Going with the Grain

Civil infrastructure waste removal carrier, Tempus Group, has invested in two Mack Anthems as it bolsters a new business arm in the agricultural transport sector.
Tempus Group Mack Anthem.

There has been no shortage of prominent infrastructure projects in Sydney, the nation’s most populous capital city, over the past decade as government provision in service of fiscal stimulation, leaves no doubt as to what is being produced.

New tunnels, motorways, light rail corridors and airports are visible reminders, at least to voters, that progress, no matter how overdue, is taking place. Tempus Group, a Sydney-based company established in 2016, specialises in assisting major projects through the carting and disposal of spoil materials from construction sites.

Demolition waste, taken from tunnel sites like the M6 upgrade, which it is currently working on, involves deployment of a small fleet consisting of two tri-axle ten wheelers and a truck and dog, augmented by secondary subcontractor transport fleets.

The customer portfolio spans the gamut of Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 civil and utility contractors, which it honours for smaller jobs. CPB Contractors John Holland and Acciona are some of the bigger firms it services given the work they provide is, for all intents and purposes, continuous.

Market volatility caused by a less than stable economy, obliges the business to ensure it has a mix of different contracts always on the go.

To this end, Tempus Group also moves waste from various recycling facilities around the Sydney metropolitan area into landfill for various clients like Cobra Skip Bins and Aussie Recycling. In recent times Tempus Group has been involved in the many moving parts of the vast WestConnex project including the M5 WestConnex and M4-M5 Link Tunnel, and the aforementioned M6 Stage 1 Project.

Mack Anthem.
Mack Anthem.

To keep up with the hefty work schedule, Tempus is building up its own fleet, partly, to bring more commercial vehicles under its control so it isn’t as reliant on subcontractors.

In Sydney it runs a Mack Trident quad-dog it purchased in 2021 and two Mack Anthems acquired to meet growth last year. Expansion also means moving into other areas both figurately and geographically.

Tempus Group acquired a Queensland business seven months ago which carts grain, wheat and cotton seed for different farming operations and GrainCorp between Brisbane and west of Toowoomba, and further south, predominantly to Narrabri and the Moree plains.

This acquisition landed the business ten B-doubles. Two additional new Mack Anthems have joined these operations on long distance runs.

The Anthems, specified to suit local and regional freight distribution applications, are carrying up to 40 tonnes.

Powered by an MP8 535hp engine and paired with a 12-speed mDRIVE automated transmission, both Mack Anthems (specified as an optimised spec) are ideal for either single trailer or A-Double distribution applications. The choice of Mack originates from a recommendation made by one of the company’s key business partners, who is based in Gunnedah and operates Volvo and Mack trucks.

“After learning more about the new Anthems we jumped at it,” says Jacques Lotter, Tempus Group Director. “They supplied on time. The service, to date, has been really good.” All staff from the company it purchased, AWT Transport, have been retained including the vast majority of its equipment — one of the primary reasons it was targeted as an acquisition.

Ongoing supply issues affecting the manufacturing and delivery of trucks, trailers and componentry have made bolstering mobile assets on short notice a tricky affair.

“One of the biggest delays is getting a build slot,” says Jacques.

The AWT Transport buyout, which was finalised in the middle of 2022, gave the company access to the expertise and connection in something of a boom sector.

Tempus Group Director Greg Holloway.
Greig Holloway, Tempus Group Co-Director.

“Like everyone we’re chasing the profitable markets and projects,” says Co-Director Greig Holloway. “There was a bumper grain crop again last year in Australia and there’s a lot of demand for hauliers.”

Many of the trucks in the fleet, which was already a mix of Kenworth K200s, Freightliner Coronados and a Scania, before the new Anthems were added, has been diverted from Brisbane to places like Bathurst and Moree with a heavy focus on grain and wheat work in addition to various farm products.

TEFCO Trailers supply the trailing equipment. With some regularity, the new Anthems are travelling between 600- to 1,000 kilometres a day, in compliance with regulated driver hours.

Fuel consumption for these new trucks, according to Jacques, is the best in the fleet.

“I can definitely note that,” he says. “Probably because they’re brand new as well. We track them closely as most carriers do, and note that the performance on consumption is a stand out in the fleet.”

The Mack Anthems have been purchased under a factory-endorsed Ultimate Service Program.

Tempus Group receives a monthly charge that includes all scheduled servicing and oil changes, in-cab and external checks, priority repairs, full-service history documentation and centralised breakdown coordination service, anywhere in Australia.

The 36 authorised dealers Mack operates in New South Wales and Queensland, provides a good safety net for Tempus to fall back on given its recent growth into new territories.

The drivers, most of whom have been long-time Kenworth operators, are very happy with the new Anthems according to Jacques.

“The driver training Mack made available to us was really helpful,” he says.  “All of our drivers went on the course and benefited from that experience. It’s given them a bit more confidence in the truck to know exactly what the truck can do. What all the noises are. What all the alarms are when they start going off.”

Drivers were upskilled on the Mack Driver Development program, a one-day practical workshop that demonstrates use of the correct techniques for operation and manoeuvring of the vehicles.

Here drivers can better understand what determines fuel consumption in order to reduce it. Part of the day helps to explain how to eliminate behaviours that burn the most fuel.

Mack Anthem tri-axle ten-wheeler.

“They demonstrate the functions in the truck and what everything does and how it’s a little bit different to the standard Kenworth or previous Mack Tridents and basically teach them how to get the best out of it,” Jacques recalls.

“That was another example of really good support from Mack.”

Tempus Group is currently in talks with Mack to secure more truck and dogs for the Sydney area. But like most businesses in the space, getting new vehicles is proving difficult.

“Mack assures us they’ll be able to supply us by the end of the year. From a truck point of view, that’s not the problem anymore. It’s more now the trailers and the manufacture of those truck bodies.”

While there might not be any real advantages, at present, to having an Australian-based supplier when they, themselves, rely on getting the majority of their materials from overseas, there is major upside when it comes to building upon relationships.

As a company still relatively new to the truck owning domain, Tempus Group is indebted to the guidance and quality service it receives from Mack, who have helped to make the whole process less daunting.

“We’ve got a personalised agent who has been very supportive,” says Jacques.  “We’ve been running the trucks for nine months now and there’s definitely no issues. It’s a good product at a good price with good service.”

Send this to a friend