Accidental transport operator swears by his Mack fleet

The reliability, power, cab fit out and automatic transmissions of the Mack Super-Liner have won over this rural Queensland freight hauler

South-east Queensland based Carpendale Agri is a major food supplier in its state, moving over 4,000 tonnes of produce to the Port of Brisbane and to feedlots every week.

The company has 50,000 acres of wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas and sorghum under cultivation. It uses its powerful fleet of 12 Mack Super-Liners to haul its goods to market.

When he started the business 22 years ago, Carpendale Agri managing director Andrew Kluck had no intention on running a truck fleet.

“It’s basically through my own absolute stupidity,” Andrew says.

“But I just got sick and tired of having to rely on contractors who wouldn’t turn up on time. You’d be expecting them at 8am and rarely would they arrive on time, they’d roll up at 5pm or midnight.

“That’s no use to us – especially when you’re awaiting delivery of fertiliser before a rain change, that’s big bucks to us. You can’t run a business like that.”

Fed up with the lack of certainty, Andrew started building his own fleet.

Now he has 11 A-Double setups for Brisbane port zone, and one AB-Triple for (Southern) Downs’ feedlot deliveries, all hauled by Mack Super-Liners.

“About 80 per cent of our produce is exported through Brisbane,” Andrew says.

“With about 20 per cent going to feedlots around the area.

“Between the different delivery points at port and all the farms, the drivers have to navigate some pretty tight spots with these trailers, and the Super-Liner makes that a lot easier.”

The trucks are running five to six days a week, with a typical day’s journey being an 800km round trip hauling grain from multiple origin points in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales to Port of Brisbane, then back again carrying fertiliser for the seasonal cropping.

“The drivers generally start on a Sunday afternoon and are normally home by Friday afternoon,” Andrew says.

“Mack didn’t spare anything in the fit-out of the sleeper cabs, they’ve got TVs, DVD, microwaves, kettles, fridges and freezers, inverters, full custom bedding and cupboard fit-out. These trucks have the works and the drivers love them.”

Carpendale has a complex where they can store 200,000 tonnes of grain, and during harvest times, the workload ramps right up.

“We did 30,000 tonnes in four weeks last season,” says Andrew, “and we’re increasingly hauling produce for other farms in the area. By providing the storage facility and transport for others we’ve basically made ourselves drought-proof.”

Andrew is impressed with the latest automatic manual mDRIVE transmission and the 685hp MP10 engine in the Super-Liner.

“When we first gave the drivers the automatic transmission they were a bit doubtful.

“But after a week they swore they’d never go back to a manual, and the Super-Liners have all the power we need.”

Some of the older trucks with the 12-speed automatic transmission wouldn’t have a low enough gear to pull out of soft or steep conditions,” Andrew says. “But that’s not a problem for the new Super-Liners with the new improved 14-speed mDRIVE.

“They’ve also got great fuel economy, and when you’ve got 12 trucks on the road each doing 160,000 kilometres a year, fuel consumption is very important with the inflating fuel prices.”

Carpendale work closely with Mack to service the trucks, which enables more time on the road, and the reliability of the Macks is something Andrew is quick to praise.

“We’ve never had to do an engine replacement on an MP10. Every million kilometres we’ll just replace the engine head for about $18,000.

“In previous years, we ran other engines from other manufacturers, and had to do complete engine rebuilds or replacements at $40-60,000 every time. The MP10 is a super-reliable engine, cutting costs and downtime,” Andrew says.

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