Up to speed on heavy haulage with Josh and Leonnie Carter

A client-oriented approach to heavy haulage provides the template for Josh and Leonnie Carter as they create opportunities for diversification.

As Josh Carter was growing up, when he wasn’t competitively racing BMX bikes, he was with his grandfather Ken learning the intricacies of heavy haulage from a man who had the reputation of being a master in that particular specialised sector of the industry.

Josh completed his mechanic’s apprenticeship at the Gilbert and Roach dealership in Newcastle, working on Kenworth and Isuzu trucks and while still a third year apprentice he gained his heavy vehicle licence and worked permanent night shift as a mechanic combined with driving a truck and dog or a float for his grandfather during the day. Josh eventually finished his trade and went to work for his grandparents full time for most of the next ten years, gaining valuable experience driving trucks and dogs, and operating heavy haulage floats. Ken Carter was 82 years old when he finished driving and retired.

During a holiday break in Queensland around that time Josh, with the moral and financial support of then girlfriend Leonnie, decided to purchase a Kenworth K104 rigid tipper from his grandfather which was converted to a prime mover and put to work with a hired driver and trailer, mainly carrying steel. That same K104 is still operating in the Carter fleet today, a strong testament to the Carter service and maintenance regimes.

“I didn’t know anything about trucks when I first met Josh,” says Leonnie. “I came home from Queensland and said to Mum: ‘You know that new boyfriend I’ve been dating for about six months? Well, we’ve set up a business and I’ve bought a $100,000 truck.’”

The couple’s recollection is that cocktails, pizza and a Keith Urban concert were involved in what has proved to be a good decision. Leonnie recognised Josh’s exceptional work ethic, which was demonstrated when, despite being on leave, his phone kept ringing with calls from clients.

“When you have a business the hardest thing to get is your clientele,” says Leonnie, who supported the concept of creating their own business.

“Today the Carter Heavy Haulage operation runs a fleet of Kenworth trucks performing heavy haulage tasks as well as some diversification including bitumen tankers.

The truck which Josh drives is a Kenworth Legend 900 which has a GCM rating of 163.5 tonnes, and he is excited about taking delivery of a new Legend SAR around mid-year.

A Kenworth T359 8×4 tilt tray provides good grounding for newer drivers to gain experience in critical areas such as load restraint and provides the opportunities for them to learn how to drive the various machines such as profilers and excavators which have to be loaded before
being transported.