Trailer Magazine

Cool, calm and collected

  • From the March 2019 issue.
Cool, calm and collected

Having Carrier Transicold’s Supra refrigeration units fitted across Nature’s Cargo’s entire fleet gives the business added confidence that it can continue to meet and exceed the expectations of its loyal customer base.

Based in Ballarat in Victoria’s Central Highlands, with a second distribution centre in Traralgon, Nature’s Cargo specialises in the distribution of dry, frozen and chilled food products to the food service industry right across the state.

A true family business, it was started by current Managing Director, Graham Wilkie, in the early 1980s. Through a continued commitment to providing exceptional customer service, the business has continued to go from strength to strength. Today it carries around 7,000 different product lines to a wide client base that includes everything from restaurants, pubs and clubs through to sporting facilities, hospitals and schools.
Ben Wilkie works alongside his father as Sales Manager, while his sister Emily works in procurement. They have another two sisters who also work within the business part-time.

Nature’s Cargo’s fleet of 30 rigids, ranging in size from four to 14 pallet, are all fitted with Carrier’s Supra refrigeration units, giving the business greater versatility as every truck can be used to carry every one of its products.

“All of the trucks are set up so they can run at three temperature zones. The larger trucks feature two refrigeration units and we use insulated walls internally to separate dry, refrigerated and frozen,” explains Ben, adding that the business has continued to purchase all of its refrigerated units from Carrier Transicold for over 15 years.

Put to the test under some of the most demanding operating conditions both in Australia and around the world, Carrier’s Supra range of diesel truck refrigeration units have gained reputation for performance and reliability. Over the years, the design and construction of the Supra range has continued to evolve to meet the needs of Carrier’s customers.

And Ben agrees, “The Supra units from Carrier are very reliable – we rarely have an issue. They are also very quiet. One of the things we really like about them is that they don’t rattle much. On the truck, the refrigeration unit sits right above the driver’s head. With the Supra units, you don’t even hear them start up out on the highway.

He adds, “Carrier also has some exciting technology coming into the market shortly that will eliminate the need to have a diesel engine in the unit.”

To reduce environmental impact without sacrificing performance, Carrier now offers refrigeration units that run entirely on hydro-electric power generated by a truck’s ultra-clean Euro 5 or Euro 6 engine – cutting emissions and maintenance costs, and improving fuel efficiency.

This new technology operates with Carrier Transicold’s ECO-DRIVE GenSet unit to harvest power from the truck’s engine. When mounted to a commercial vehicle, the ECO-DRIVE GenSet is driven by a unique hydraulic pump connected to the truck’s PTO. The hydraulic system drives a generator that delivers electrical power to the host Carrier Transicold unit, without any requirement for the refrigeration unit to use its own diesel engine.

At Nature’s Cargo, trucks are loaded at night, then leave early in the morning before returning late in the afternoon. Being a regional distributor, the company clocks up a lot of kilometres, making reliability extremely important. “If a truck breaks down 400 kilometres away from Melbourne, carrying thousands of dollars worth of temperature-sensitive food, then all of that stock needs to be written off. In our line of work, reliability is everything. We place a lot of trust in the Carrier brand, and its products have always been very good to us.”

It’s not uncommon for the business to have all of its trucks out on the road at any given time, so if there is ever an issue, it needs to be addressed immediately. “The service we receive from our equipment suppliers is very important to us, because we do use our whole fleet every day, six days a week, so we can’t afford to have trucks out of action because that impacts on the service we can provide for our customers. We’ve found Carrier’s service to be exceptional. They are very quick to respond to our needs. We can call them and know that they will have someone here that same day and that’s very important for us,” says Ben. “Food safety is a huge part of our industry. Products have to be delivered at the right temperature – not just most of the time, it has to be all of the time.”

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