Trailer Magazine

Gaining ground

  • From the February 2018 issue.
Gaining ground

To help it keep up with the increasing customer demands for its transport services, Victorian company, Gibsons Groundspread, has grown its fleet with a number of new trailers fitted with SAF-Holland running gear.

Rosedale-based transport business, Gibsons Groundspread, has been distributing farm commodities to the Victorian population for 65 years, since Bill Gibson started carting firewood, split posts and bagged fertiliser to the local farmers of Yarram in 1953. Much has stayed consistent over those years, with the third generation of the Gibson family now managing the transport business.

Over the last year or so, Gibsons Groundspread has experienced something of a growth spurt across its two divisions. In its Gippsland-centered fertiliser spreading business, Gibsons has grown to a fleet of 25 trucks and fertiliser spreaders with the addition of two new vehicles delivered at the end of 2017.
The company’s road freight division, Gibsons Logistics, carries bulk cargoes of fertiliser, lime, green waste, compost, aggregate and grain across Victoria, up to the New South Wales border and as far west as Mount Gambier.

Gibsons Logistics now boasts a fleet of 29 trucks and 28 trailer combinations, including six new moving floor A-doubles that were handed over between December 2017 and January 2018.

According to Gibsons Groundspread OH&S & Compliance Officer, Peter Harbridge, the A-doubles were necessary equipment to meet the requirements of a new green waste transport contract in Melbourne. “We had a long-term customer of ours come to us with a request to carry out a new contract, as they were happy with the job we were already doing with them and wanted to expand the relationship,” Peter says. “The Performance-Based Standards (PBS, ed.) approved A-doubles are already hard at work across Victoria.”

Peter says tanker combinations seen in the Murray Goulburn haulage fleet inspired the A-double design, which boast a steerable axle setup. “We approached SAF-Holland for advice on how to best set up the axle groups on the A-doubles, and soon found that steer axles weren’t necessary for our application,” Peter says. “SAF-Holland was very helpful throughout the configuration process and having its own in-house PBS knowledge through Adam Ritzinger is a great benefit.”

In the end, the A-doubles were fitted with SAF-Holland Intradisc plus Integral axle and suspension systems, which Peter says a number of his colleagues in the industry recommended based on their reliability. “When I was first investigating the trailer combinations, some other operators told me how happy they were with their SAF-Holland gear,” Peter says. “There was a lot of good feedback from informed people in the industry, and so far the equipment is living up to the feedback.”

Tare weight was another important consideration, Peter says, in terms of maximising the payloads of the combination on specific routes. “The trailers run as A-doubles where possible, but when they’re off route they revert to a B-double gross weight,” Peter explains. “To make them as productive as possible, we needed to minimise tare weight and the Intradisc is one of the lightest options on the market.”

Peter says the six-year, one million kilometre warranty that SAF-Holland offers on all of its equipment was a big factor, as well as the low maintenance requirement for the components.

“We knew the company is going to continue growing quickly in a short amount of time and we will be adding more equipment to the fleet than we can maintain in our workshop,” Peter says. “So, minimising the maintenance for the equipment is a big attraction for us, otherwise we couldn’t keep on top of it all with minimal personnel.”

By eliminating the need for U-bolts, clamping plates, axles seats and nuts, the Intradisc system requires less maintenance than alternative designs, allowing the user’s equipment to clock up more hours working, rather than sitting in a workshop. The low maintenance unit is also completely sealed, so no dirt or debris can penetrate through to the inner parts and compromise the integrity.

As Gibsons Groundspread continues to grow, Peter says the next stage will likely see the company develop a new fleet of tippers.

“We saw 50 per cent fleet growth in two months and now all the new trailers are on the road, so it’s straight on to the next project,” Peter says.

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