Trailer Magazine

Holmwood Highgate’s inaugural quad-axle tanker

  • From the April 2017 issue.
Holmwood Highgate’s inaugural quad-axle tanker

To fill a gap in its fleet makeup, Gippsland-based fuel provider Evans Petroleum turned to local tanker supplier, Holmwood Highgate, for its first ever quad-axle tanker semi-trailer.

In the heart of the Gippsland region in eastern Victoria, fuel distribution specialist, Evans Petroleum, has played a part in keeping the local community running for almost half a century, and continues to be deeply committed to the idea of keeping it local in a world shaken by globalisation.

Starting out as an Esso distributor in 1970, Evans Petroleum has grown slowly over time, with current owners, Stuart Evans and wife Jenene, taking over from Stuart’s father, company founder Reg Evans, in 1989. Twenty-seven years on and now operating under the BP label, the husband and wife team have morphed the humble family business into a major fuel distributor for the Gippsland community.

Using a high-tech fleet, Evans Petroleum covers a vast area stretching from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs all the way to the New South Wales border in the east. In line with his proclivity for locally made equipment, Stuart says he prefers tankers from Australian builder, Holmwood Highgate.

“Holmwood has been building rigid tankers for us since 1985, then built our first semi-trailer tankers in 1999. We’ve never had a reason to change builders,” Stuart says. “It’s important that Holmwood is nearby in Victoria and I have found it a great company to work with for each new tanker we purchase.”

The most recent addition to the fleet is a Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approved quad-axle semi-trailer tanker – one of the first ever quad-axle tankers built by Holmwood. Starting from scratch for the so-called ‘Jumbo’ tanker, the company was able to perfect the design from the drawing board, says Jason Stables, Technical Director Holmwood Highgate Melbourne.

“Stuart came to us in the middle of 2016 asking for a way to cart more fuel in a single tank, while simplifying loading and discharging on site compared to a truck and four-axle dog combination,” he explains.

Stuart adds he had seen quad-axle refrigerated vans on the roads before and suggested the design to the Holmwood engineering team to translate into a tanker. After a few months of discussions, Jason says it was when VicRoads opened up the PBS network in Victoria for quad-axle trailers that the design was chosen. “Around eight months after our initial conversation, we had finalised the concept and delivered the final product to Stuart,” Jason says. “As the road authorities continue to open up access, we expect to see the numbers of PBS-approved trailers on the roads skyrocket.”

The Evans Petroleum PBS-approved quad-axle tanker has a total capacity of 48,600 litres over six compartments, which is an increase in payload of 6,150 litres of unleaded petrol per load over a traditional semi-trailer. “The payload increase over a standard trailer is substantial, and with our brand-new design using steer axles at the rear, we have been able to build a bigger trailer that doesn’t sacrifice on manoeuvrability,” Jason says – adding that Stuart specifically requested SAF-Holland running gear.

The finished trailer was picked up in the middle of March and is already in operation, with Stuart mentioning that he has received feedback from its driver on how well the trailer tows. Bringing the total number of Evans Petroleum tankers to 20, Stuart says the fleet will remain at this size for now, with the company focusing on maintaining its high level of customer service with the new equipment.

When he does decide to add to the fleet, however, Stuart says he’ll likely remain loyal to Holmwood Highgate. “Having consistency in the fleet simplifies service and maintenance, as there is only one point of contact for truck and one for trailers. Having both situated nearby makes it even easier,” Stuart explains – pointing out that his fleet of Kenworth prime movers is also manufactured a few suburbs over at the Bayswater site. “I prefer to buy Australian-built as much as possible, to support Australian manufacturing jobs where I can and keep it local.”

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