Trailer Magazine

Ticking the right BoXes

  • From the October 2019 issue.
Ticking the right BoXes

With a lighter tare weight, enhanced stability and greater versatility, the Step-Over is the latest incarnation of the O’Phee BoXLoader from The Drake Group. ACFS Port Logistics was among the first to take advantage of this innovative new trailer concept, with nine units now ordered in the company’s national fleet.

Transporting over 1.2 million 20ft equivalent units per annum, ACFS Port Logistics is Australia’s largest privately owned logistics operator. The business operates nationwide, with five depots strategically located in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Fremantle.

The sizeable trailer fleet is 1,100 strong, featuring a mix of skels, side loaders, flat tops and curtain siders. ACFS has been welcoming O’Phee branded trailers into its fleet for a quite a substantial number of years. Testament to the brand’s strength and durability, ACFS National Fleet and Compliance Manager, Alan Guest, says there is an O’Phee trailer in the fleet that was purchased in 1988 and is still going strong.

Today, ACFS operates 52 O’Phee trailers – a mixture of skels and BoXLoaders. The nine newest additions, the O’Phee Step-Over BoXLoaders, began rolling in from March this year.

Developed by O’Phee Trailers together with BoXLoader in France, the new Step-Over concept was unveiled for the first time to the Australian market at the Brisbane Truck Show in May – and the unit displayed was actually one of those owned by ACFS.

Key to the Step-Over’s design is its updated leg configuration and lower tare weight. Rather than the leg coming straight down, it folds over to offer greater stability when a container is being unloaded from or loaded onto the trailer. This also provides enhanced strength and makes the trailer more versatile.

The Step-Over features double stacking, trailer-to-trailer transfer, trailer-to-ground transfer, kneeling and a lifting capacity of 35 tonnes.

“The Step-Over is up to two tonne lighter than some of the other side loaders available in the market. It’s all about the three pillars of mass management: the right dimensions, the right loads and the right mass. So if a trailer is two tonne lighter, we can carry two tonne more on top,” says Alan. “The Step-Over makes it much easier and simpler to load and unload in confined spaces. Efficiency is what it’s all about, so this model is a much better solution to our needs.”

ACFS was quick to recognise the benefits of the O’Phee BoXLoader, purchasing its first units when the original models were released to the market in 2011. Over that time, Alan says the BoXLoaders have continued to serve the business well.

He adds that the lighter tare weight and added flexibility of the Step-Over model adds to an already impressive product. “The chassis is made from high tensile steel and is a lot lighter and the actual cranes on top also aren’t as heavy. This means we’re able to get a much higher payload”.

“In transport, it’s all about weight and that’s a real standout with the Step-Over BoXLoader. Side loaders have been around for many years but this is a real leap forward in weight saving.”

As with any transport operation, safety is paramount for ACFS. “It’s the number one key. We need to make sure everyone who goes to work comes home safe,” says Alan.

The added safety benefits of the O’Phee Step-Over BoXLoader were another drawcard for ACFS, with inbuilt CANBUS safety features and a dual speed remote offered as standard.

As ACFS is a 24-hour-a-day operation, with work conducted in daylight hours as well as overnight, the position of working lights was also important to the business. “When working with O’Phee at The Drake Group, nothing is ever too hard. We required some small modifications and the business was very accommodating. We changed the location of some of the lights, added emergency shut-offs and wanted all of the functions labelled so there is no guesswork in selecting what everything does. It’s important for drivers to know where everything is and that’s something we emphasise to ensure clarity,” says Alan.

“Across the fleet, we also specify three steps on our prime movers instead of two for easier access into the cab and smaller fuel tanks, as we operate locally not line haul so we don’t need the extra weight.” With the new O’Phee Step-Over BoXLoaders already surpassing expectations, there may be more of these added to the ACFS in the near future, building on an already rock-solid relationship that has endured for decades – and will likely continue for decades more.

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