Ray Cauchi and Wayne Vella are the two men behind Cartage Australia. Together they have built their business into a thriving 50 fleet operation that now employs almost 100 people.
But, building the business into what it is today hasn’t been easy. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and commitment,” says Ray, who has been in the business of hauling quarry products for more than 30 years. Ray began his quarrying business, Cauchi Transport, in 1977. Then, seven years ago, it was amalgamated to form Cartage Australia.
“In this industry, you learn something new everyday. But, one of the most important things I’ve learned is if you give 100 per cent service to people and don’t let them down, the business just keeps on growing because people know they can rely on you.”
And Cartage Australia provides its services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, hauling quarry products around Melbourne – and more recently, throughout Sydney, following the opening of a new facility late last year.
“We opened the Sydney operation so that we can offer the same sort of service to customers there as we provide in Melbourne, and so that we can continue to grow the company. Customers can call the company at any time and we’ll strive to get the job done for them,” says Ray.
Cartage Australia was quick to recognise the payload benefits that could be achieved under Performance Based Standards (PBS) and all vehicles in the company’s fleet operate under the scheme.
The fleet currently includes six B-doubles, seven three axle dogs, seven four axle dogs, 12 five axle dogs, 15 six axle dogs and two semi trailers. However, this number is set to greatly increase, following an order for 14 new combinations, including both five and six axle dogs which will be put to work in both the Melbourne and Sydney operations. The first of these is due for delivery on 10 February and all of the new vehicles are expected to be in operation by the end of April.
The five axle dog trailers are capable of carrying the same sorts of weights that can be expected from a B-double, but without all of the length. The custom made six axle dogs take these weight gains one step further, allowing Cartage Australia to carry an additional three to four tonne in every load.
“With the support of Vic Roads, the RTA and the Transport Minister, we have created a smart vehicle, which has reduced the number of trucks on the road while increasing both productivity and safety,” says Ray. “We could buy a truck and a trailer for much cheaper but we’ve gone above our duty and spent the extra money because we believe that the public needs to be safe. It’s a win-win situation on every front, not just ours. This means it becomes cheaper for us to cart our product and that can then be passed on to our customers.
“PBS is virtually the future of the country. The freight task is only going to get bigger so we need to try and get trucks off the road. The only way to do that is to put more weight onto vehicles that are safer than those currently on the road.”
All trailers in the fleet, including the latest order, have been built by Hercules, while all prime movers are supplied by Volvo.
Ray is a firm believer that service is what matters most when you are running any business.
“No matter what you buy, things will fail; what matters is how quick you are to respond,” says Ray, who purchased his first Volvo truck in 1989 and has been impressed by the comfort and safety features of Volvo’s products, and the company’s service.
“When you’re running a 24 hour operation, you don’t have the luxury to wait until tomorrow to fix it. If the truck is broken down in the middle of the night, then we need someone to go and fix it in the middle of the night, otherwise the supply chain will stop. Our company believes in giving customers 100 per cent old-fashioned customer service. In order for us to give that service, we need our suppliers to be right up there with us otherwise we can’t perform.”
Although the Sydney arm of the business has only been fully operational for a few months, Ray is already looking at ways to further grow the business. “Wayne and I want to grow Cartage Australia as much as we can,” says Ray, as he points to further growth planned for 2012. He also revealed that the company would be expanding into another Australian state at some point this year, but was careful not to give too much away just yet.