From its base in Dandenong South, Wettenhall Logistics operates a modern sophisticated fleet. The company was established almost eight years ago and is family owned and operated, with Scott as Managing Director, his wife June as Financial Controller along with their two Sons Christopher and Blade in Operations. In fact, the Wettenhall family has a long history in transport that dates as far back as the 1600s, when the family sold its farm in England to purchase barges in order to cart freight through the canals. It would seem that transport has become innate for members of the Wettenhall family, with each generation playing a role in transport in one form or another over the past 400 years.
Today, Wettenhall Logistics aims to provide its customers with a total logistics solution – from transport and warehousing through to destruction and disposal of damaged goods.
Container transport is a large part of the company’s operations and approximately 50 skeletal trailers are used to transport containers to and from Melbourne’s waterside areas 24 hours a day. These containers can be transported directly to the customer or held at the container storage area at the Dandenong facility for later delivery.
Wettenhall Logistics came across CIMC in 2007 when Scott Wettenhall approached then Victoria Sales Manager for CIMC Vehicle Australia, Brian Dick, after having numerous dealings with him in the past. The time was right to add new trailers to the fleet and Scott trusted Brian to deliver what he had promised – and indeed he did.
Following a successful six month trial of a CIMC B-double skel and semi trailer skel, Wettenhall Logistics made the decision to place its first order with CIMC Vehicle Australia. By April 2007, six B-double skeletal combinations were received and put to work which saw Wettenhall Logistics became the first official trailer customer in the history of CIMC Vehicle Australia.
What set these trailers apart from other skels in the industry were many of the design features, for instance the unique new generation twistlock beams which are designed to prevent guard damage, the twistlock safety locking devices, among others. A competitive tare weight and competitive price were also attractive to Wettenhall Logistics. This low tare weight is attributed to the high tensile steel used in the construction of the trailer components such as the new generation twistlock beams and the trailer main beams that are fully welded top and bottom on either side, thus also providing extra structural strength, as well as some other critical assemblies.
Wettenhall Logistics is well known for its impeccable modern fleet, so when the time came to increase and enhance its trailer fleet in 2010, they looked no further than the trailers they know are tried and true. Scott approached National Sales Manager, Mike Taylor. Encompassing over 30 years in the industry, Mike joined the CIMC Vehicle Australia team in 2008 as Sales Manager for Victoria and the Western Region before being promoted into his current position earlier this year. By working closely with Mike and Hector Ojea, Scott was able to order six B-double skels that reflected the exacting needs of the company. “I discussed all the details and the extra features I wanted for my B-double trailers with Hector, who is always willing to go the extra mile in the designs to ensure companies like ours get the best benefits from the equipment.” Scott remarks.
Since his first dealings with the trailer manufacturer over three years ago, Scott has developed a very strong working relationship with the entire team at CIMC Vehicle Australia. And as such, Scott and his son Chris Wettenhall were invited to attend the Fifth Annual CIMC Trailer conference in Shenzhen, China in September 2008. Both shared a table with CIMC Vehicle Australia General Manager Hector Ojea, along with several high profile Australian customers.
But the relationship between the two companies extends even further than merely customer and supplier. CIMC Vehicle Australia also relies on Wettenhall Logistics for the transportation of its containers and flat racks from the Melbourne ports to CIMC premises in Dandenong.
Since 1986, CIMC Vehicle Australia’s parent company, China International Marine Containers (CIMC), has become “The largest Container Manufacturer in the World”. The advent of CIMC Vehicle Australia led to the introduction of CIMC skeletal trailers into the Australian market. Given the company’s history in container manufacturing, the expansion into skeletal trailer manufacturing was a natural progression for the company.
And while its products are manufactured in China, they are designed, engineered and assembled in Australia to suit Australia’s demanding conditions. In fact, Hector Ojea asserts that over 20 years of industry experience goes into every trailer produced for the Australian market.
CIMC Vehicle Australia acknowledges that the requirements of the trailer industry are ever changing, and as such, it places a continual emphasis on improving the product to better suit the needs of its customers.
Today, CIMC Global Vehicle Group has a ‘state-of-the-art Research and Development Institute’ in Shenzhen, China. The institute has 30 very highly qualified Engineers, (and as such doctorates and masters are a must to be part of this elite), allowing the entire CIMC Vehicle Group of companies around the globe to tap into the resources offered by the Institute to develop new trailing equipment.
The CIMC R&D Institute has access to the best software packages available for design and FEA analysis and the latest testing facilities which are in the top two in the world. One of the biggest strengths of the Group via the R&D Institute is the synergy created among all the CIMC subsidiaries allowing a full utilisation of the latest technology and developments available around the globe.
Furthermore, CIMC has the facilities to test every type of trailer component or assembly as well as the ability to test a full trailer combination in motion under the scrutiny of a very sophisticated computerised system that contains the exact road data of any particular country. CIMC to date has already completed this in motion testing on several trailer models for the US and Europe and is currently compiling the data to do the same testing applications for CIMC trailers made for Australia.
The first six CIMC Skel B-double combinations purchased by Wettenhall Logistics in 2007 certainly all lived up to their expectations, meeting the needs of the company.
“When we decided to purchase the first lot of trailers from CIMC more than three years ago, the competitive price contributed greatly to our decision – but when the time came to order more B-double skels, as Wettenhall Logistics grew, the quality of the trailers produced by the company was a major factor.” Scott continues, “The new trailers have now been on the road for about two months and they are also going really well.”
Like the previous trailers, the new combinations are capable of carrying a 20ft container on the lead trailer in two different positions and a heavy 20ft, 2×20’or a 40ft container on the rear trailer.
Removable twistlocks have been incorporated into the lead trailers to assist in gaining correct axle weights and to avoid guard damage on the prime movers. This feature is specified across the entire Wettenhall Logistics’ fleet of skeletal trailers. The company has also chosen to specify side loader pads and lift axles to the rear axle of the suspension group to help reduce tyre wear.
Other features include Jost king pin, landing legs and greaseless fifth wheel, Watson and Chalin airbag suspension, analogue weigh gauges, Fuwa K-Hitch axles 10 stud 285 PCD, auto slackers, Alcoa Dura-Brite alloy wheels, Hankook tyres and LED lighting.
Each B-double is towed behind a Kenworth T404 SAR prime mover.
As Scott explains, the staff at Wettenhall Logistics has been impressed with the newest additions to the fleet. “Our drivers are really enjoying the new trailers. All components are easy to operate and the trailers have been built with safety in mind. Safety is paramount to what we do so these trailer combinations fit in really well with our needs.”
While the latest order of skeletal trailers is sure to satisfy the transport needs of Wettenhall Logistics for the time being, Scott asserts that when the need arises for more skeletal trailers to be added to the fleet, he will certainly be going back to CIMC, further developing the strong partnership that has been built upon a common desire for quality and performance.