Herb Blanchard Haulage adds new 560hp prime mover

Scania prime mover in Grafton.

Grafton transport company, Herb Blanchard Haulage, has added a new 560 R-series SUPER prime mover to its fleet of trucks.

The Scania features the CR23 extended cab to provide extra room for the driver who can stretch out on an ultra-wide and comfortable pocket spring mattress.

Blanchards, which has been buying Scanias for around 15 years, is a family run business that has successfully carved itself a niche role, hauling Clarence Valley-produced timber electric light poles throughout New South Wales, as well as Queensland, and as far afield as Western Victoria.

The new truck has been painted at the factory in Blanchard’s iconic light blue with royal blue chassis.

Herb Blanchard’s three sons, Michael, Robert, and Christopher along with daughter Donna and brother-in-law Greg run the haulage firm, which has been a long-time devotee of Swedish trucks.

Previously the fleet had opted for Scania V8s.

“Our core business is transporting light poles, which can range in length from 6 to 26 metres, carried on flat-tops and/or extendable trailers,” said Robert Blanchard.

“We cart from the light pole manufacturers’ depots located in the Clarence Valley to the energy companies’ depots, and as far as possible try to ensure we have a full load for the return, usually bricks, timber or other palletised or packed and wrapped materials.

“We have been in business long enough to have figured out what works for us, both in terms of efficiency, productivity and how to keep our drivers happy, and we are expecting good fuel performance from the new 560hp six-cylinder 13-litre engine in the new prime mover.”

European trucks, according to Blanchard, gave the business peace-of-mind particularly for their safety, technology and comfort.

“We have a general rule that drivers won’t be behind the wheel past midnight, mainly because the freight is not time sensitive, and we want to keep our drivers safe,” he said.

“Lately, we have transitioned to electronic work diaries, and use fleet monitoring, as well as onboard cameras, but only to have a record in the event of an incident. The Optix forward-and driver-facing cameras use AI to alert us if a driver has forgotten his seatbelt or is holding a phone to his ear.

The Scanias go to Mid-Coast Trucks for major servicing but do intermediate service at the Blanchards workshop.

“Mid-Coast has been very accommodating and we have a good relationship with them. They’re only an hour away so quite convenient,” said Blanchard.

“It is important today to keep costs to a minimum, but we don’t simply buy the cheapest of anything. We look for good quality and value. Cheapest is not always best. We reckon if you can get at least two of service, quality and price in the equation, you’ve done well.”

Tyres, for instance, hold true to this said Blanchard.

“If you can get 240,000km from a set of drive tyres, they’ll be more cost-effective in the long run than a cheaper set that only gives you 140,000km, not to mention the reduced downtime changing them over more often,” he said.

Front view of the new Scania prime mover.
Send this to a friend