Delivering produce from the Brisbane Markets to local distribution centres of the major supermarket chains is a primary focus for DDS Transport.
It’s the sort of operation where absolutely nothing can be left to chance and where ultimate equipment uptime is of paramount importance.
For this reason, the company currently runs six identical Maxi-CUBE Classic refrigerated vans which feature a full-length chassis and a long list of customised features added to make them task specific for DDS Transport.
According to DDS Transport Managing Director, Steve McFadden, Maxi-CUBE was chosen for a number of reasons, not least because local MaxiTRANS dealer, Trailer Sales, is located literally just around the corner from the DDS Transport depot.
“Trailer Sales has a branch in Brisbane that is only a short distance from our yard which means they are able to provide the after-sales service and support that we need,” Steve says.
“Being DC work, our operation is extremely time-sensitive and a lot of it is done outside of normal working hours, and quite frankly, we can’t have breakdowns.”
“So, when we have a problem, we need to be able to go somewhere quickly and have it rectified straight away so the vehicle can be back on the road and ready to start work at midnight. Without fail, Trailer Sales provides this service for us.”
Steve explains that Scott Thiesfield, Sales Manager of Trailer Sales, has been pivotal in helping DDS Transport come up with the optimum specification for the Maxi-CUBE trailers.
“We’ve been dealing with Scott from the time we bought our first refrigerated trailer, which was a second-hand unit,” he says. “After that we started specifying new Maxi-CUBE units and with the help of Scott we finalised the spec that was just right for our needs. Since then, every trailer we’ve bought has been identical.”
The markets-to-DC work means each trailer is backed onto loading docks multiple times each shift. They also have the constant of heavy forklifts running in and out to load and unload. Under these conditions, Steve says, the full-length chassis included in the Maxi-CUBE Classic design provides ultimate durability.
At 49 feet, the vans are a foot longer than most 24-pallet units. According to Steve, this allows an extra 100mm space for airflow at the rear when fully loaded, and also caters for rearwards ‘pallet creep’ that can sometimes occur during transit. For the same reason, the van sidewalls have also been specified with 25mm thickness for additional internal width.
“We also have wide fibreglass pultruded rub strips at waist height in addition to the floor level strips to minimise the risk of damage to the walls from forklifts and pallets,” Steve says.
Keeping the Maxi-CUBE interiors cool are Carrier Vector 8500 Series fridge plants which can be plugged into mains power, operating with the same cooling capacity as when running on diesel.
Thermal efficiency is aided by freezer van thickness insulation in the roof panels, while the air circulation, critical to maintaining produce in peak condition, is further enabled by the Maxi-GRIP aluminium airflow floor featuring non-slip knurled ridges.
Steve says the trailers also have three times the number of LED interior lights than a standard configuration due to the prevalence of night work.
Another interesting feature of the trailers specified by DDS Transport is the maximum allowable spread of 10’1” between the centrelines of the front and rear axles.
To some this might sound like a recipe for added tyre wear on local distribution work, but Steve explains that it saves time by making the trailers easier to back onto docks; and time is far more critical for this type of operation than saving a little on tyre wear.
Updating equipment regularly is one of the keys to success for DDS Transport, with the prime movers turned over every three years and the trailers kept for no longer than six years. According to Steve, this enables the company to maintain a breakdown-free fleet which has the latest safety and environmental credentials.
Steve says it makes good business sense because the high spec and relatively low mileage of the gear makes for high residual value when it’s time to sell.
“The trick is to match your equipment precisely with the work you do,” Steve says. “That way you maximise safety and efficiencies and get the best possible return on your capital investment. With the highly valued assistance of Scott at Trailer Sales, we have been able to spec the Maxi-CUBE trailers exactly to our requirements and this plays a major role in the ongoing success of DDS Transport.”
A fleet of identical highly specified Maxi-CUBE Classic refrigerated vans carrying time-sensitive produce from the Brisbane Markets to supermarket DCs is the backbone of DDS Transport’s operation.