Ahead of the curve

Brian ‘Spud’ Murphy has been a dedicated member of the transport industry for 35 years. He has built a solid reputation for achieving excellence in fleet management through his relentless quest to improve operational and equipment performance and efficiency.

Spud is the National Fleet and Logistics Manager at LogicHaul, a medium-sized Brisbane-based trucking firm that specialises in masonry and building materials haulage along the eastern seaboard.

Prior to this, he managed a fleet of road train fuel tankers with DirectHaul in the Northern Territory, home to some of the harshest operating conditions in Australia.

He started his career 35 years ago as an apprentice diesel mechanic with Detroit Diesel at a time when the 6V71, 8V71 and 8V92 two-stroke diesels were popular choices in the heavy-duty scene.

In the mid-1980s the revolutionary Detroit Diesel Series 60 four-stroke engine – the first heavy-duty diesel to incorporate electronic engine management – made its debut. For Spud, this helped add another dimension to his mechanical expertise.

“Since then I’ve been involved in the trucking industry in various roles, most recently as Fleet Manager for fuel haulage company DirectHaul in the Northern Territory, a position I held for 11 years,” he says. 

Some three years ago Spud made a significant ‘sea change’, moving from Darwin where he was born and raised to Brisbane where he became a shareholder in LogicHaul, a company based at Yatala that delivers palletised construction products including bricks, blocks, pavers, pylons, sleepers and sand along the eastern seaboard.

In his current role, Spud is charged with the task of keeping the fleet working as efficiently as possible and introducing the most reliable and fit-for-purpose prime movers and trailers to progressively replace the older units. 

Commenting on his extensive experience and how this enables him to spec a fleet of trucks for the best possible performance, Spud says his time with DirectHaul taught him much about product durability in the harshest of conditions.

“We did a lot of modifying and were involved in the development of ultra-robust components to suit our off-road operations at DirectHaul,” Spud remarks.

“We invited suspension engineers from Hendrickson in the USA to come out and witness our operating conditions for themselves,” he continues. “They were blown away by what they saw and this enabled them to better understand how they could improve their products to suit this arduous application.”

Spud adds that building good relationships with equipment and component suppliers is crucial to the success of any transport business.

“It’s important to invite and encourage them to understand your specific operational requirements and conditions in order to better facilitate product improvements and reduce down time.”

In 2011 Spud was awarded the Craig Roseneder Award which recognises technical and fleet maintenance excellence at the Australian Trucking Association’s Technical & Maintenance conference.

Among his many achievements at DirectHaul were the introduction of industry health and safety procedures such as vehicle fault reporting, along with isolation lockouts and other emergency management procedures to mitigate the seriousness of tanker rollover incidents.

Industry Icon
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers. Industry Icon is a series dedicated to honouring the unsung heroes of the commercial road transport industry.

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