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-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