Cartage Australia: One of a kind

Melbourne company Cartage Australia is one of the first in the world that has relinquished the concept of prescriptive vehicle design and created a fleet that is 100 per cent Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approved. Yet, if you ask founders Ray Cauchi and Wayne Vella how they feel about crafting what could be the most progressive quarry transport service in the world, the response is exceedingly modest.

“It’s fascinating to think about how far we’ve come by embracing PBS, but we’re not doing it for the fame,” says Ray. “We haven’t gone down that path because we wanted to write history, but because there was a problem that needed solving. We’re in the quarry business, where the competition is fierce and the work is tough, so standing still can be economically fatal.”

According to Ray, working in the payload-driven bulk haulage industry helped keep the focus firmly on productivity and embrace PBS early on. “The extreme focus on payload in our line of work has certainly inspired us to make some bold decisions in the past,” he says. “More importantly, we work in a high-risk environment, so safety is always at the top of our agenda. We learned quickly that with PBS, you can increase your payload substantially without compromising on safety.”

In fact, Cartage Australia was the first company in Victoria to purchase a PBS-approved truck and four-axle dog combination in 2007, then running at a GCM of 50.5 tonnes on approved routes across the state. Now the company is running six-axle truck and dog combinations that can carry up to 49 tonnes on the back alone. “Cartage Australia embraced PBS as soon as it was available in Melbourne, but we never made any conscious decision to become a PBS-only fleet. It just happened organically.”

The result is a company with a surprisingly relaxed attitude toward the complex scheme. “Yes, PBS can be a time-consuming process, but you have to look beyond that and see the Return on Investment,” Wayne says. “We grant our clientele access to game-changing equipment that significantly improves the performance of their own businesses and gives them a competitive edge. Executing such a strategy requires us to be at the leading edge of science – and that means investing in the smartest technology out there.”

Ray and Wayne agree that by embracing modern, high productivity equipment early on, they adopted a technology mind-set that is very European in nature, with a focus on young, efficient and safe equipment. “We want to be the best at what we do, and if there is a process like PBS that can help us get there, we will embrace it wholeheartedly. It’s as easy as that.”

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