“The Super-Liner covers off all the bases, and I can’t get the driver out of it.”
D&S Smith Haulage carry a wide range of goods all over the southern half of Australia. After decades using European-style trucks, David Smith tried a Super-Liner.
From its beginnings fifty years ago with a single Ford D-series rigid, carting livestock in the Eyre Peninsula, D&S Smith Haulage has grown to a major transport operation supplying a wide range of goods all over Southern Australia.
When David left school the company bought its first semi-trailer, hauled by a Ford D1000, and began diversifying into general freight around the local area. They soon branched out into four-axle dogs and triple-deck stock trailers, and nowadays, they’ve extended into refrigerated work as well as bulk transport of wool, fertilizer and grain, running mostly B-Doubles and two-trailer road trains.
One step at a time
“We grew one truck at a time,” says Managing Director David Smith, “but things started to snowball fairly dramatically once we diversified a bit, and it just took off.”
Still based in Tumby Bay, the company now has a fleet of 21 trucks and has operations all over the state, including a regular run to Roxby Downs that has been going continuously for twenty years now, and has changed with the town.
“We started out hauling copper out of there for Linfox, three road trains a day, seven days a week. Now it’s just a daily general freight run, but we still go to some pretty out-of-the-way places, like up near Cameron’s Corner and Woomera.”
All-European? Not anymore
For years D&S Smith Haulage were an all-European truck operation, but with the downturn of the resource sector in 2010 they had to restructure their fleet and decided to look at some alternatives.
“We had a good relationship with Mitch Lancaster, the local Mack dealer,” says David, “and he put us into a Super-Liner. We’d been running 600hp trucks, so the 685hp MP10 was bit more than we needed. We made a deal with Mitch that if the Super-Liner used more fuel than the 600s we’d de-power it.”
That hasn’t been necessary. The fuel consumption of the Super-Liner’s 685hp MP10 has been on par with the 600hp trucks and David is very happy with it.
“We’ve got a broad range of operations and the Super-Liner is up for just about all of it,” says David. “With the sleeper cab we can go up to Darwin with three trailers, then put refrigerated or livestock doubles onto it for shorter runs. It’s been all over the place that truck and the driver loves it, I can’t get him out of it.”
Economy, adaptability and driver acceptance
“We have quite a few cab-overs and we needed a differently-configured truck to do different kinds of work, and the Super-Liner does that,” says David. “It’s got good fuel economy, good driver acceptance and it’s adaptable. It covers all the bases really, and I’m about to order another one.”