SEQH awarded for in­no­va­tion

High-tech ap­proach pay­ing off

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Brent Davison

WHEN it comes to mak­ing worth­while changes in road trans­port, the Queens­land Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s In­no­va­tion Award recog­nises those busi­nesses that have in­vested in im­prov­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency.

The QTA has long cham­pi­oned the cause of in­creas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity us­ing tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced ve­hi­cles and this year the as­so­ci­a­tion recog­nised South East Queens­land Hauliers man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Brett Plum­mer and his ef­forts to move more freight with fewer ve­hi­cles.

Un­der Brett’s ste­ward­ship, the com­pany has in­creased its con­tainer han­dling busi­ness by a fac­tor of al­most 27 times, a fig­ure usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with tech giants and cryp­tocur­ren­cies, not freight com­pa­nies.

In 1997, when the Plum­mer fam­ily bought the con­tain­er­car­ry­ing busi­ness, it was mov­ing about 1500 containers a year.

Twenty-one years down the track that num­ber has cat­a­pulted to a dizzy­ing 40,000 containers an­nu­ally.

Head­quar­tered in Hem­mant, near the Bris­bane wharves, and with a sec­ond de­pot in Toowoomba, SEQH has 7500sq m of ware­hous­ing and bulk stor­age and runs a fleet con­sist­ing of road trains, A and B-dou­bles, sin­gle trail­ers and side­load­ers.

Con­scious of the in­crease in con­tainer­ised ship­ping and the grow­ing num­ber of containers need­ing to be moved by truck, Brett looked at how trans­port could be made more ef­fi­cient and came up with a so­lu­tion.

In 2010 he sat down with Haul­mark Trail­ers man­age­ment to dis­cuss his rev­o­lu­tion­ary plan and after much dis­cus­sion, plan­ning and a work­able de­sign, the first A-dou­ble trailer rolled out of Haul­mark’s Bris­bane fac­tory, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­vel­op­ment that took some three years to go from ini­tial de­sign to fi­nal ap­proval.

When it was fin­ished, Brett put his money where his mouth was and or­dered 10 of them, ef­fec­tively telling the in­dus­try that change was in the air and he was back­ing it.

Brett Plum­mer and SEQH were smoothly de­liv­er­ing a new way of mov­ing con­tainer freight into the 21st cen­tury.

Meet­ing tight 30m di­men­sion lim­its, the A-dou­bles, com­plete with prime mover, come in at 29.95m in over­all length.

Able to carry 85 tonnes gross, the rig can move four empty 6.1m (20-foot) containers, two full 20-foot containers or two full 12.2m (40-foot) containers.

“It was a huge feat,” SEQH busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Nathan Craner said.

“It re­duced our prime mover num­bers by around 50 per cent.

“The fo­cus was to im­prove ef­fi­ciency and Brett suc­ceeded.”

The cre­ation of the A-dou­ble led to a new set of reg­u­la­tions.

Their routes are strictly de­fined and tightly con­trolled.

The 85-tonne gross weight must be dis­trib­uted so each axle car­ries a spe­cific weight, and they are strictly speed- lim­ited to 90km/h

Last year, in a sim­i­larly in­no­va­tive move, the sin­gleaxle A-dou­ble was built for the ex­press pur­pose of mov­ing empty containers and this year, part­ner­ing with Haul­mark once more, Brett struck again with a tri-axle dolly A-dou­ble de­signed to put more length and greater weight ca­pac­ity into log-car­ry­ing trail­ers.

Through this in­no­va­tion, SEQH has cut its prime mover fleet to 65 with 150 trail­ers.

As well as tak­ing out the In­no­va­tion Award at QTA’s big night, Nathan Craner was a star in his own right, win­ning Young Achiever of the Year.

A rel­a­tive new­comer to the trans­port in­dus­try, Nathan started in the SEQH busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager role three and a half years ago and has quickly be­come a ma­jor player.

“I came into a sales po­si­tion and worked my way up through the ranks,” he said.

As well as ex­pertly driv­ing a desk, Nathan is a dab hand be­hind the wheel, adding a range of truck and fork­lift li­cences to his reper­toire.

“I got my li­cences and I some­times go out with the driv­ers or take a truck out my­self to un­der­stand how it all works,” he said.

“If a driver has a com­plaint or a prob­lem, I can un­der­stand it and ex­plain it to the cus­tomer to achieve a res­o­lu­tion.”

Nathan’s also un­der­tak­ing a Bach­e­lor of Com­merce, which will not only ben­e­fit him but SEQH and the truck­ing in­dus­try in gen­eral.

❝ The fo­cus was to im­prove ef­fi­ciency and Brett suc­ceeded. — Nathan Craner, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager

PHOTO: YOURPHOTOGRAPHER.COM.AU

DREAM TEAM: Nathan Craner (left) and Brett Plum­mer cel­e­brate a mem­o­rable dou­ble.

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