Fred’s Interstate Transport has become a major player in interstate freight services throughout Victoria, Sydney and Brisbane since 1978 when Frederick Borg founded the company.
Together with a team of owner-drivers who were instrumental in transporting client products, the business soon expanded to the substantial fleet it is today with several long-term clients, many of whom remain.
In recent years the fleet has undergone a complete transformation to now include more than 135 A- and B-double combinations, pulled by 65 Kenworths varying from K200s and T610s to T909s in 36- and 50-inch integrated units.
The entire business model itself has changed as well. A more specialised focus, according to Managing Director, Danny Borg, has occasioned a move away from sub-contractors and tow operators.
“We made the decision to do everything with our own fleet,” he says. “So, in the last five years we have grown the fleet in order to have complete control and transparency on what’s happening in terms of service levels for our customers.”
Fred’s also recently built its new workshop facility in Shepparton, which was another part of the major change in operations at the business.
The depot was designed to handle the volume of the new fleet while providing trailer refurbishment programs, general maintenance of vehicles, high flow service facilities and new wash bays.
At present, the oldest prime mover in Fred’s fleet is five-years of age. And since this particular vehicle arrived, almost 40 new trailers have been delivered — all decked out with JOST equipment.
The relationship between JOST and Fred’s began in 2007 as Danny recalls.
Although it initially began with JOST Modul landing legs being fitted to the trailers, the fleet has since grown to include JOST fifth wheels and kingpins as well.
“Their product was a standard OEM thing at the time, which we were very familiar with, so we were happy to use it,” Danny says. “We’ve been using their landing legs ever since and we’ve never had any trouble with them. In recent years we’ve moved to their turntables and kingpins too, which wear very well. We didn’t use a lot of them prior to that, but in the last five years with the fleet rebuild, everything here is now JOST.”
JOST’s Modul landing legs are a standard fitment to all of Fred’s trailers due to their speed and ease of use. Additional conveniences for transporting freight around Australia have been forthcoming thanks to the low maintenance required.
“Drivers enjoy the ease of the Modul landing legs due to how easy they can select gears when lowering or raising the landing legs,” Danny says. “The internal gearbox helps with any clearance issues that may occur around the landing leg and also saves weight by not having an external gearbox.”
According to Danny, the reliability and strength of the JOST product, by his reckoning, goes unmatched.
“It’s just a good, solid and reliable product that does its job,” he says. “I don’t get any complaints about the JOST products from our drivers, so that tells me that they like the product and that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”
Simple for operators to use, the JOST JSK37CW series of fifth wheels feature a secondary lock on the side of the fifth wheel located next to the handle.
For drivers it makes it a simple procedure to notice when the kingpin is in a locked position and when the secondary lock is down — allowing them to effortlessly connect and disconnect trailers.
Since reverting to the JOST JSK37CW low maintenance fifth wheel, the process of coupling and uncoupling units at Fred’s has never been easier.
“As a product it works flawlessly,” Danny says. “The main thing I like about their fifth wheels is the fact that they have a really nice positive lock when you’re hooking vehicles up. They’re locked in and they’re easy to unhook, so they’re just a very serviceable unit.”
The fifth wheel also comes standard with an extended handle for ease of operation when splitting trailers, preventing drivers from having to reach underneath the trailer to grab the handle. Also, having LubeTronic on the JSK37CW helps with less maintenance. And, with the jaw constantly being lubricated between service intervals, extended service life is a guarantee.
“The fifth wheels are an excellent product with good wear and they’re affordable to rebuild,” Danny says. “The automatic greasing on the LubeTronics that they run are great, and from a maintenance point of view, you don’t have to worry about it. They’re pretty much set and they have a long life on them, so they’re very simple to maintain. And as I say, they’re very cost-effective in terms of replacement parts – whether it’s foot bushes, jaw kits and the LubeTronic canisters.”
LubeTronic supplies grease directly to the jaw and gives a continuous lubrication for three years, which is also a peace of mind for Fred’s.
With the jaw being properly lubricated at all times, the LubeTronic also helps with easier connection and a longer lifetime for both the jaw and the kingpin.
By using JOST’s low maintenance fifth wheel, skid plates are given a longer product life as well. This further reduces the amount of maintenance needed for fleets. And, if there is maintenance needed, it’s an easy fix as replacement parts are readily available through JOST’s national distribution network.
“From a maintenance, lifecycle and serviceability point of view it makes things a lot simpler for our maintenance program routine,” Danny says. “The product’s very simple to work on, it’s quite effective and it’s reliable, so it’s a product that does what it needs to do at a safety and performance level and requires very little input from us on that maintenance components side of it.”
Like many of JOST’s regular customers, Fred’s finds all aspects of dealing with JOST to be positive.
Having direct contact with JOST’s well-known reliable aftersales service, Danny has been confident in placing his trust in JOST for complete truck and trailer fitment throughout the fleet.
“Their customer relationships and their service levels are better than anybody else in the market from where we sit,” he says. “They visit us on a fairly regular basis and are always in communication with us, which is what drove the decision to continue dealing with them in the end.
“They communicate with us and if there’s any issues we have, which there’s very few of, they deal with it a very timely manner.”
Danny is assured that JOST will continue to play a major role in Fred’s operations for many years to come.
“Overall, it’s just a good, all-round product,” he says. “It’s reliable, effective and simple to maintain — and that’s what you want in a big fleet.”
There is much, where future growth prospects are concerned, already in the pipeworks according to Danny. Following recent exponential growth, a new facility is being planned for Brisbane which will complete the circle in the fleet’s interstate operations.
With design work currently taking place, it is expected to be finished by 2026. While there is no doubt Fred’s will continue to expand its presence over the coming years, Danny assures that the fleet will keep the original values established by his father and founder, Frederick, close to its heart.
“Although we have gone through a number of changes, the guiding principles remain pretty much the same,” he says.
“Fleet-wise it’s a continuation of what the business was in its early days while raising the profile with the new fleet and modern facilities, and really taking it to the next stages as a second and third-generation operation. We’ll move forward from there and continue to do what we do best while sticking to our roots.”