Fam­ily pri­or­ity

Owner-op­er­a­tor Colin Mal­colm has switched from wharf work to run­ning in­ter­state in a Ken­worth T604 in a bid to pro­vide for his fam­ily. Peter and Di Sch­lenk write

Owner Driver - - Front Page -

Owner-op­er­a­tor Colin Mal­colm has switched from wharf work to run­ning in­ter­state, and im­prov­ing his fam­ily’s fi­nances in the process.

COLIN MAL­COLM is a young owner-op­er­a­tor from Pheas­ants Nest, just south of Syd­ney, on the Hume High­way. Pre­vi­ously driv­ing an old S-Line In­ter­na­tional run­ning con­tain­ers around the Syd­ney wharf, Colin has turned to in­ter­state trans­port with a Ken­worth T604 in a bid to grow his small trans­port op­er­a­tion.

The down­side is spend­ing days away from his fam­ily – wife Sally and daugh­ters Matilda and Isla.

“That is the hard­est part of be­ing an owner-driver, es­pe­cially if you are run­ning in­ter­state,” Colin says. “My wife has the young ones but you’ve got to do what you have to do.”

When Owner//Driver caught up with Colin at Pheas­ants Nest, he was about to head off on a South Aus­tralian run, haul­ing a set of trail­ers for Mt Gam­bier-based Tony Gas­parini. He was plan­ning on do­ing a quick tri­an­gle to Ade­laide and Mt Gam­bier and then back to Syd­ney two-up with this father, Colin Snr.

“I need to be home for Sun­day so Dad is go­ing to come with,” Colin says. “He had bad shoul­ders but can still drive well.”

Colin runs three trucks and em­ploys two driv­ers who pi­lot rigs around the Syd­ney wharves.

He says work was a lit­tle quiet un­til he re­ceived a call to haul cur­tain­sider trail­ers for Gas­parini Trans­port.

“It’s great to get out and make a mile,” he says.

“I’m not sure that I will go back to the wharves.”

Colin says the Syd­ney wharves have changed much over the years, in­so­far as the au­to­mated sys­tem in use.

“There are time slots and, upon en­try, you swipe your card and then back into a bay where stack­ers au­to­mat­i­cally find your box, bring and lower it onto your trailer.”

How­ever, Colin says he’d rather not drive around Syd­ney, pre­fer­ring coun­try runs.

“It is a good run across to Ade­laide, and oc­ca­sion­ally I’ll get a trip to Mel­bourne,” he says.

Colin’s T604 was pre­vi­ously owned by owner-driver Mark Ap­ple­ton, based in Gee­long. The Ken­worth has a Cum­mins Sig­na­ture set at 620hp with an 18-speed gear­box.

“Mark bought a new Mack Su­per­liner,” Colin says.

“He spent a lot of money on the Ken­worth and I got a good deal.

“I’ve had it for six months and it’s go­ing very well. Get­ting a good truck makes all the dif­fer­ence and Mark did ev­ery­thing to this.”

Colin says there are plenty of hor­ror sto­ries out there of owner-driv­ers buy­ing a sec­ond-hand truck and then hav­ing the mo­tor blow up a month later, forc­ing them to the wall.

“Un­for­tu­nately, one of mine did let go re­cently and so the en­gine will be re­built,” he says.

For Colin, hav­ing his own truck means stay­ing on top of any me­chan­i­cal is­sues be­comes all the more im­por­tant.

“I’m pretty fas­tid­i­ous about the main­te­nance; I do what I can and any­thing out­side.

“It’s so im­por­tant to look af­ter ev­ery lit­tle thing and keep a pa­per trail.”

His most re­cent pur­chase is a new Cat 630 prime mover with a 550hp Acert en­gine to run in­ter­state, pulling a trailer for Rev­trans.

What he loves about the job is the free­dom of the open road and be­ing his own boss.

“Get­ting a truck as good as this helps,” he says of the T604. “I’ve had a va­ri­ety of makes but I don’t think you can beat a Ken­worth.”

Colin Mal­colm’s T604: Ken­worth is his pre­ferred brand of truck

Colin and Sally Mal­colm with daugh­ters Matilda (left) and Isla

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