Peter Cochrane Transport is as South Australian as they come. Born and raised in Adelaide, Peter’s favouritism for the state is unshakeable, even after meeting his wife in NSW. As Bruce Hampson, Cochrane’s current CEO, explains, Peter is ‘staunchly South Australian’ and unsurprisingly, his company follows suit.
“We’re the leader in the SA regional market. We want to grow within our strength, which is South Australia, and become the South Australian solution for anyone who wants to deal with an independent. National leadership is not our objective,” says Bruce.
Instead, Cochrane’s is set up to provide warehousing and cross docking for operators in other states who don’t have premises in SA, and don’t want to invest the substantial amount required to set up facilities. “We’re not competing with the ‘big guys’ in the transport game, we actually work for them as an independent service provider,” says Bruce. “We give them a presence and a structure without the fixed costs, which we will keep doing as we believe that’s how we’ll grow.”
The business model has won Cochrane’s several new contracts over the course of 2016, including a tyre contract with Goodyear, as well as work with whitegood specialist Fisher & Paykel for regional and metro distribution and 3PL warehousing in South Australia.
These days, the majority of the Cochrane’s business is running express freight, heavy line haul to regional areas and metro deliveries – including a large amount of cross-docked product for companies shipping out of Melbourne. According to Bruce, express parcel delivery is clearly Cochrane Transport’s new growth area.
“We will look at anything and if it fits in our business, we will work on it,” says Bruce, adding that for Cochrane’s, business is all about trying to support and grow South Australia in order to establish the state both nationally and internationally.
The Cochrane’s fleet includes a plethora of Hino rigid curtain-siders for metropolitan work in a 6×4 configuration so they can provide the additional traction and horsepower needed for pulling pig trailers on country runs.
“Because of our non-stop schedule, most of our Hinos do around 260,000 km a year, and they’ve been brilliant. We’ve had Hino rigids clock up a million kilometres in five years, which is incredible for a rigid.”
Bruce explains that Hino is well aware of how Cochrane’s uses its trucks, even sending a team from Hino Japan to the Cochrane’s office to get feedback on the rigids. “We give Hino honest feedback and then it comes back to us and lets us know how it changed the models based on what we told it. We really like the fact that it listens.”
These days, Peter leaves the daily business of the company to Bruce, making time to focus on his passion for the South Australian community through his charity work, particularly with Variety, which is known as the ‘Children’s Charity’.
“He leaves the running of the business to me, but he still comes in five days a week and works the forklift for a few hours or takes phone calls and meetings with the charities he works with,” says Bruce. “He doesn’t talk about it a lot, he just quietly goes about it, which includes visiting the homes of families who have applied for Variety’s support, and the annual Bash.”
Today, Peter sits on the Variety board and provides the backup semi-trailers and any rigid trucks required for the Bash – even driving one of the company’s Volvo FMs that carries equipment for the event himself. “Peter is 68 now, but he still jumps in the cab and drives one of the prime movers, lugging all these swags and setting up camps for the Bash participants. It’s really close to his heart so he kept doing it.
“He doesn’t make a big song and dance about it, he just feels like he’s in a position to give back and that’s what he wants to do. He knows the company is being run well so he can take holidays and enjoy what he’s built.”
With his company model perfected and left in Bruce’s capable hands, Peter Cochrane now prioritises initiatives to make his home state a better place, adding local football club sponsorships, contribution to the Sunday Mail Blanket Appeal and working with Raising Literacy Australia to provide warehousing, packing and distribution services.
And according to Bruce, there’s only one reason why Peter’s focus is on charity work and building a company that helps national hauliers access the southern state: “Peter is just passionate about his town and about his community.