Agriculture is an integral part of the Australian economy, providing around 12 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Profit. But it’s completely reliant on Mother Nature to provide the right weather, and unfortunately droughts and storms have wreaked havoc on the industry in recent years.
However, the industry is continuing to grow and is currently benefiting from the lowering Australian dollar and favourable rains. This is good news for companies that specialise in the movements of fresh produce, like Lindsay Australia, finding they experience the same growth as the industry.
“Being aligned to agriculture gives us a similar positive growth profile, so we have the same worries during droughts, and experience the same highs that come from bumper crops,” says Lindsay Australia Fleet Quality and Efficiency Manager, Nick Lindsay.
By understanding the intertwined fates, Lindsay Australia has built a business model that encourages growth for local farmers’ businesses. “We provide end-to-end solutions for primary producers. We call this the Lindsay Solution, a unique service offering to growers that takes their product from paddock to plate,” says Nick. “Helping our farming customers grow also facilitates our own growth.”
Similarly to how a few small seeds can bloom into a healthy crop, Lindsay Australia started with a just a couple of small trucks and has grown into a well-run market listed transport, logistics and rural supply company. In 1953, Tom and Peter Lindsay (pictured below) bought two trucks from their father, Victor, and started Lindsay Brothers to transport bananas. Just like a harvest, the business took a lot of hard work and nurturing to grow into a successful company that still keeps true to its heritage in the agriculture industry.
Each distinct section of Lindsay plays a part in getting produce ‘to the plate’. Nick explains that, “Lindsay Rural provides rural supply and agronomy advice and delivers many of the products our grower customers need, then Lindsay Transport collects and moves their produce within Australia, ensuring quality is maintained throughout.”
Currently, Lindsay Transport services from Melbourne across to Adelaide and up to North Queensland in a fleet of various prime mover makes and models to suit its varying applications. The first few years from new, the trucks are used on the longer deliveries, including distances of up to 2,800 km between Melbourne and Innisfail in far north Queensland and as they accumulate more kilometres, they are put onto lighter runs for a few years and eventually retired to local work.
“Our trucks travel over 54 million kilometres each year, and as our business grows, the kilometres travelled increases. We’re constantly purchasing new vehicles, both as the company grows and we replace older vehicles,” says Nick -adding that the fleet is continuing to increase to meet growing demand on the business.
The increased demand is partially prompted by the growth in Australian food export requirements. According to the Department of Agriculture, the value of food exports from Australia grew 4.3 per cent in 2013 to $31.8 billion. To help its customers take advantage of this growth, Lindsay Australia has added a new business sector, Lindsay Fresh Logistics.
“The value-add service allows Lindsay Australia to more efficiently operate its current business, while adding new ability to export. We now help our growers reach new markets by delivering their fresh produce around the world,” says Nick. Introduced in July 2014, Lindsay Fresh Logistics provides quarantine and fumigation services as well as storage facilities and additional local market deliveries.
Lindsay Fresh Logistics is based in the Brisbane Markets at Rocklea and covers approximately 5,000m2 of controlled temperature rooms. In addition to the integrated services for Lindsay customers, it also acts as a depot within one of the QLD transport division’s major delivery destinations.
“The initial start up has been hard work. Obtaining the necessary licenses and testing systems has taken a lot of focus, so we are all really proud of what we’ve achieved and are heartened by positive customer comments,” says Nick – adding that activity is growing as the seasons’ produce changes, but the industry is very competitive.
By helping its customers reach new markets and expand their businesses, Lindsay Australia has created a model that continually requires it to grow to meet the demand it creates. “Being a well-run company is not without its challenges, but while many of the industry’s refrigerated competitors are closing, Lindsay Australia is continuing to grow alongside the agriculture industry.”