Special collaboration

Mainfreight’s egalitarian approach to fleet equipment purchasing has proven invaluable, especially when it recently picked up 18 B-double combinations from Vawdrey Australia.

‘Special People, Special Company’ has been a crucial byword representing Mainfreight’s culture since its foundation almost 40 years ago. The motto is carried with pride throughout the company’s various transport-related business units and a key element when selecting its business partners.

Mainfreight has always operated an owner-driver (OD) template and is a partnership where all parties can constantly seek improvement towards the common goal of delivering exceptional service.

When it comes to designing linehaul trailers that fit the profile of its fleet, Mainfreight turns to its longstanding providers for input, including Victorian companies Thorpes Transport and Diamond Logistics, New South Wales-based AJM Transport and Darby Freightlines, and Queensland stalwarts Armesto’s Transport and Marmax Transport.

“While technically not part of Mainfreight, these businesses represent the brand and are still part of our close-knit culture and the Mainfreight family,” says Bryan Curtis, Mainfreight National Manager, Transport Division.

“We empower them to have a voice, particularly when it comes to purchasing new equipment since they’re the experts in using it.”

Vawdrey Australia became Mainfreight’s trailer builder of choice in mid-2015 with its first upgrade program, involving 22 sets of 36 pallet B-double curtain-sider double drops. The process took several months of planning, preparation and numerous discussions with multiple stakeholders to get it right. “What really impressed me was Vawdrey’s adaptability,” says Massey Wade, Mainfreight’s National Brand & Fleet Coordinator. “Throughout the project when we required design changes or additions, Vawdrey was happy to accommodate.

“In the end, it took just eight weeks for Vawdrey to finalise the design and manufacture all curtain-sider combinations, some of which were built under the Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme.”

Mainfreight’s pre-production process was again used on its second upgrade program in mid 2016, which required another 18 sets of B-doubles – eight curtain-siders and 10 FRP vans – which were all completed and delivered in February 2017.

According to Mainfreight, the B-double curtain-sider double drops are a perfect fit for to shuttle palletised goods between Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. “We again worked closely with Vawdrey and our ODs to come up with the purpose-built designs,” Massey explains. “This time we looked at the features and benefits of the FRP units, which have worked well with our new depot layouts across the country.

“The B-double Titeliners feature double drop deck A-trailers equipped with sliding mezzanine deck posts, while the B-trailers come with three-quarter mezz deck posts, giving us maximum flexibility to load long lengths unhindered in either unit. With seven sets of mezzanine decks, we can eliminate potential damage to our customers’ freight, while maximising weight and cubic utilisation. All B-double Titeliners have also been fitted with Vawdrey’s LatchLiner curtain and Lift-A-Gate systems to secure the load and minimise the risk of shoulder injuries for loaders and drivers.”

Massey continues, “Six of those 10 B-double FRP vans are for Chemcouriers, our specialised transport division for Dangerous Goods and chemicals. The A-trailer includes a straight roll back function that backs up well into loading docks, while the B-trailer is a drop deck configuration. The FRP vans are fitted with the Ancra Lift-A-Deck system, allowing maximum utilisation of space in the trailer without damaging freight, which eliminates the need to double stack.

“Another key safety feature we specified in the FRP B-doubles is the 20-litre drainage tank underneath the trailer to help absorb any chemical spillages. This particular design also took months to prepare and involved input from our ODs and Vawdrey.”

Looking ahead to what 2017 will bring, Bryan and Massey are confident that the processes put in place with every Vawdrey purchase will continue to pay off.

“Vawdrey is now aware of our fleet requirements and always keeps us in the loop with new developments and technology on the horizon,” Massey says, revealing that Mainfreight is always looking at ways to enhance productivity and safety for its ODs and customers.

“Vawdrey’s proactive communication, combined with our strong relationships with the ODs, enables us to focus on the future of the business. It’s a special dynamic that reflects Mainfreight’s company motto.”