Safety sets the standard

Melbourne freight company GBR Transport takes workplace safety very seriously. In fact, it has become such a priority that it has penetrated every aspect of the business. In the equipment department, new safety solutions and build quality are equally high on the agenda, and Vawdrey is one company that can deliver on both.

Since becoming an accredited member of TruckSafe in November 2012 – the business and risk management program of the Australian Trucking Association – GBR Transport is even more committed to the TruckSafe pillars of responsible work practices, well-maintained vehicles and quality-trained, healthy staff. As a result, it’s

hardly surprising that the company is very selective about trailing equipment too.

“As part of TruckSafe, we’ve changed the way we do a lot of things,” says Paul English, General Manager of GBR Transport. “The TruckSafe standards give us confidence that our drivers are fit for work, our vehicles are roadworthy, our maintenance is up to scratch and our workshop has clear procedures to follow.”

Shortly after joining the program, GBR Transport was facing a fleet upgrade – and implemented the new work ethic on the spot, opting for five new tri-axle ‘Iceliner’ vans built by Vawdrey. All five 49-foot freezers have a capacity for up to 24 pallets and can maintain temperatures of down to -18°C – courtesy of Carrier refrigeration units.

Since all five units have already been delivered, there is a genuine air of excitement at GBR. “As a business that is still growing, this is an exciting time for us. It’s our first major order of trailers and also the first time we have dealt with Vawdrey,” Paul says.

“The trailers will be used to deliver frozen food to our supermarket clients throughout Melbourne and also to clients in regional Victoria.”

Choosing the Iceliner model wasn’t a snap decision though, as GBR would first source the advice of Vawdrey’s Sales Consultant Jim Reeves, a man familiar with the company’s multi-purpose requirements. “I’ve spent several years as a transport operator myself and GBR Transport was one of the companies I dealt with, so I was fully aware of the challenges they faced with the specification of their new trailers,” he says.

“When I discussed the trailer design with Paul and GBR founders Brad and Caroline Millett, one aspect they were very adamant about was the load restraint system for the roll cages they use to deliver frozen food, without restricting the ability to carry palletised freight.”

One key selling point that enticed GBR was Vawdrey’s ability to build their own side wall panels that integrate the load restraint straps.

“Vawdrey was able to create a customised cage restraint system that is very durable and strong and able to integrate the restraints we work buy diflucan generic with,” Paul says. “In our older equipment, the drivers had to apply the load restraint strap manually. But the pressure caused by the heavy roll cages would eventually damage the fittings and the walls they were built onto.

“Now, Vawdrey has re-positioned the fittings, and the load restraints are already integrated. This means our drivers can now wrap the restraints around the cages in a way that is strong enough to keep them secure, but without putting stress on the walls once the trailer is in transit.”

To ensure optimum protection, each Iceliner can boast a heavy-duty front wall with 100mm Styrofoam insulation and an internal and external reinforcement envelope for extra strength; combined with 40mm Styrofoam insulated side walls fitted with Kemlite scuff bands; 100mm Styrofoam insulated roof and a 100mm insulated floor; as well as an aluminium distribution forklift rated floor, fully welded with a 5mm threshold plate. “The combination of the design and insulation properties, means the thermal performance of these trailers is very impressive,” Paul explains.

To increase driver safety, Vawdrey has also built in LED lighting on the interior that is particularly useful when loading and unloading, and also during evening runs. The distribution floor has been chosen to increase driver grip when walking inside. A foldaway ladder also improves access in and out of the trailer.

From a performance perspective, Paul also notes that his drivers have been impressed with the improved maneuverability of the trailers due to the new design. “The major advantage with these Vawdrey trailers compared to some of our other equipment is when our drivers reverse into a smaller loading dock to unload, the trailer is easier to steer and can be positioned perfectly. This not only saves the trailer from getting damaged, but the surrounding area too.”

Having achieved the goal of putting five ‘safety-first’ trailers into service, Paul sees a bright future ahead for the GBR-Vawdrey partnership, especially since the latter is willing to go the extra mile to produce a flawless, risk-free design. “From the moment Vawdrey went into production, we were kept up-to-date on the manufacturing progress,” Paul says. “In fact, Vawdrey would invite us to visit their workshop on a weekly basis to see the process. That’s a level of service we can certainly identify with.”

Based in Carrum Downs, Victoria, GBR Transport is a family-owned company specialising in the delivery of frozen foods to more than 300 supermarket chains throughout Victoria that includes renowned retail entities Coles and Woolworths.

Currently, the GBR fleet consists of 13 prime movers, 30 Trailers, 23 of these are refrigerated and 13 refrigerated rigids.