Trailer Magazine


Laying it on the LatchLiner

  • From the June 2019 issue.
Laying it on the LatchLiner

The acquisition of three new Vawdrey LatchLiner B-doubles has considerably bolstered the Bedggood’s Transport fleet. The company specialises in the local and interstate haulage of timber and general freight along the southern and eastern seaboards between Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Sporting a striking green, yellow and white livery, the Bedggood’s Transport outfits are a regular sight on the highways and byways of eastern Victoria and interstate.

The company, headquartered at Maffra in the heart of Victoria’s picturesque East Gippsland region, was founded by Barry Bedggood in 1975, operating a lone single-drive Mercedes-Benz 1418 prime mover coupled to a 36-foot Fruehauf tandem-axle semi.

Hauling timber in various forms has been a mainstay of the business from that time forward, as Barry relates.

“I started out carting old railway sleepers, which soon progressed to newly milled timber from the Gippsland region to Melbourne then backloading bricks and other building materials,” he recalls.

From there the business steadily grew over a long period of time, employing a variety of truck and trailer brands.

The original Fruehauf unit gave way to other makes including Freighter and CIMC while the shift to curtain-siders in the early 1990s introduced the company to Vawdrey trailers. 

“By that stage we had a fleet of around 14 semis and customer demand along with the need for improved efficiency foreshadowed our move into the curtain-sider realm,” Barry says.

Today, the Bedggood’s trailer fleet numbers 36, of which Barry says around 90 per cent are curtain-siders and the remainder a mix of flat-tops and skels used for both general and container work.

The prime mover side of the equation has undergone a similar evolution with Mercedes-Benz and International being the earlier choices before a wholesale switch to Kenworth was made in 1986. Nowadays the all-KW prime mover fleet comprises 22 conventionals with examples of the new generation wide-cab models including the T610 and the newly launched T410.

“Kenworth is the prime mover of choice for us and we have an exceptionally good relationship with Gippsland Truck Centre at Bairnsdale and in particular Keith White who is Dealer Principal,” Barry says. “I’ve been dealing with Keith since the mid-‘80s and it’s the same with a lot of things we buy, the personal relationships involving established trust are paramount.”

Which leads neatly into the next question regarding his reasons for choosing Vawdrey. Barry maintains it comes down to three equally important factors – the people, the products and the after-sales service and support.

“I’ve been in this game for more than 40 years and in that time I’ve built many strong relationships with people at various suppliers,” he says.

“I’ve always maintained this is a people-oriented industry, so along with top quality products and service it’s the human relational factor that really makes the difference.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also formed good relationships with key people in other companies but at this stage our preferred trailer supplier is Vawdrey.”
Barry proceeds to elaborate on the positive features of the Vawdrey products the company uses.

“They build very good, solid trailers and while they’re not the lightest or cheapest around I believe their quality and longevity are what really counts in our business.

“Any issues we’ve had have been rectified virtually straight away, so in terms of service and backup, we couldn’t ask for more.” 

Talking specifically about the LatchLiner trailers, Barry says he is very impressed with the robust construction of the latch and hook mechanism of the curtain assemblies which he believes bodes well for a long and trouble-free service life.

He says that the majority of loads the company carries need to be individually lashed to the trailer which negates the need for load restraint rated curtains.

“When you’re mostly carting timber and the like it must be suitably strapped so there’s no point in having load restraint curtains,” he explains. “The LatchLiner is ideal for these sorts of loads, he says, adding that the smooth surface of the curtains provides the best foundation for graphics, thus enhancing fleet presentation.

“They are also easier to wash which again helps us maintain optimal fleet presence on the road. Our presentation and image are very important because that’s what people see and judge us by.”

As for staff numbers, Bedggood’s employs 34 and Barry says the drivers take a lot of pride in the gear they operate including the Kenworth prime movers and Vawdrey trailers. 

“The drivers love the LatchLiners, particularly due to the time they save not having to mess around with buckles each time they load and unload. “And at the end of the day, time saved is efficiency gained. Simple as that.”

Fast Fact
Not having the need for load restraint curtains, Bedggood’s Transport has found Vawdrey’s LatchLiner B-double combinations ideal for its timber and general freight operation. Time saved by the auto latching and smooth curtains which enhance graphics presentation are big pluses.

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