Freighter keeps the goods flowing for James Transport


Mildura-based James Transport's history with Freighter trailers

Mildura-based James Transport has trusted Freighter trailers since day one, over 55 years ago. Now in its third generation, the family-owned business continues to go from strength to strength, aided by a 50-strong fleet made up of MaxiTRANS’ leading trailer brands, Freighter and Maxi-CUBE.

Transport is in the blood for the James family, who have kept the region’s essential citrus industry moving since 1965. During that time, James Transport has maintained a relationship with leading Australian semi-trailer brand Freighter, which flies under the MaxiTRANS banner. In fact, MD Greg James cannot remember a time when the family was not running Freighter trailers.

The business specialises in bulk citrus haulage and Tautliner dry goods, as well as refrigerated and bulk fertiliser transport throughout Australia. The business employs nearly 50 people, providing essential work in the regional centre and keeping supermarkets everywhere stocked with goods.

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Sons Shaun, who is the general manager, and Aidan, fleet controller, ably support Greg. Both boys have been in trucks since the time they could stand up.

"When mum and dad started up, their first truck was a 1418 Mercedes Benz, and their first trailer was a Freighter. We have Freighter trailers that are older than I am; including an old Bogie I reckon was built in the late 1950s. They just keep going," says Greg.

It’s a fitting tribute as Freighter celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Freighter and the James family have both been on quite a journey. The business grew with the expansion of the citrus industry, and over the years, Greg has seen many advances in trailer technology.

"In the 1980s we were predominately carrying oranges in what we called bulk fruit trailers. By the early 2000s we were doing 10-15 loads a week into Melbourne."

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The last 15 years has been a progression into tautliner work, supported by a few tip trucks and tankers. From humble beginnings, their fleet has grown to include 17 Freighter B-double tautliners, 22 flat tops, five skels, as well as three Maxi-CUBE B-double fridge vans and three single fridge vans.

"We’ve found Freighter to be very reliable," Greg says.

"The last couple we’ve bought have been custom built, with holes in the chassis rail for a lighter weight, custom tie-down positions for front and back hurdles, DG signage, fire extinguishers and all the specialist tool boxes we require. We are particular about floor height, too. On some we have a flush floor while others have a smaller coaming rail."

Greg says that dependable local servicing is also a big plus when it comes to choosing Freighter trailers.

"Our local Mildura Truck Centre dealer is excellent, they’re very easy to work with, which is exactly what you need in a country environment. We have probably purchased half a dozen sets of new Freighter Tautliners from them, and we are soon to pick up a new tri-axle dolly that has been a stock build.

"They are also great at working through issues like road access with us. A dealer is not just someone who sells you a trailer, the good ones will help us understand where we can utilise that piece of equipment. In that regard our local Freighter dealer has been exceptional.

"Satisfying our customers is always our number one aim, and it’s something we’re very proud of. You can’t do that without a reliable fleet, and that’s what Freighter have given us.

"If Freighter remain as innovative as they have always been it will help the industry along. The new ideas they come up with are great. It makes it easy for us because we can come along and start using those pieces of equipment. Their tri-axle dolly and B-triple are just two examples of that innovation," he adds.

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