Trailer Magazine

Doing more with less

  • From the November 2017 issue.
Doing more with less

Road tanker manufacturer, ATE Tankers, and Independent Fuel Distributor, Liberty Oil, have teamed up to develop a new tanker concept.

The highly competitive nature of the bulk fuel transport sector prompts Australia’s operators and tanker manufacturers to think outside of the standard trailer combinations to dream up highly efficient designs.
Such is the case for independent fuel distributor Liberty Oil, which has over 40 years of experience in the industry. Now boasting a fleet of 73 vehicles, Liberty Oil National Operations Manager, Allan Belfrage, says the fuel expert sought assistance from Melbourne-based tanker specialist, ATE Tankers, for its latest tanker combination concept.

“The fuel game is very hard, there are a lot of competitors,” Allan says. “If we can find a way to move more fuel the same distance to our customers, they can offer more competitive prices to the end user.”

While it may seem logical to transport more fuel by simply investing in larger tanker combinations, Allan says a difficulty arises in ensuring the vehicles possess the manoeuvrability required to access the delivery sites. “In particular, some of the regional service stations have tight spaces to access,” he says. “So, together with ATE we have developed a 23m short B-double that can carry the payload of a 25m B-double, with the manoeuvrability of a 20m B-double.”

The combination – pulled by a new Kenworth T610 SAR prime mover, has just hit the road, running from the Liberty Oil Melbourne depot to metro service stations, as well as trips up to the New South Wales border and on to Griffith. “Everyone is very excited about the new concept, and we think the ATE tankers on a Kenworth T610 is a perfect combination,” Allan says. “The combination boasts a new livery design too, so it certainly stands out.”

Allan says one of the main reasons he turned to ATE to build the tankers is the fact that the manufacturer is Australian owned and operated – much like Liberty Oil. “We are an Australian company, so we think it’s very important to support Australian businesses – particularly in the manufacturing sector, “ Allan says. “When you’re shopping for tankers these days, it seems like there are a number of builders importing from overseas at lower prices. We were very surprised to learn that ATE is just as price competitive as the imported vehicles and the quality is second to none.”

The preference for Australian manufacturing also played a part in the Kenworth prime mover procurement process, Allan adds, but more importantly ensured that the local manufacturers were fully aware of the country’s regulations and compliance requirements. “We run under the mass management program and meet all the latest standards, including using road friendly suspension, underrun protection and stability control,” Allan adds.

Purchasing brand new equipment ensures the fleet features the latest in technology, which Allan says is important for keeping drivers and the road using public a lot safer. “While changes to compliance over the years means tighter legislation, we’re ahead of the pack and keeping the community safe,” he says.

The Liberty Oil business is no stranger to changes, having begun in 1984 as a Solo service station – a far cry from the major fuel transport and distribution firm it is today. However, some parts of the business are still the same today, Allan says. “David Wieland and David Goldberger started the company together and are both still heavily involved in the business,” he explains. “Liberty Oil is 50 per cent owned by Viva Energy and 50 per cent privately, so the business is a good balance of a corporate and family operation.”

The family oriented business makes a big impact on the day-to-day management of the business, Allan says, particularly when it comes to making new concepts like the short 23m B-double a reality. “While the two Davids have a big involvement in the business, they’re not overbearing, they don’t micro manage, and they put their confidence in their people,” he says. “It’s a good feeling.”

Fast Fact
According to Managing Director, Dan Mejak, ATE Tankers is an Australian company with almost two decades of experience in engineering and manufacturing integrated road tanker solutions, and is embarking on another period of exceptional growth. “ATE’s competitive advantage is grounded by its commitment to operating with integrity, accountability and a relentless effort to go above and beyond what is expected,” he says. “ATE has a firm understanding of what it means to be an Australian manufacturer of the future, and is continuing to embrace change such as automation, digitisation and new materials.”

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