SEQH awarded for innovation
High-tech approach paying off
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
DREAM TEAM: Nathan Craner (left) and Brett Plummer celebrate a memorable double.