Next Generation

Sixty years of road transport experience across two countries equips Ausway Transport to meet its newest ambitions.
Ausway Transport Scania trucks.

The Sooch family became involved in road transport in Northern India as far back as 1962 where Gurdev S. Sooch started a trucking company, prior to emigrating to Australia with his family in the mid-‘70s.

Gurdev’s son, Bill Sooch established Ausway Transport in Melbourne with a single truck in 2003 and while Bill remains heavily involved in the operation, his son Bobby Sooch is now the General Manager, making this the third generation of the family to be involved in transport.

Ausway Transport provides express interstate parcel deliveries, with growing dry and refrigerated food contracts on the Melbourne-Sydney and Melbourne-Brisbane routes.

There are occasional trips into Northern Queensland, as well as a daily Melbourne-Adelaide service.

The process is underway currently to acquire accreditation to operate in Western Australia.

Scania R 620 V8 B-doubles.
Two new Scania R 620 B-doubles.

In addition to its fleet of rigid trucks, Ausway Transport currently has more than 60 late model prime movers and 70 B-double sets including drop deck mezzanines.

Some new B-triples will be joining the fleet following the PBS approvals being handled by Smedley’s Engineers and will be destined for operations into North Queensland and South Australia.

The majority of prime movers are Kenworth and Volvo, and two R 620 V8 Scanias are the latest additions with several more currently on order.

In the past Ausway has used other American brands, and Bobby Sooch recognises the value of operating locally manufactured products such as Kenworth and Volvo as it contributes to the overall economy at a macro level while it simplifies parts and service support at a more micro level.

The move to establishing the refrigerated transport division has led to the acquisition of the Scanias; the brand decision influenced by the performance of a number of rigid Scania trucks already in the fleet.

“It’s always been a one truck-one driver culture here and we prefer drivers to have the maximum room available in the cabs,” says Bobby Sooch. “A lot of our drivers are what we call ‘camper drivers’ who are happy to stay in the truck for two or three weeks, hence the big cabs like the Scanias are ideal.” 

Having a modern and well-optioned fleet contributes to safety as well as efficiency and can also be an important factor contributing to the recruitment and retention of skilled and dedicated drivers, many of whom have been with Ausway Transport for more than ten years.

Trucks are planned to be kept for between 800,000 kilometres to one million kilometres and the Scanias are on dealer repair and maintenance contracts for those distances which also suits Ausway’s strict adherence to maintenance procedures, which is reinforced as part of the company’s NHVAS accreditation.

Trucks are tracked using MTData and most drivers are transitioning to electronic work diaries. All drivers undergo comprehensive background checks and are subject to drug testing.

“We see every truck through our depot in Craigieburn where we have our own workshop and perform all trailer maintenance inhouse,” says Bobby.

Any minor damage to components such as mudguards is addressed by having pre-painted replacements on hand to enable quick fitment.

In addition to accessories such as the microwaves and televisions fitted to the sleepers, the Ausway Scanias are equipped with a Scania factory lightbar on the roof holding four large circular driving lamps, while there are six amber running lights on the top of the air deflector in addition to running lights on the Kentweld bullbar, which incorporates two 9000 lumen 17-inch LED light bars.

Scania R 620 prime mover.
Six amber running lights feature above the air deflector.

There are extra running lights on the mirror cases and down the side of the cab, giving the trucks a distinctive light signature.

The wild fluctuation of diesel prices in recent years is an issue for all operators and Ausway has had each Scania specified with fuel tanks with a combined capacity of 1,200 litres. 

“We bunker our own fuel at our depot and prefer to avoid refuelling on the road,” says Bobby. “The cost savings are significant, but you need big enough tanks on the trucks to benefit from this. With average fuel consumption of around 2.0 km/litre on interstate duties, the Scania capacity and range suits our needs.”

Safety is paramount at Ausway. This is reflected by the rear facing cameras which are fitted under the door mirror housings as well as a single camera on the nearside entry step to watch for vulnerable road users.

The new FTE fridge trailers hauled by the R620s have the standard Ausway corporate white and blue livery reversed to maximise a greater expanse of white in place of the big blue sections common to the Tautliner curtains.

“More white paint rather than blue helps to reflect the heat off the panels to reduce the load on the new Thermo King A500 chillers in hot weather,” Bobby explains.

In the competitive market for transport components Ausway Transport has developed a policy of sticking to a select group of suppliers which can result in long term benefits.

“We have cultivated a set of approved suppliers for all our hardware, using only proven components we know work for us. All our trailers are from Vawdrey or FTE, and we only use BPW axles, airbags and suspension components, JOST fifth wheels and landing legs, HELLA lighting systems, Michelin, Goodyear and Haulmax tyres,” says Bobby. “We know these companies are committed to supporting our business. Cheapest is not always the best.”

Scania R 620 rear facing camera.
Rear facing cameras have been fitted to the door mirrors.

Bobby would like to see more interest and enthusiasm for new people to come into the road transport industry.

“A challenge in this industry is promoting it to encourage new people to join it,” he says.

“We don’t have many young people coming into the industry and I think every industry is suffering, not just in Australia but it’s a worldwide problem. I think transport deserves a better reputation as a career.

“People in schools want to be a plumber or an electrician but they don’t want to be a truck driver. It doesn’t help that you can’t ride in the trucks with your uncle or father like the old days. I find it hard that youngsters these days don’t look at it as a career — they all want short term goals. Everything takes time to build.”

Forward planning is an important factor in the future success of Ausway and includes having orders in place for replacement and additional new trucks and trailers to be delivered over the next four years.

Ausway Transport has built a reputation for being a business of integrity and for valuing industry relationships.

Bobby Sooch graduated from university and worked for a major oil company for some time, and later when he expressed interest in joining the family transport operation, he was told by his father, Bill, that there would be no turning back, and Bobby continues to harbour no regrets for making the decision to get involved.

He has progressed, after spending five years driving Ausway trucks, to become an allocator and today is General Manager.

“We work crazy hours here, but I love it,” he says.

“It doesn’t matter what profession you have, if you enjoy it, you don’t even realise the time you spend on it. I’m proud when I look back at the people I know in the industry because they become your ‘business family’ and the connections you build within your business life are not just something you can gain overnight.” 

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