Australia’s largest privately-owned container logistics business, ACFS Port Logistics, commenced operations in late 2005 and is on track to becoming the nation’s premier landside logistics provider. The business, according to Managing Director and CEO, Arthur Tzaneros, has developed a strong and loyal relationship of trust with Paul Vawdrey and the Vawdrey Australia team.
“Paul Vawdrey actions our immediate requirements on the back of a phone call,” Arthur says – adding that ACFS recently ordered 14 Performance-Based Standards lightweight bogie/bogie Super B-double skel combinations with retractable suspension on the lead trailer to enable rear/dock loading of both trailers in the set. “At ACFS, we are very focused on delivering logistics solutions, and on this occasion, we required High Productivity Vehicles (HPVs) carrying four twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) that could accommodate our discount retailers, white goods / electrical and furniture retail customers. These trailers will expand on our four TEUs per trip, maximise weight for a bogie/bogie combination and reduce running costs due to fewer axles in the application. Reducing the ongoing running costs of servicing our customers is absolutely key, and we can share in the benefits with our customers.”
The A-double combinations, Arthur says, will be used on the wharf and will also be used at customer sites to manage heavier weights. These A-double sets will also be paired with a 90-tonne Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) Mercedes-Benz prime mover.
“We ordered nine sets of PBS trailers on spec for the upcoming peak season and took delivery of these units last month,” Arthur says. “The remaining 11 sets were ordered on the back of a customer contract and are due to be delivered by the end of this month.”
All of the trailers are tailored to what is known as ‘ACFS Spec’. This includes Fuwa K-Hitch landing legs, for ease of dropping out of trailers, Air-Weigh IAP approved trailer scales, steerable axles on the bogie/bogie sets, retractable suspension on the A trailer for the bogie/bogie sets and lightweight Alcoa wheels.
“These lightweight trailers and features maximise weights per trip for our customers,” Arthur says. “The Fuwa K-Hitch landing legs improve the speed for drop and swap of our trailers and improves operational safety for our employees.”
The new trailers, according to Arthur, will be distributed throughout the national ACFS fleet by Vawdrey on an ‘as needed’ basis. “This actually remains quite flexible up until the day of registration, as our business needs to remain agile to our customers and our own business requirements,” he says. “They will generally be doing metropolitan deliveries between ACFS facilities and that of our customers. Mostly within 60km of the Port, but most of these trailers will be executing our Zone strategy which is to be within 15km of the customer for the final mile of delivery.”
Arthur expects volumes to grow by 20-30 per cent during the August-December peak period annually. “ACFS is a company owned fleet, and we rarely use subcontractors to manage our volume levels, which requires us as a business to carefully plan our ongoing requirements,” he says. “We have learnt as a business over the years to carry additional capacity for the unknown or when a new contract may arise. We are always ready and prepared for growth.”
Earlier this year, ACFS acquired Kerry Logistics’ warehouse and transport business in Adelaide which strengthened the company’s presence in the container logistics supply chain.
“While the Kerry acquisition is not large in scale for ACFS – as we move over 800,000 TEU of FCL containers on a per annum basis nationally, It is strategically important, as ACFS did not have a presence in Adelaide until we acquired the Patrick Port Logistics business in 2016,” Arthur says. “This business was mainly supported by subcontractors only and was very small in scale. In a few short years we have developed the Adelaide business, including the Kerry Logistics business of late which will now make us a top three carrier in Adelaide in regards to scale, but we have also managed to add 22,000-square-metres of warehousing, as well as an empty park (ACFS e-Depot), which allows us to provide end to end solutions for our customers, with our aligned shipping lines. The fleet has grown to just over 25 trucks in Adelaide, and we are focused on continued expansion in this market. Generally, we have a ratio of four trailers to every truck in the fleet.”
ACFS is a relationship-driven business with strong connections with its customers and suppliers.
“When you have strong relationships, the detail can be worked out later – Vawdrey just get on with the job,” Arthur says. “The Vawdrey product is made in Australia, and we also like to support private business where possible. We all have skin in the game.”
He adds that Vawdrey’s aftersales support is excellent. “We use the service centres nationally not only for Vawdrey trailers, but also our other trailers that were purchased pre 2017.”
Arthur is passionate about Australian manufacturing and supporting it where possible. “We have a sense of pride when we make these orders, and greater satisfaction when we receive the Vawdrey product,” he says. “On a personal note, I still get that sense of pride and excitement when a new trailer sets arrive – it’s like a new baby has arrived in our ACFS family. We take great pride as a family, in who we support, and what we do for the Australian economy.”
(Image: ACFS Port Logistics Managing Director and CEO, Arthur Tzaneros.)