It was just over 12 months ago that DT King & Co started adding Macks to their fleet. According to General Manager, Paul Balneaves, the high horsepower that they deliver is just what his business needs.

Paul is no stranger to the trucking business. He’s lived and breathed it for over 40 years. These days, he describes himself as nudging semi-retirement, but he still keeps his finger firmly on the pulse of one of the larger transport companies in New Zealand’s South Island.

“We’re one of the bigger players in transport down here,” says Paul. “We have five main divisions – log carting, gravel, fertiliser, stock/bulk, and contracting. The Macks are in the log cartage division.”

Well suited to our operation

Knowing what technology sits behind the Granites made Paul’s choice that much easier. “We started looking at Macks for our log cartage operation because Nissan stopped making high horsepower 8-wheelers,” he says. “So we decided to go with 12 Granites, each one a 9-axle unit. They have the high horsepower we need, and we like the technology that Volvo brings to them.”

Just follow the water downstream

Like many trucking fleets as far south as us, the Granites need to cope with all sorts of conditions. “About 20% of our driving would be off road and it can be tough, really tough – steep inclines and declines, narrow gravel roads, poor weather, that kind of stuff,” says Paul. “But we’re pretty lucky down here. There are a lot of major rivers, and the roads follow the rivers downstream. So the remaining 80% of our driving is a pretty good, gentle downhill run. That helps to deliver fuel economy of about 2 km per litre. We’re happy with that.”

Changes that were easy to get used to

Making sure that his drivers are happy at the wheel is important to Paul, and the Granites have been a hit. “There were a couple of changes that the drivers had to get used to. Most had only driven cabovers before, but they pretty quickly got used to the bonneted trucks,” says Paul. “Adapting to the mDrive transmission was also pretty easy. In fact the drivers really like it. Along with mDrive, the overall comfort and quietness of the trucks make them feel just like driving a car.”

“They’re quiet. They’re comfortable. They’re just like driving a car.”

Responsive service to keep the fleet sailing smoothly

Paul estimates that his trucks each do 120,000km per year. “We do most of our servicing in-house every 20,000km, except if it involves something like computer programming,” he says. “We’ve not really needed to go back to Mack for much. We had a bit of a problem at first with the drive shaft, but they sorted it out pretty quickly by fitting new, heavier drive shafts. It’s been smooth sailing from there.”

One year on – the verdict

A year after adding the Granites to his fleet, Paul’s verdict is pretty clear. “They’re comfortable, they give decent fuel economy, and they deliver the horsepower we need with the technology behind them that we trust. So we’re pretty happy with the decision we made to go with Mack.”


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