Trailer Magazine

Attention to detail

  • From the June 2018 issue.
Attention to detail

Based in Albany, Western Australia, Jamie Belfield is very particular when it comes to the quality and presentation of his fleet. So when it came time to purchase a new pocket road train tipper combination, he turned to a manufacturer he knew and trusted – General Transport Equipment.

Specialising in grain, fertiliser and lime haulage, J&K Belfield is a locally owned and operated family business run by Jamie Belfield, who has been in the transport game for over 20 years. He started his career in the industry working together with his father, John Belfield, predominantly carting silica sand from a nearby mine to the Albany port. Slowly they built up the grain component of the business, and eventually expanded into fertilisers as well.

In 2016, Jamie decided to go out on his own and J&K Belfield was born. He operates a small fleet of two tipper combinations, which are used for grain, fertiliser and lime, along with two sets of tankers that are dedicated to transporting Flexi-n, a type of liquid fertiliser.

Jamie had his first dealing with GTE when it came time to replace one of his tanker combinations. Impressed by the quality and service, Jamie decided to purchase a new set of grain tippers from the manufacturer as well.

“Based in Perth, GTE is a local builder. I know of one of the bigger companies over here that uses GTE, and I have a friend who has a few sets from them too. He has never had any issues. They did a great job with my tankers as well, which have been problem-free since purchasing them,” says Jamie.

The new pocket road train, consisting of a 9.4m lead trailer, tri dolly and 10.1m tag trailer, was delivered in April and put straight to work. Operating within a 500km radius of Albany, the combination is used predominantly for grain coming out of the small towns of Borden, Tambellup and Pingrup in Western Australia’s Great Southern agricultural region; however it will also be used to cart fertiliser. 

“The new GTE tippers are very good,” Jamie says. “After I picked them up, I got home and had a look underneath. I checked every bolt and every clamp and was really impressed. Everything is just spot on, there is nothing rubbing, the hydraulics were all pressure tested. I could hook them up and get a load straight away. I was pleasantly surprised at just how neat everything was.”

Operating under permit, Jamie is achieving payloads of up to 66.4 tonne with his new pocket road train, which he says equates to a 400kg advantage over his previous tipper combination. “We are also getting an additional 10 cubic metres than what we were achieving in the older tippers,” Jamie says. “That’s one of the main reasons we chose to go for aluminium this time. You can fit a bit more product in and don’t have the same issues with rust, which can happen with steel when you’re carting fertiliser, as it can be quite corrosive.”

GTE’s grain tippers are custom built, meaning they can be made to any size or specification, within the road regulations. Though Jamie chose to go for aluminium for his tipper combination, GTE also offers mild steel and Hardox high tensile steel as options.

The company has manufactured tippers for over 30 years. Many of its trailer builders have been with the business long term, and some are even second generation, following in the footsteps of their fathers.

As GTE deals with all of the major OEM suppliers, customers are offered a wide range of options when it comes to suspension, axles and braking systems.

For additional weight savings, Jamie opted for a Fuwa K-Hitch three-leaf parabolic suspension, K-Hitch disc brake axles and Alcoa alloy wheels. Other features include additional work lights for loading at night and Ringfeder couplings.

“These sets have parabolic springs instead of normal leaf springs, so they are a little bit softer on the trailer and not so harsh when travelling. Usually when you buy a new trailer, because nothing has worn in yet, they can move around a bit, but these ones have been really good from the start. The Ringfeder sits further in on the chassis than normal which is good when unloading, you don’t get any product on all your fittings,” says Jamie.

For added safety, the combination also features a door at the front. “It makes it a lot easier for cleaning because you don’t have to climb over the top – it’s a great safety feature. And if we do need to climb in from the top, the ladders on the back mean we can climb in with ease,” Jamie adds.

He also requested that both trailers be at level heights because they normally tow and handle better, and the dolly drawbar provided by GTE is a little different, which makes the combination easier to work around when hooking up. 

“I’m really happy with the trailers,” says Jamie. “And I’m hoping to grow my fleet down the track. As a small operator, I was really impressed with the service from GTE. They really took the time to talk to me and ensure everything was in check.”

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