“The Granites gave us the tare weight we needed.”

Geoff Snow runs the logging operations for New Zealand’s Southern Transport, and his fleet of twenty Macks is carrying on a long tradition.

Based in Invercargill and Winton in the deep south of New Zealand’s South Island, the aptly-named Southern Transport cart logs to the sawmills and ports, as well as providing general transport and bulk haulage services.

Geoff Snow has worked for Southern for twenty-six years, eight of them as driver, 12 as a dispatcher, and for the last six as manager of the logging side of the business. Macks have been used in the logging fleet since 1974. has been in the logging side of the business for twenty-six years, eight of them as driver, 12 as a dispatcher, and for the last six as manager. He’s been using Macks the whole time.

A long tradition

The company’s founder Bill Richardson bought one of the first Mack R-Models pought into New Zealand in 1974, and while that truck’s now in a museum, the company has stuck with the pand ever since.

“Southern Transport replaced that R-Model with the first CH used in New Zealand,” says Geoff, “and we replaced the CH with the first Mack Granite pought here.

“ Bill believed that Macks were the right trucks for logging,” says Geoff, “ and we’ve stuck with his philosophy.”

Trucks chosen for the task

Currently STC run 40 Macks out of a combined fleet of 60 that cover transportation of logs, general  ,bulk and waste cartage. The Macks fleet consists of CHs and Granites, pulling a range of three, four and five-axle trailers. The trucks are all fitted with full lockup diffs and central tyre inflation.

“We went with the Granites because of their low tare weight and the easy cab access,” says Geoff, “a lot of our runs are only 40 kilometres long, so you don’t want to be clambering in and out of a high cab all day. The Granite has suited us perfectly while we’ve been restricted to 44 tonnes, but it looks like the new HPMV permit will allows us to carry 53 tonnes or 58 with 9 axles, so we’ll most likely be looking to move into Tridents in the future.”

And with great fuel economy

A great believer in fuel-efficient driving, Geoff has put his drivers through the Safety and Fuel-Efficient Driving course and seen some great results.

“We were getting 1.7-1.8 kilometres to the litre with the Granites,” says Geoff, “but after doing a few training runs to Port Bluff we managed to get this up to 1.9 and even 2, so we’re pretty happy with that.”

The m DRIVE automated manual transmission has also played a role in saving fuel, as well as improving driver enthusiasm.

“People told us the m DRIVE was unsuitable for logging, but we tried two of them and not only did they save us fuel immediately, but the drivers love them. One of them said to me the other day ‘You’re not getting me out of this truck and back into a manual’.”

Reliability and service

From the perspective of a fleet manager, Geoff’s also impressed with the toughness and reliability of the trucks and the quality of the service he gets from his dealer.

“We don’t run any trucks with a cracked chassis like some people do, we look after them and we get great service and good backup from Truck Stops. This company has always had Macks and we’ll be continuing the tradition when we move on to the Tridents.”