Trailer Magazine

Going above and beyond

  • From the August 2018 issue.
Going above and beyond

Getting eight new A-double tanker combinations on the road all at once is an ambitious task that requires a great deal of preparation. Thanks to the high levels of service and support offered by tanker manufacturer, Byford Equipment, Reeve Transport made the transition without a hitch.

Reeve Transport is a milk haulage business, which is now in its third generation. Started by husband and wife duo, Patrick and Jean Smith, in 1960, it has continued to grow
and flourish.

Like many successful transport businesses, Reeve Transport started from humble beginnings, when Patrick began picking up milk in cans for Bega Cheese on the back of an old flat top. Since then, the relationship with Bega has continued to grow for over 50 years.
“The business went from my grandfather to my parents,” says Managing Director, Brett Reeve. “We moved from flat tops to rigid tankers, then progressed to semi trailers, and from there we have progressed to A-doubles.”

Today, the fleet is comprised of ten 26m A-double tanker combinations and eight 19m semis. Reeve Transport has been a loyal customer of Byford’s for over 10 years. Almost the entire tanker fleet has been supplied by Byford, which also has roots in the dairy business. The manufacturer started out repairing milk tankers in 1975, before moving into manufacturing as demand grew. Byford also pioneered a number of innovations in milk transport including the inclusion of the first computerised milk volume metering equipment in Australia in the mid 1990s.

“Any new tanker we purchase is from Byford,” says Brett. “We like to keep our equipment the same wherever possible so that it all becomes standard. We have several of our features we like to include so they are customised to our work and the environment in which they are used. Byford is always very accommodating of our needs.”

Reeve Transport operates along Australia’s east coast, picking up milk from over 250 farms located throughout the Bega Valley in New South Wales, Canberra, and the Goulburn Valley and East Gippsland in Victoria. Reeve Transport’s main headquarters is in Bega, but the business also has a depot in Nowra, and has now begun working across the border for Tatura, with a depot at Shepparton.
It’s an around the clock operation, with equipment running seven days a week, every day of the year.
Opened at the beginning of June, the Shepparton depot in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley is the company’s newest site and home to the fleet of eight new custom Performance-Based Standards–approved A-doubles by Byford. With the new contract came new thinking.

Brett says Reeve Transport began implementing PBS-approved A-doubles into the fleet in 2016. “We were already involved with Higher Mass Limits through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, so it was another progression to move into PBS.” Initially Brett thought he would have to use a mix of vehicle configurations including A-doubles and singles, however the performance of the A-doubles has allowed him to rethink the need to use any
singles again.

“The A-doubles are higher mass combinations that offer higher productivity,” he explains.

Once Brett took on the challenge of collecting milk for the new Tatura contract, Compliance Manager at Byford Equipment, Chris Nisbet, began work on gaining the required access. “The Byford 26m A-double has become the farm collection vehicle of choice with most of the Victorian-based milk collection companies now using these as their go-to unit,” says Chris, who worked closely with Brett and his compliance team, and several councils, to achieve a smooth transition.

The new A-doubles hit the road on 1 June 2018, to coincide with the opening of the Shepparton depot. “It was a big task and a difficult one. It wasn’t an easy transition, but the equipment from Byford provided outstanding performance. We didn’t have the opportunity for any dry runs. The tankers were put straight on the road, so we had to be confident we could get in and around the farms,” Brett says.

To ensure access into each of the required farm sites, Brett undertook a series of on-farm assessments, using his prior experience with A-doubles to understand their performance out in the field. “Generally, if you can get a 19m B-double in, you can get an A-double in too. These A-doubles include steerable axles on the A trailer, B trailer and dolly to further enhance manoeuvrability.”

Given the complexities of the road network being used and the councils involved, achieving 100 per cent farm access was no easy feat. “Just as we did in Gippsland with the SRH Milk Haulage start up last year, hard work and persistence paid off, making Byford the team to come to for complete farm access and 26m A-doubles,” adds Chris.

Brett says getting the tankers on the road also involved a series of steps to ensure quality assurance. “We needed to make sure everything was in check when the tankers left Byford, and when they came to us in Shepparton; and Byford was supportive all the way through.”

To assist with the transition, Byford ensured staff were on stand-by, with four service technicians on site for the day, and additional weekend support provided in case of any issues.

“Gary Byford came down and made himself and his team very available on that first day and throughout the first week. There is always the chance of little pieces coming loose when equipment is settling in, but the Byford tankers stood up really well. Meeting the delivery deadline was also a large task. I can’t speak highly enough of Gary and his team,” adds Brett. “Byford gives us a lot of confidence because we know the support is there. Gary has always led the industry in innovation and design with competitors scrambling to keep up. Byford doesn’t only build an excellent product, but backs up and supports its products too.”

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