Trailer Magazine

Simon National Carriers

  • Posted on Tuesday 19th, April 2011
Simon National Carriers

Since the company’s inception in 1973, Simon National Carriers has found a niche that made it become one of Australia’s most renowned haulage companies. “We are particularly good at carting freight that is awkward and difficult to handle,” National Sales Manager John Simon reveals. “Our dedication to detail makes all the difference.”

“Our services are targeted at businesses who share the desire to operate in an environment where demonstrable compliance with laws, and an emphasis on best practice safety and environmental outcomes are core elements of everything we do,” John says. “It is a dedication to detail that distinguishes Simon National Carriers, a deep-rooted understanding of Australia’s transport industry and an almost palpable devotion to duty.”

Simon’s company philosophy is based on a turbulent history dating back to 1926, when Morgan Hugh Simon founded a sawmilling business in Cooyar, 200 kilometres north west of Brisbane. “Our company grew out of that business and much of our success is because of the attitudes to business and service to clients forged in a business environment very different to transport,” says Managing Director David Simon.

The business soon began to flourish, and in 1960, the family commenced treating electric light poles. “It was the pole supply business which resulted in the company’s move into the transport industry,” David explains. In 1967, the company purchased the first truck to carry timber power poles from the Northern Rivers of New South Wales to Toowoomba for treatment and from there to power lines in Western Queensland.

“In September 1968, due to a strike affecting the shipping services carrying our timber to Darwin, Morgan took the first load of timber to Darwin by road. That event was our entry into general road transport.” Ironically this use provided a significant benefit – as the trade was interstate, no road tax applied.

As a result, Simon Transport Pty Ltd. was formed in July 1973. “Although no longer lined in any way, the timber and hardware business has notably affected the nature of Simon National Carriers,” says David Simon, who grew up working school holidays at interstate branches and began working full time in the business in 1985.

Today, the company’s line-haul fleet consists of around 140 trucks – largely Volvo on line haul, with a mix of 13L and 16L engines, and UD for the metropolitan business – and 150 trailers and about 150 containers.

“Vawdrey has been our dominant trailer supplier in recent years, though others have supplied some specifications,” says Fleet Manager Trevor Kemp. “We’ve chosen to only use BPW air suspension with EBS in recent years, as experience has shown that it provides both reliability and a cost effective whole of life cost.
“We are continually upgrading our linehaul fleet to ensure we obtain the benefits of better safety, improved fuel economy, lower vehicle emissions, reduced maintenance costs, and optimum vehicle configurations such as B-doubles and longer trailers. Therefore, we retain a large company-owned fleet to provide the best possible line-haul service to our clients. We also provide specialised trailers to customers, including open and curtain-siders of various configurations – flat deck, drop deck, mezzanine deck and extendable skels, and “prairie” wagons with a slide back roof, ensuring minimal loading time, and reduced risk of injury by eliminating the tarping process.”

Despite the ability to provide individual solutions, the company tries to keep its equipment as standard as possible to ensure that just about every piece of trailing equipment is compatible and can be matched with other items from the fleet to save operational cost – with success.
Even during depressed business cycles, Simon National Carriers has continued to expand – a result that can be largely attributed to the efforts and dedication of its staff. “Our greatest asset is undoubtedly our people,” says David Simon. “Many employees reach 20 or more years of service with Simon National Carriers.”

The company operates terminals in all state capitals including Hobart. The facilities provide both local and interstate transport services, as well as 3PL warehousing, an area that has seen considerable growth in recent years.
But Simon’s core profession is still the line haul business. “We are experts in non-retail general freight – for the most part higher value freight – which is awkward to handle,” says David. “Therefore, we continue to focus on niche markets, and have just opened our first branch outside Australia, in Auckland.”

According to David, ecological awareness is yet another growth sector – and a unique selling point as well. “Our focus on minimising our impact on the environment has remained unchanged for many years – using the minimum amount of fuel possible by ensuring equipment is well specced, as aerodynamic as practical, 90km/h speed limited, well maintained, and our drivers well trained to drive efficiently.”

Simon National Carriers has trialled various alternative fuel sources, and currently operates a Hino Hybrid. “But for the foreseeable future, we are dependent on ultra low sulphur diesel,” David admits. However, environmental protection has already found its way into the company’s philosophy: “It is our mission to provide our customers with premium freight services and confidence that the task is being completed 100 percent legally, and with minimal impact on the environment.”


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