McColl’s Transport, claimed to be Australia’s largest independent bulk liquid logistics company, is under new ownership.
Led by former McColl’s CEO Simon Thornton, the Australian investment group Friesian has purchased the 66-year-old business from private equity firm KKR and fund manager Allegro.
Mr Thornton has returned to manage the company.
“McColl’s is a solid business with good values,” Mr Thornton said. “It has a great team and we see strong prospects for growth over the medium and long term.”
“The members of Friesian see McColl’s as a long-term business to own and nurture and we are excited about the future.
“We see opportunities in the dairy and chemical sectors and want to position McColl’s to integrate itself more closely with its clients.”
McColl’s new board is made up of Simon Thornton, corporate lawyer James MacDonald and corporate advisor Mark Mentha.
“The new ownership group is made up of experienced and reputable Australian business leaders whose expertise will contribute to McColl’s success,” Mr Thornton said. “I’m excited about ‘coming home’ to lead McColl’s as a well run, well capitalised business.”
McColl’s has reported a solid performance this year across its three divisions. In the past six months, the company has purchased 49 new prime movers, 10 road trains and 13 tankers with plans for a step-up in fleet and infrastructure investment over the next three years to meet customer demand.
Hino Motors, Ltd. and Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH have signed an agreement aiming to build a mutually beneficial strategic long-term partnership.
The companies will further explore each other’s capabilities to cooperate in logistics and traffic solution research, existing and new technologies as well as in procurement.
The evaluation of technology cooperation will focus on conventional powertrains, hybrid and electric powertrains, as well as connectivity and autonomous driving systems.
The partners will aim to enhance their respective market positions in the global transport business and will jointly develop innovative technologies to offer customers the highest value.
A joint Alliance Board has been set up based on the SCFA to discuss the direction of the long-term and eye-level partnership.
The Alliance Board will pursue a pragmatic approach with a lean organisation and balanced rights for both companies that remain independent.
It comprises the CEO from the two companies as well as additional senior management representatives.
Among other things, the Alliance Board will explore and evaluate cooperation in existing technologies, such as whether there is room for jointly utilising conventional powertrains to offer better products for customers.
Furthermore, it will also evaluate initiatives for future transportation technologies.
Yoshio Shimo, president & CEO of Hino Motors, Ltd., said:
“This agreement was made possible because Hino Motors and Volkswagen Truck & Bus respect each other and share the same aspiration to offer customers the highest value.
“Hino Motors invented the company slogan ‘Trucks and Buses that do more’.
“To do justice to that, Hino Motors will pursue regional business cooperation and joint utilisation of technologies with Volkswagen Truck and Bus to offer customers better products and ultimately customised total support.
“It will also be a strong tie-up at times of new challenges in the field of transportation due to the rapid growth of e-commerce,” he concluded.
Andreas Renschler, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, said:
“We are delighted to enter into the SCFA with Hino Motors as we are teaming up with one of the leading truck and bus companies, whose presence is especially strong in Asia.
“It is an excellent fit in terms of regional footprints and products, but also concerning common ideas on how to shape the future of transportation together.
“The cooperation with Hino Motors will also contribute to our strategy to become Global Champion in the transport industry by providing the highest value to our customers,” he concluded.
By joining forces in a strategic partnership, Volkswagen Truck & Bus and Hino Motors will be able to expand their respective global footprints and get into a strong position to tackle the challenges of the industry.
Hino is a leading commercial vehicle manufacturer that has a strong presence in Asia and the Japanese markets and provides products to over 80 countries and regions including the USA. Volkswagen Truck & Bus has leading market positions in Europe and Brazil through its brands MAN, Scania, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus and RIO.
The company has also established partnerships with Navistar in North America and Sinotruk in China.
Following an in-depth review of the latest Census employment data, Phil Taylor, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Isuzu Australia, has called for transport and logistics stakeholders to consider the future prosperity of the industry.
Taylor noted that the Census revealed that the logistics workforce is ageing, while demand for freight is growing rapidly.
“The release of more detailed Census data in October last year provides even more compelling insights into the transport and logistics sector, and the picture it paints is cause for reflection,” he said. “In the 2001 Census, the average age of transport and storage workers was 35 to 44 years. In last year’s Census, the average transport, portal and warehousing employee had ages to be between 45 and 54 years old.
“We need to ensure that the operations knowledge of the current generation of transport and logistics professionals isn’t lost forever – the industry needs to start having the tough conversations about what can be done so a younger crop of professionals can inherit the wisdom of the industry’s current employees.”
He noted that employment in the sector grew 28 per cent in the previous 15 years, while freight grew by 40 per cent.
“Worker shortages in the transport and logistics sector will impact on all Australians,” he said. “An issue this broad needs a collaborative effort to generate innovative and meaningful solutions.”
Taylor praised the Federal Government’s $760 million Youth Jobs PaTH program, announced in the FY16/17 budget. “[The program] has created a circumstance where transport companies can partner with the Department of Employment to establish trial programs within the industry that aim to deliver tangible solutions in response to one of the most significant issues out industry is presently facing.
“The reality is that hiring employees is an expense for companies, and that many small-to-medium operators in the transport and logistics sector aren’t willing to take it on, especially if the feel any new employee might not be equipped with the skills necessary to hit the ground running.” inShare
Privately owned on-premises liquor wholesaler, Paramount Liquor, has made large-scale use of refurbished Linde Material Handling forklifts to help minimise costs in a highly competitive industry.
The family company competes successfully in a market contested by major local and overseas players.
Paramount Liquor founder Mark Rowe has seen plenty of competitors in the on-premises wholesale liquor business fail over the last three decades, but his business has succeeded and expanded.
One of the key decisions Mark has made in the last 18 months has been to rely on refurbished Linde forklifts and reach trucks. The business now has 30 of them at its Melbourne and Sydney warehouses.
“We don’t lease anything,” says Mark. “We own everything we’ve got, including buildings.
“My experience has been that maintenance costs on the used Linde equipment we run still come in below what our outgoings would be to purchase or lease new equipment.”
Mark adds that the company constantly adapts to the marketplace in order to outperform its competitors. “As a family company Paramount Liquor has the advantage of rapid decision-making – the buck stops with me,” he says.
“I always strive to reduce my costs so if I am offered a good deal on refurbished equipment, as I always have been with Linde, I’ll go for it.”
Paramount Liquor has built its reputation on a commitment to service and reliability, so looks for those characteristics in its own suppliers, Mark explains.
“We have a good relationship with Linde,” he adds. “They understand our business and provide us with refurbished forklifts capable of handling the workload we place on them. Given their reliability and quality in our circumstances, we consider that we get best possible value by purchasing refurbished equipment.”
Paramount Liquor purchases used Linde forklifts under 10 years old, and generally with around 6,000 to 8,000 hours on the hour meter. Often, the refurbishment process includes provision of a new battery.
The company’s 16,000sqm Melbourne warehouse runs a mixture of 30 Linde electric forklifts and reach trucks operating at high tempo in a wide-aisle environment, with racking up to nine metres high. A smaller Sydney warehouse also runs used Linde equipment. Refurbished Linde trucks stack up
“Our demands are very straightforward,” says Mike. “We look for good reliability and equipment that is easy to use. We are always busy, but we work around the clock four days per week. At those times, we use opportunity charging and we have never had a problem with our Linde trucks running out of charge.
“Over the years, we have looked at other forklift brands, but we’ve never had reason to change since switching to Linde. They suit our purposes. We keep each of them until they reach the point that they are no longer worth repairing.”
Mak adds that the company has a strong relation with Linde. “Whenever we need equipment I call Linde,” he says. “They’ve come to know our business, know what we want and have always been able to source it for us. When we have had need to call Linde technicians they have appeared promptly.”
Linde notes that it manages its relationship with Paramount Liquor not simply in an order-taking role, but by anticipating and understanding Paramount’s needs and by offering solutions that give the expanding wholesaler the power to choose Linde products that will suit it best.
Australian logistics company, Linfox, will implement an advanced telematics and management solution into its truck fleet, through a partnership with Australian telecommunications business, Telstra, and GPS and fleet management solutions provider, MTData.
The Internet of Things (IoT) technology will be rolled out to the whole Linfox truck fleet and will reportedly deliver advanced transport and logistics data and quality-benchmarking information to enhance public and driver safety on Australian roads.
“We are in a critical time in the logistics industry and it’s important to deliver technology that will ensure greater safety for our drivers and the communities in which we operate,” said Conrad Harvey, Chief Information Officer, Linfox. “Safety is a key issue within our industry and community and by partnering with Telstra to implement transformative technologies that allow us to better monitor and measure safety compliance throughout our fleet, we can work to reduce risk factors and enhance safe driver behaviour.”
Telstra’s IoT solution will include Samsung tablets mounted into Linfox trucks so drivers can access logbooks and complete safety checklists, and have capability, in some vehicles, for in-cabin recording of road-safety incidents.
“The technology will require our drivers to log on and complete safety checklists before they head off on the road and will allow us to gain more accurate in-cab readings of speed and distance,” said Harvey. “The devices will enable us to coordinate our vehicles efficiently, reduce congestion on the roads and above all, ensure a higher level of safety for the community.”
The deal comes three months after Telstra’s acquisition of MTData.
“Linfox is one of Australia’s largest and most successful logistics companies and we are committed to supporting its efforts to achieve safer and more efficient supply chains,” said Michelle Bendschneider, Executive Director – Global Products, Telstra. “With MTData’s expertise in delivering IoT solutions for the heavy vehicle industry, coupled with the unrivalled capability of the Telstra mobile network, we have created an innovative solution to help transform Linfox’s business.”
Logistics infrastructure company Linx Cargo Care Group has successfully bid to operate the Enfield Intermodal Terminal in Western Sydney, which is currently operated by Aurizon.
Linx will lease and operate the NSW Ports–owned, 15.1-hectare intermodal terminal located 18km from Port Botany, west of Sydney.
Linx will operate a port shuttle service between Enfield and Port Botany to reduce traffic congestion in Sydney, ahead of a forecasted increase of 400 per cent in truck traffic in the Port Botany area by 2030.
“Given the forecast for such a significant increase in road and rail congestion across Sydney over the next decade or so, Linx is committed to working closely with the New South Wales state government to develop an effective and achievable solution that will reduce the impact of increased freight movements across the city,” said Anthony Jones, CEO, Linx Cargo Care Group. “Linx has been building its rail capabilities for the past year in readiness for an opportunity like this.”
He added that part of the solution could include the duplication of the freight rail line between Port Botany and the interstate corridor mainline.
The Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre includes the intermodal terminal, warehousing, and buildings with vacant land for the development of rail-related warehousing, freight forwarding, IMEX (Import and Export), transport and distribution facilities.
“Linx is currently working closely with NSW Ports to support the development of a freight hub on the land surrounding the Enfield Intermodal Terminal,” added Jones.
Marika Calfas, CEO, NSW Ports, said one of NSW Ports’ key objectives is increasing the number of containers moved by rail to and from Port Botany.
“Linx are well placed to expand the intermodal and rail services at the Enfield ILC and grow the rail mode share to and from Australia’s premier port,” she said.
NSW Roads and Maritime Services director of compliance Roger Weeks and Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy launch Operation Rolling Thunder. Photo: NSW Police.
Following another horror month in truck-related deaths and injuries, conditions, pay, law enforcement or new trucks have all been mooted as the answer. Law enforcement
In NSW and with the cooperation of surrounding states, police launched Operation Rolling Thunder.
The operation, involving NSW Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) and the NSW, Victorian, Queensland, ACT and South Australian Police Forces, was claimed to be Australia’s largest heavy vehicle operation ever. Police were cracking down on truck compliance across the country, including vehicle safety, driving hours and fatigue, load compliance and DUI.
On the day there were over 300 NSW police involved directly, over 150 RMS inspectors, and the three other states and the ACT.
Police were covering every entry and exit into NSW and all of the Sydney metropolitan area. They were targeting all of the major motorways, and police and RMS were set up at all major checking stations throughout the state. Are new trucks the answer?
Industry body the Truck Industry Council (TIC), which represents no fewer than 17 truck brands in Australia, called on the Federal Government to incentivise Australian truck operators to invest in newer, safer and more sustainable vehicles.
The response has been triggered by shock revelations that truck deaths in NSW rose during 2017 by a staggering 86 per cent. Road deaths involving trucks leaped from 29 to 54 last year.
Phil Taylor, president of the TIC called for the Government to prioritise in the 2018/19 federal budget the modernisation of Australia’s truck fleet.
“Increasing the take-up rate of today’s more advanced trucks means everyone benefits from our roads being populated with safer fleets.
“Having been around trucks and the Australian road transport industry since the late seventies, I can verify that significant improvements have been made in regard to truck and road safety,” Mr Taylor said.
In 2017, the average age of the Australian truck fleet was 14.9 years, and with the national freight task continually expanding, this figure is set to rise. Hence, the TIC has long called on government for genuine support in helping operators upgrade their fleets to a more robust safety standard. What about pay and conditions?
The transport Workers Union has long been calling for an examination of truck drivers’ pay and conditions, and believes recent events reinforce that call.
Three horrific crashes and a $468,000 wage theft case confirm that the transport industry is in crisis, the TWU has warned.
The union has sought to bring the following to the public’s attention:
Five people, including three truck drivers, have been killed in three separate truck crashes in NSW, one in Dubbo in which two people were killed after a truck hit their car while waiting at roadworks, and another that caused the M1 to be closed for over 15 hours.
The Fair Work Ombudsman announced that SA based transport operator Atkins Freight has been forced to pay $468,000 in backpay and fines to 10 of its drivers.
“The Federal Government has blood on its hands over these deaths. It was warned repeatedly not to shut down an independent road safety watchdog because deaths on the roads would increase. Its own report on the tribunal showed its Orders were cutting trucks crashes by 28%. Families and communities are being torn apart while all we get from the government is silence,” said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon.
“Official statistics show a 9.4% increase in deaths from truck crashes nationally. The figured for NSW spiked significantly with an 86% jump in deaths from articulated trucks. New Safe Work Australia data for 2017 showed almost 40% of all workplace deaths involved a transport worker. Despite overall workplace deaths decreasing last year, the number of transport workers killed on the job jumped to 66, up from 57 in 2016.
“The wage theft case shows what drivers face – they are under pressure to speed and drive gruelling hours to meet unrealistic deadlines and all the while they are being ripped off their wages. There is a crisis in transport that is being caused right at the top of the supply chain – by the wealthy retailers and manufacturers financially squeezing operators and drivers. The Federal Government is standing by and letting this and the deaths happen. This crisis reflects a total failure of the federal administration,” said Mr Sheldon.
“The trucking community, including the Australian Trucking Association, must come on board and back a sustainable solution to the crisis in trucking. Band-aid solutions will not stop truck drivers and other road users from being slaughtered.”
US labour union Teamsters has demanded that US delivery company UPS provide assurances that deliveries will not be automated through the use of drones or self-driving vehicles, as a part of a new collective bargaining agreement, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Teamsters represents the interests of more than 260,000 UPS employees in the US, and has a total membership base of more than 1.3 million workers. Business Insider notes that UPS and other delivery companies including DHL and FedEx are looking into automation technology to cope with increasing delivery volumes brought about through the rise of e-commerce, and the country’s truck driver shortage.
In early 2017, UPS conducted a drone delivery trial, through which a drone would launch from the UPS van and complete parcel deliveries to addresses close by, while drivers also completed deliveries.
Research company Pew found in a 2017 of US adults that 72 per cent were worried about automated technology taking jobs, and 58 per cent supported government restrictions on the number of roles businesses can replace with machines.
Western Australia’s McGowan Government has implemented financial incentives to reduce truck congestion and get more freight on rail to Fremantle Port.
As committed prior to the last election, the container rail subsidy increased from $30 to $50 per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) from 1 January 2018.
The plan aims to reduce truck traffic on roads around Fremantle Port by encouraging more freight on rail.
The Western Australian Government’s integrated plan for freight and trade includes a target to boost rail mode share to 20 per cent – an increase of approximately five per cent.
The subsidy will be paid for all loaded containers that move between North Quay Rail Terminal (NQRT), Forrestfield and Kwinana, as well as for containers filled with hay received by rail at NQRT for export.
“Increasing the rail share for container haulage is one of several initiatives to improve efficiencies at the Inner Harbour to facilitate trade growth until additional port facilities are viable,” the Government said in a statement, adding that others include supporting the development of the Westport: Port and Environs Strategy; development of the broader rail supply chain, including intermodal facilities; and upgrading road infrastructure linkages around the inner harbour.
“The rail service plays a significant role in achieving greater efficiency in the container supply chain as well as improving community amenity and environmental benefits along metropolitan roads that link to Fremantle Port,” said Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“That is why the McGowan Government has delivered on its election commitment to increase the container rail subsidy to encourage more container movements on the port rail service.”
After speaking last week of the importance of freight-friendly urban planning, Australian Logistics Council (ALC) Managing Director Michael Kilgariff has further commented on the realities of banning commercial vehicles from using certain zones and routes.
“A central business district is, first and foremost, a place of business,” said Kilgariff. “If we want businesses to grow and create jobs, then ensuring they can get their goods delivered in a timely fashion is a fairly basic requirement.
“At the moment, a lack of adequate street loading zones, as well as new residential and commercial buildings with poor (or non-existent) freight delivery facilities are already making CBD delivery a more cumbersome and costly exercise.”
Kilgariff noted that banning vehicles from city centres altogether is “neither realistic nor desirable,” and suggestions that bicycle deliveries alone could accommodate the freight needs of CBD businesses and residents in high-rise CBD apartment complexes are “pure fantasy.”
“You cannot deliver a large screen TV, or a family’s weekly groceries, using a bicycle,” he added. “Our planning systems must facilitate efficient freight movement, while also protecting amenity.
“The movement of freight is essential to the everyday functionality of Australia’s cities. Without policy changes that facilitate greater efficiency in freight delivery, the primary purpose of our CBDs – to be places of business – is in jeopardy.”