CNC Cartage buys rival, boosts fleet capacity

Brisbane crane truck company, CNC Cartage Transport Solutions, has taken ownership of BSA Transport.

The deal includes procurement of staff and multiple mobile assets.

It was officially completed this week after an independent evaluation. Preliminary discussions regarding the acquisition first commenced in July.

As part of the arrangement, CNC Cartage will receive an undisclosed quantity of commercial vehicles from BSA’s fleet in addition to several trailers.

A challenging environment for purchasing new trucks and finding staff to pilot them were key factors for CNC Cartage Director Chad Brown.

“For us the acquisition made for a really good fit,” he told Prime Mover.

“Brian Anderson at BSA Transport decided the time was right to get out,” said Brown.

“We share many of the same suppliers and operate the same cranes. From our point of view, we needed vehicles, and we needed drivers.”

Both companies are steadfast in their brand loyalty to HMF cranes, making it an easy transition for CNC Cartage, who will need to make few modifications to the incoming vehicles.

The trucks which are not part of the deal failed to comply with the measures of CNC Cartage operations at present.

Brown said the 20 trucks that will be introduced to his fleet over the coming weeks are only a couple of years old and in excellent condition.

“These are the newest vehicles in the BSA Fleet including Hino 700s,” he said.

“We pretty much run all Hino now. Most of the trucks we’ve ordered over the last three years have been in a Hino,” said Brown.

Also included in the mix of brands are two near-new DAF CF450s, a Volvo and UD prime movers, with the majority being Hino body trucks.

The two new DAF prime movers have done less than 20,000 kilometres while the oldest truck acquired as part of the deal is from 2018.

“The majority of these vehicles are reasonably new,” said Brown.

“I customarily only buy new trucks. I don’t buy second hand stuff.”

Adding the trucks to boost his fleet capacity was vital given CNC Cartage’s current workload and contracts.

“Without those trucks there’s definitely a shortfall in the market for all of the customers BSA Transport was servicing,” said Brown.

“It was decided that we needed to service those guys somehow. We’ve come to the point that we’re servicing most of the customers BSA had originally before the sale,” he said.

A dedicated crane truck business primarily servicing southeast Queensland, BSA Transport has maintained a client base consisting of, but not limited to, steel frame and roofing manufacturers since its inception in 2004.

BSA Transport have traditionally turned over their crane trucks every 10 to 11 years with around 750,000km on the odometer.

Despite having excellent staff retention, finding new drivers, an ongoing challenge across the industry, is the number one issue for an operation like CNC Cartage according to Brown.

“We have a really good retention rate but when we put on new trucks we need new drivers,” he said.

“This week we’ve got four new drivers learning the ropes. Hopefully they’ll all work out.”

Some of the newly acquired vehicles will get the striking red and black wrap which is a signature to the CNC Cartage fleet.

One of the new Hinos will figure prominently in the Convoy for Kids charity day coming up in November

Currently, CNC Cartage has another four new Hinos on order.

“Hino has been really good to us over the years, so we have stuck with those guys,” said Brown.

When COVID hit in 2020, Brown kept every one of his truck orders open.

In hindsight it has proven advantageous for a business wholly reliant on a supply chain that has only become increasingly volatile this year.

“Everything still rolled through in our name,” he said.

“COVID, if anything, was a real boost to us. The building industry didn’t shut down at all. We didn’t get hit in the first or second rounds of COVID,” said Brown.

“Sure, we lost a driver here or there but nothing major. We’re feeling it more now than we did in 2020.”

Most of the trucks CNC Cartage carry in the fleet are considered body trucks. Operations now also utilise 12 prime movers with mounted cranes.

The company runs a tracking system with live video on every truck for proof of delivery purposes.

It specifies Active Fleet telematics across the fleet in addition to a 360-degree camera system developed in partnership with supplier OKORIS which gives a view of every angle of the vehicle.

“It’s a really good system. We can’t do business without it,” said Brown.

“I’m not sure how any transport business does business without it,” he added.

The crane trucks from the BSA Transport fleet will have the camera system fitted over the weekend ready for a Monday rollout.

“I don’t anticipate any other disruptions to our activities. Everything else on the vehicles should roll out as they are,” said Brown.

Little more than a month ago Brown sold a brand-new truck straight out from the dealer, once it was built, before they had even registered it.

Built to CNC Cartage specifications, it was a single drive 9-metre body that one of their customers, desperate for another truck for their Sydney branch, coveted as stock was proving near impossible to get.

Instead of registering the vehicle CNC Cartage on-sold it from the dealer straight to the customer.

“It didn’t hurt us as we didn’t really need that truck at the time,” said Brown.

“It was more a gesture to help get a customer out of trouble than to get rid of a truck. That gives you an idea of what the supply chain is like — it’s terrible.”

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