryl Millar closing a curtain


Graeme Wright General Carriers

Milly McCauley has spent plenty of time in the passenger’s seat of trucks involved in rural cartage. In this issue of Little Trucker Down Under, she heads north to Puriri, a wee village in the Thames Valley, and chats with local trucking identity, Graeme Wright.

Who owns Graeme Wright General Carriers?

Graeme: The transport company is owned by me, Graeme Wright, although everyone knows me as ‘Gunner’.

How long has Graeme Wright General Carriers been in business?

Graeme: I’ve been in business since 1969, over 50 years now.

Where do you have trucks based?

Graeme: The main depot is here in Puriri, however some drivers do park their trucks at home in nearby towns.

Graeme Wright has been in the trucking business for over 50 years. His passion for the machines has not waned one iota.

How many trucks does Graeme Wright General Carriers operate?

Graeme: I have 20 trucks. A large amount of the company’s work is seasonal, so although not all of them work at the same time necessarily, we still need trucks ready for any service we may need to provide.

How many people does Graeme Wright General Carriers employ?

Graeme: The transport company has around 20 employees including drivers, workshop, and office staff.

What type of loads do you cart?

Graeme: Being rural carriers, it’s largely the farmers’ needs. This includes livestock, fertiliser, stockfeed, metal, farming equipment, and the occasional timber loads.

Where are the main areas you operate in around New Zealand?

Graeme: Aside from the Thames Valley and Coromandel Peninsula, we also cover much of the North Island when we need to, like the large cattle moves to Kaitaia yearly – helping cart over 2000 cattle.


What is your title at Graeme Wright General Carriers, and what are your responsibilities?

Graeme: Well, I’m the boss. I oversee everything, and help to keep the peace!

Did you always think you would work in transport?

Graeme: I have loved trucks since the day I was born. I still do. I was brought up around trucks and the rural environment. It was always going to be a career in transport.

What is the best truck in your fleet?

Graeme: Hmmm. The best truck I have ever owned, which is not the same as my favourite, is a Volvo FH520, which has done over 2 million kilometres, and still works around the Thames Valley and Coromandel every day.

Can you tell me a fun or interesting fact about Graeme Wright General Carriers?

Graeme: Graeme Wright General Carriers has managed to succeed in a small rural area and operate for many years. I’m really proud that I’ve been able to fulfill my dream.

The best truck Graeme Wright has ever owned is this Volvo FH.
Kenworth Aerodyne livestock hauler.

What would be some advice you would give to any young people who want to start a career in transport?

Graeme: Look for opportunities and find your break and make connections with others. Those connections will last forever and help you get to wherever you want to go.

What makes of trucks do you have and how many of each?

Graeme: I guess you could say the fleet is a bit of a ‘fruit salad’. Kenworth, Mack, Volvo, Scania, Hino, Mercedes-Benz, and Iveco are all represented.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the industry?

Graeme: Nothing beats the trucks themselves.

The Graeme Wright fleet has never been short on high-end units, like ‘Miss Stacey Jade’, a Volvo FH16 750 Globetrotter.
A White Road Boss tows a ribbed tri-axle tipping semi trailer.

APL Direct

They are an impressive head-turing sight wherever they are spotted. Milly McCauley was lucky enough to spend some time with APL Direct’s general manager Jake Lambert and meet the man in charge of one of the country’s sharpest line-haul fleets.

LTDU: Who owns APL Direct?

Jake: APL direct is owned by the Plaw family.

LTDU: How long has APL Direct been in business?

Jake: APL Direct was established in 2003 and started out as a small aluminium joinery fabrication company. As APL grew, they faced problems and damages with third-party distributors, deciding therefore to take the distribution of their product into their own hands. APL Direct has now been operating for over 19 years.

LTDU: Where do you have trucks based?

Jake: APL Direct has four main depots; Hamilton, Hautapu, where the glass operations are based, Palmerston North where a smaller satellite depot is, and Christchurch where we service the South Island from.

LTDU: How many trucks does APL Direct operate?

Jake: APL has 38 trucks and 15 trailers in the fleet. This number is continually growing!

LTDU: What makes of trucks do you have and how many of each?

Jake: The APL Direct fleet is mainly Scania, however Hinos and DAFs are there also, used for smaller metro delivery services.

LTDU: How many people do APL Direct employ?

Jake: APL has more than 60 employees throughout their dispatching, management and transport divisions.

This number has grown substantially throughout the last years as APL Direct expanded with the growth of the glass business in particular.

LTDU: What type of loads do you cart?

Jake: APL predominately carts aluminium extrusion, hardware, rubber coils, sheet metal and glass.

The APL Direct DC in Te Rapa is as immaculate and organised as the rest of the operation.

LTDU: Where are the main areas you operate in around New Zealand?

Jake: APL delivers from Keri Keri in the north all the way down to Invercargill in the south, servicing a large expanse of fabricators throughout the country.

LTDU: What is your title at APL Direct and what are your responsibilities?

Jake: I am the general manager overseeing the whole operation at APL Direct.

LTDU: Did you always think you would work in transport? Jake: No, I never thought I would work in transport but when the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance. It was something completely different.

LTDU: How long have you been involved with the business?

Jake: I have been working at APL Direct for five years, and in this role for just over three years.

LTDU: What’s your favourite thing about working in the industry?

Jake: Being able to provide people with opportunities, watch them grow in their work, and see their personal development.

Little Trucker Down Under’s Milly McCauley (Left) and APL Direct’s Jake Lambert.

LTDU: What things would you like to see change for the transport industry over time?

Jake: I would like to see more done towards alternative energy, actually trying to narrow down which way the industry will head is a big issue. I would like to see some proper direction as we work towards a more sustainable future of transport.

LTDU: Do you have a favourite truck in your fleet?

Jake: No, no favourites in particular, I just like that APL Direct trucks are quite unique, noticeable and well presented.

LTDU: What would be some advice you would give to any young people who want to start a career in transport?

Jake: Having a good work ethic and a good attitude will get you a long way especially in this industry. Spend some time around people in transport and put yourself out there, as there is always opportunity to grow and progress.

LTDU: Can you tell me a fun or interesting fact about APL Direct?

Jake: The fleet runs 95% Euro-5 or better, with 40% now Euro-6. We are working hard on increasing Euro-6 numbers. APL Direct focuses heavily on sustainability, and is working on a number of recycling initiatives throughout all products and packaging.


Stuart Drummond Transport

In our regular Meet My Fleet feature, Milly McCauley catches up with a transport operator to learn about their company and fleet of trucks. This month, she met up with Brodie Drummond of Stuart Drummond Transport from Richmond, near Nelson.

Who owns Stuart Drummond Transport?
Stuart Drummond Transport is a family-owned company, founded by Brodie’s dad Stuart, and today owned by the Drummond family.

What type of loads do you cart?
Stuart Drummond Transport is a solely log cartage company. They cart to sawmills, an MDF factory, and to the ports at both Nelson & Picton, where the logs are exported overseas.

How long has the transport company been in business?
The company has been in business for 36 years.

How many trucks are in the Stuart Drummond fleet and what brands do you have?
Stuart Drummond Transport operates 55 trucks, and their fleet consists of 18 Kenworths, 11 Freightliners, 2 Western Stars, 5 Scanias, 8 Hinos and 11 DAFs.

How many people does the company employ?
Stuart Drummond employs 70 people over their management, administration, workshop and driving fields.

Did you always think you would work in transport?
Brodie says growing up around his dad and trucks meant he always knew where he wanted to be. With his childhood involved in transport, it was an easy choice to make.

Where are the main areas you operate in around New Zealand?
Stuart Drummond Transport operates all over the top half of the South Island.

What is your title at Stuart Drummond Transport?
Brodie is the general manager of Stuart Drummond Transport.

How long have you been involved with the business?
Brodie has been involved with the company for 14 years. He started in 2007 and has worked his way up to general manager.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the industry?
The best thing would be meeting all different kinds of people.

What things would you like to see change for the transport industry over time?
Brodie says he would like to see more young people getting into the industry. He says succession within the industry is important, with many older, experienced drivers reaching retirement age in the next few years.

Do you have a favourite truck in your fleet?
The company’s Kenworth T900.

Can you tell me a fun or interesting fact about Stuart Drummond Transport?
The company is on track to travel 4.4 million km this year and cart more than a million tonnes of logs.

What would be some advice you would give to any young people who want to start a career in transport?
Start early with getting your licences, get the ball rolling. The transport industry is a great opportunity for young people to get ahead, as long as you are prepared to do the work.

Are all your trucks based in Richmond or are there other locations?
Stuart Drummond Transport has trucks based throughout the top of the South Island as well as on the West Coast and in Marlborough. Their main yard, workshop and headquarters are in Richmond.