“For me, Mack is all about the people.”
Gravel City are a major supplier of construction products in South-East Queensland. Director Peter Turner tells us why 90% of their fleet are Macks.
Since partnering with his friend Gus Wittleton in the late 1990s, Peter Turner has overseen Gravel City’s growth into a viable business with a fleet of 45 trucks, 38 of them Macks.
There’s money in gravel and bitumen
The bulk of the Gravel City fleet are tippers, but they also run some semi-trailers and B-Doubles hauling hot bitumen, sometimes into western Queensland and New South Wales.
“90% of the company’s work comes from the Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Darling Downs areas,” says Peter, “we mostly work with local government and national corporations, and we like to get our drivers home each day, although our bitumen tankers have sleeper cabs and they range out a bit further afield.”
A fleet that’s 90% Mack
The trucks run from a 2006 CCRS Trident through to the latest purchases: ten new 2013 Tridents set up as rigids with quad-axle tippers. The trucks are hard at it most days operating out of their depot in Caboolture.
“We’ve got 38 Macks in all,” says Peter, “mainly Tridents, and four twin-steer Metro-Liners that we use for delivering hot asphalt to road pavers and aggregate work out of quarries. We can get a higher payload on them than a conventional axle configuration and there’s only a marginal operating cost increase compared to the revenue gained.”
An early start
A typical driver’s day sees them allocated to a particular customer and on the road by 5am, delivering to building sites and roadworks. Peter says that the hot bitumen business has been growing in recent years as road-building methods become more advanced.
“In the asphalt business the issue is carrying relatively small loads in tippers. The further you need to go the more you want to carry, but when you get to the site, a small truck is safer to manoeuvre and easier to pour from into the road paver. We’ve been looking at sliding-belt trailers so we can get a bigger payload in there safely. The Metro-Liners have had pretty good acceptance in the industry though.”
All the way with mDRIVE
The new Macks in the Gravel City fleet are fitted with the mDRIVE automated manual transmission, and Peter says it’s been very well accepted by the drivers.
“We certainly had a positive driver reaction, and I reckon we’re going to get the payback on that investment over the longer term because it’s just so much easier on the truck than a manual gearbox.”
But it’s the people that count
Having worked closely with Mack for so many years now, Peter is quite clear about what he likes about the organisation.
“The product’s great, it’s good value for money, it suits our application and the drivers like them, but for me Mack is all about the people. Mack take the time to get to know you personally, and when anything goes wrong they jump to attention and look after you. To me, that’s the most important thing: being looked after by quality people.”