80/ PPG Transport Imaging 81 Awards
Recognising NZ’s best-looking truck fleets…. including a giant pullout poster of this month’s finalist
HOW’S THIS FOR A SHINING EXAMPLE OF WHAT’S POSSIBLE FOR young go-getters in the road transport industry. Roy Van Geffen’s a potential poster-boy for the industry – a rolemodel who’s made it to owning his own truck and trailer at the age of 25….with a little help from his friends in trucking.
Van Geffen had been a despatcher with Peter Baker Transport (PBT) in Auckland since 2012.
While he liked the job – enjoyed the contact with all the drivers – he set his sights on following his father’s footsteps and becoming a truck driver.
With help from PBT, Roy continued in his job in despatch AND managed to progress from a Class 1 licence, through to a full Class 5 – in just 18 months.
During that time, he was able to build up his experience in PBT’s South Auckland yard by moving trucks and containers around with any available sideloader.
That experience helped Roy form an opinion on what sort of rig he’d like to run – if and when he was finally able to buy one of his own: “I operated a few sideloaders over the last year – mainly on the weekends and doing the odd shift as a relief driver – and I really got to like the HAMMARs,” he says.
“They’re easy to learn, easy to use and felt a lot safer than anything else I’d used. They’re quick. They’re reliable and rarely break down. And if there is anything wrong, the HAMMAR yard is only just down the road and the guys down there are really friendly.”
That’s all very well, but owning his own truck and trailer might have been just a pipedream for the ambitious young man, ‘specially considering that he doesn’t own a home, so had nothing to put up as collateral for a loan to purchase a truck.
Roy explains what happened next: “As a new driver starting out, finance is always an issue, but Fred from HAMMAR (managing director Fred Sandberg) had enough faith in me to act as a guarantor for the trailer and another contract driver helped me with the tractor unit.
“A lot of people have a lot of faith in me and I’m going to repay that faith. I don’t own a house, just a truck and trailer, but it’s a good start.”
He bought a brand new UD GW 25 420 tractor unit and a new HAMMAR 195 S model sideloader, which he figured would be ideal for his everyday work with PBT: “The majority of my deliveries are pointto-point, so I don’t need to do any transfers or stacking of containers – so this model is definitely suited to the Auckland area.
“A lot of sites are getting smaller and smaller and there’s not a lot of room to swing a container off anymore and this works well,” says Roy. The sliding chassis on the 195 S model allows him to pick up 20ft or 40ft containers to a safe lifting capacity of 36 tonnes.
Fred Sandberg is a believer that giving young people like Roy a helping hand to make their place in the industry is “something we really need more of…. new young drivers, with no history in the business but with the right spirit and great enthusiasm,” getting the chance to set up on their own account.
“That is one thing I saw with Roy – his enthusiasm.” It is, he adds, “impossible not to be impressed” by it.
He points out that HAMMAR founder Ben Hammar struggled to scratch together enough funds to build his first trailer as a young man – then went on a sales mission in his VW Beetle to sell it…. sleeping in the car.
When he finally sold it to a Gothenburg trucking company, the funds went straight into building the next HAMMAR. Now, says Sandberg: “Here we are – more than 40 years later – with the sale of about 350 units a year, into….114 different countries.” T&D
Roy Van Ge en has made it to owning his own truck and trailer at the age of 25