Driving with grape success

Second-generation family business, LRT/VCT, looks no further than BPW Transpec when it comes to axles and suspensions for its fleet. A small team of highly trained mechanical staff rely on the functionality and quality of BPW products to keep the fleet in top shape.

LRT/VCT provides refrigerated and non-refrigerated transport services between Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, and multiple cities and towns across Australia.

Established in 1977 under the name of Cordoma Brothers Transport (CBT), the family-run business started transporting grapes from the region around Mildura to Sydney and Melbourne, continuing to expand in the decades to follow. In 2007, the next generation of the family took over the reins and the company was renamed LRT/VCT, Leslie Refrigerated Transport (LRT) and Vince Cordoma Transport (VCT).

Today, it is one of the leading refrigerated transport businesses in Victoria’s Sunraysia region, with facilities based in Robinvale and Irymple (near Mildura) in North-West Victoria, a region renowned for its grapes and fruit.

The business takes great pride in giving customers the best service. As a result, it has an experienced and well-trained team of drivers along with one of the best fleets in the region. The current fleet includes more than 100 trailers, with a mix of refrigerated trailers, curtainsiders and refrigerated containers, and 45 prime movers, mostly Kenworth models. Nearly all of the trailers and equipment are fitted with BPW products.

“Our team has been using BPW products since the start,” says LRT/VCT Workshop Manager, Vince Dichiera. “We run BPW Eco, Non-Eco and Eco Plus axles. We have 120 units with BPW suspension, and quad axle trailers with BPW lifts and steerable axles.”

BPW axles with Eco Drum brakes include BPW‘s proven drum brake technology along with a reduction in weight. The improved component design of the 10-tonne drum brake axle with BPW Eco Plus 3 results in an overall reduction of weight by roughly 14kg per axle. The reduced weight means increased payload for the customer.

BPW’s commercial trailer axles are built with up to 25-tonne capacity. Designed and manufactured in Europe, the axles are developed to suit the tough Australian road conditions and have proved to be one of the safest, most reliable, durable and cost-effective solutions in the market. BPW’s drum brake axles are well-known for their adaptability and longevity. Meanwhile, its self-steering trailer axles offer better manoeuvrability, less tyre wear and reduced fuel consumption. BPW is the only supplier of heavy commercial vehicle axles to have a TS2 disc brake that offers proven class-leading reliability.

“Our drivers are happy with the performance of these axles and suspension systems,” Vince says. “Quality-wise, you can’t get better than this. BPW is the leader in heavy vehicle suspension in Australia. When it comes to BPW axles, there is no comparison with other brands. These axles are the best you can buy and with BPW, you get that level of quality and service for what you pay. In general, BPW products are low-maintenance and cost-effective.”

Vince had extensive experience working on BPW products while working for a local dealership, before moving to LRT/VCT nearly four years ago. He has a strong background knowledge of the product range and the technologies behind them. He currently manages a team of two qualified technicians and three apprentices at the workshop. The entire mechanic team is trained to work on BPW wheel bearings, suspensions, and electronic braking systems (EBS).

“Over the years, we have found that BPW products are very easy to maintain, the design is functional, and they are user-friendly for the technicians,” Vince says. “BPW’s customer service is excellent, and we have always been very happy with the service we get from them. The boys down in the Melbourne office are very easy to deal and happy to assist us. BPW’s Product Consultant Peter Hart is always there to find the quickest and easiest solution to suit the customer.”

As the business continues to grow, LRT/VCT is increasing its fleet size and investing further in its infrastructure.

Both Robinvale and Irymple depots have had the cold storage facilities upgraded recently, and a new workshop and drive-through wash bay added in the main Irymple depot. The grape season is underway in Mildura and surrounds at present, which means the LRT/VCT team is in the midst of full-scale operations, with its fleet constantly on the move.

The BPW suspension and axle sets make sure there is less wear issue, reliable performance, and good control over load movement as the trucks and trailers do their job.