Trailer Magazine

Outside the box

  • From the October 2019 issue.
Outside the box

Arrow Transport specialises in container logistics to and from the ports of Melbourne and Sydney. The company pioneered the use of Super B-double and A-double combinations and engages trailer manufacturer, CIMC, to provide purpose-built solutions for its container carrying operations.

Having been in operation for close to 10 years, Arrow Logistics & Quarantine Services is a Melbourne-based, Australian-owned and operated company with a fleet of more than 40 trucks and upwards of 140 trailers. Arrow has recently completed the acquisition of Sydney Sideloaders, a container transport company based at the Port of Sydney, which will enable it to provide services to its client base in both Melbourne and Sydney.

In addition to dry freight, Arrow can also transport and store refrigerated containers, thanks to its 80 on-site power points. Over-dimensional haulage is another area of expertise. Arrow is also a provider of quarantine services, and is one of only three companies in Melbourne with Department of Agriculture inspectors based on site full-time, which provides excellent turnaround times on quarantine inspections for Arrow clients.

The company utilises a diverse range of trailer types including side-loaders, A-doubles, standard and Super B-doubles, 20’ and 40’ skeletal (skel) semi-trailers, retractable skels and prairie wagons. Also in the fleet is a purpose-designed and built rigid vehicle to service customers with specific site limitations. 

Arrow utilises mass management on all its vehicles to allow for additional weight to be carried in accordance with National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and VicRoads regulations.

The company has an experienced team of fleet operators closely monitoring each job in order to make sure they remain on track, keeping the customer informed throughout the journey.

Speaking about the company’s connection with CIMC, Arrow Transport’s Managing Director, Craig Webster, says his first experience with CIMC trailers was when he bought some trailers from the company for his previous employer some 15 years ago.

“I still see those trailers running around the port now, which is testament to the build quality and integrity of the brand,” Craig says.

Having had this prior exposure to CIMC skels, Arrow Transport recently commissioned CIMC to build 10 customised 40-foot skels to meet a customer’s specific loading requirements.

“These skels are somewhat specialised to suit the customer’s site which has a platform that is lowered onto the skel behind the mid-mounted 20-foot container for the purpose of hand-loading the container,” Craig explains.

“To enable the platform to be level with the container floor to ensure work health and safety (WHS) obligations are met, we worked with CIMC to design a drop section into the chassis rails immediately behind the mid-mounted container. This allows the platform to sit in this lower section, making it the right height for loading the container.”

Craig goes on to explain that these specialised skels are still multi-use and can also carry either a 40- or two 20-foot containers as required. This is an important point for Arrow Transport which has a strong focus on fleet utilisation and versatility to ensure maximum productivity.

Craig’s father, Steve Webster, is responsible for specifying the fleet of trailers to suit Arrow and its customers’ varying needs, and he worked closely with CIMC to develop the unique design of the 10 skels which recently went into service.

“Dad does a lot of work in the design space for our company,” Craig continues. “He and Andrew Bishop (Arrow Transport Commercial Manager) both find the people at CIMC very good to work with and receptive to incorporating the design features we require in the trailers.”

Craig adds that his father has initiated a raft of design changes to the trailers over the years, coming up with better ways to do things in order to improve efficiencies and minimise damage.

“Dad originally came up with the idea of installing steel mudguards on the skels,” Craig says. “However, we found they were too easily damaged so he changed the design and incorporated rubber conveyor-belt style guards similar to those used in the logging industry.”

Another feature Steve devised prevents damage to the air and electrical connections on the front of the trailers in the event of a driver not having the turntable at the correct height when coupling.

“It’s simply a steel hollow section welded to the trailer’s leading edge which the prime mover chassis or turntable hits instead of the air connections in the case of a misaligned turntable,” Craig describes.

Following the batch of 10 specialised 40-foot skels recently delivered, Arrow Transport has also ordered a pair of retractable skels from CIMC as it seeks to strengthen its relationship with the trailer manufacturer.

“In the last three months, CIMC Trailers has worked very closely with Arrow to ensure the design of the skels can meet the company’s operational requirements while maintaining the highest standards on safety,” says Luke Byrne, Account Manager for CIMC.

“Steve Webster’s years of experience and knowledge in the transport industry ensured this process went smoothly and Steve was very approachable, with his attention to detail coming to the fore with the design and manufacture of these units. There are a number of his ideas being implemented in this project to make the trailers safer on the road, as well as reduce the cost of maintenance.”

Speaking about Arrow’s continued growth, Craig adds that it’s imperative to be fully across the IT space in order to maximise efficiencies.

“Each of our trucks has a tablet which is used to send jobs to the drivers, among other things, and we have EDI (electronic data interchange) with our customers,” he explains. “Staying abreast of the technology allows us to maintain our competitive edge while expanding to fill new market opportunities.”

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