Victoria-based carrier, Skyroad Logistics, has announced it is part of a massive investment.
Europe’s largest Road Feeder Service (RFS) provider, Luxembourg-based Wallenborn, is acquiring a significant shareholding in Skyroad Logistics adding Oceania to its fast-growing RFS network which already provides extensive coverage in Europe and the Middle East.
Strategic investment will reportedly expand the fleet and facilitate development of new products and services for the Australian market.
Peter Assel who co-founded the business will remain as a major shareholder as well as Managing Director. The agreement covers Air Cargo RFS, Express Transport and Project Transport service offerings.
Skyroad Logistics will continue to operate from its head office in Melbourne, and service depots in Sydney and Brisbane.
“Skyroad is a perfect fit in our portfolio of quality-focused organisations providing a full spectrum of products and services,” said Frantz Wallenborn, President & CEO at Wallenborn Transports.
“They’re pioneers in the Australian market – for example the first TAPA TSR certified company in Australia – and their ‘can-do’ spirit has dramatically changed the air-cargo landscape since 2015. Together we’ll be delivering even more benefits and opportunities for our customers in Australia and beyond.”
This ‘Next Chapter’ for Skyroad Logistics was announced on Friday 11 November at an event for Skyroad’s peers, colleagues and suppliers at Butler Lane by Peter Rowland in Richmond, Victoria.
The venue, with its industrial warehouse aesthetic, was complemented by a lush courtyard, and on this occasion, featured a 50th anniversary edition Kenworth tribute prime mover as the centrepiece.
Australian Idol finalist, actor, television personality and singer-songwriter, Rob Mills, was lead performer and handled the MC duties on the night.
Assel said the company had achieved its goal of market leadership in RFS in Australia within just seven years, and with strong growth and a strong future investment plan in place including record fleet orders from Kenworth, it was timely to seek further investment partners.
“Since my co-founder Anthony Clark passed away from cancer early in 2020 my focus has been on our goals and our company vision,” he said.
“However, with our rapid expansion, it was obvious I needed a partner and Wallenborn ticks all the boxes with a similar customer profile, an ambitious business plan and the expertise to scale up.”
By the end of 2023 Assel expects the business in Australia to have at least 34 trucks and 40 trailers. He is also working towards bringing new products to market that will reduce carbon footprint.
“We intend to rapidly leverage off the Wallenborn knowledge and quality management to bring even better services and capabilities to Australia and to extend our lead in service capability,” said Assel.
“Skyroad’s strengths will remain unchanged with our strong commitment to company owned fleet, great suppliers such as Kenworth, Cummins, and Thermo King, and of course our commitment to sustainability.”
Wallenborn, which was founded in 1920, has 1,100-plus drivers, more than 900 trucks in control and has a very similar DNA to Skyroad.
“We’re very proud to have Wallenborn come a long way to join us in Australia,” said Assel.
PACCAR Australia Managing Director, Andrew Hadjikakou, thanked Assel for being a part of Skyroad’s journey and reflected on the last couple of years in Victoria which have been life-changing in every regard.
“We were honoured and deeply touched by Peter and Skyroad when we developed a beautiful tribute truck to celebrate Kenworth’s 50 years of manufacturing in Australia,” he said.
“During those 50 years at Kenworth, every single one was profitable and viable, without a single cent or support from federal or state governments in the form of tax subsidies or import protection.
“We’ve had to stand on our two feet and it’s wonderful to have employees whose dedication to their work has seen us prosper for half a century.”
PACCAR’s Bayswater facility and surrounding buildings employs 1,400 people from plant operators and engineers to sales and sees more than 100 prime movers roll out weekly.
“Together, during the hardened Victorian lockdowns in the Covid months, the Kenworth factory and Skyroad Logistics remained open,” said Hadjikakou. “We didn’t shut for a day and together we kept our great nation medicated, fed and clothed.”
‘Australian made world’s best’ – that has been Kenworth’s motto for 50 years, which Hadjikakou explained represents continuous improvement, innovation and designs that improve lives. “Local capability feeds unique Australian products used by great customers like Skyroad who we have very real, close relationships.”
Earlier this year, in June, Skyroad Logistics bolstered its partnership with Kenworth and Cummins by committing to a bulk order of K200 and K220 trucks spec’d with Cummins-Eaton Euro 6 integrated power drivetrains and Meritor drivelines and axles.
Cummins Director – On-Highway Business, Mike Fowler, said the company’s Destination Zero strategy aims to decarbonise the transport industry in the years to follow and Skyroad Logistics is a critical partner in this.
“The path towards zero emissions actually requires trusting partnerships,” he said.
“There’s not one company, not one jurisdiction, not one nation – it’s about how people come together to tackle climate change.
Cummins’ mission, vision and values align with Skyroad Logistics.
“The transport business is a relationship business,” said Fowler. “It is a business that is built on partnerships and each supplier having a deep-seated value that the only way they succeed is by innovating and making their customers succeed.”
Cummins X15 Euro VI engines, according to Fowler, are delivering group energy productivity and meeting Euro 6 emissions guidelines – the clean-up of reduced NOx and particulate emissions from trucks three years ahead of the regulatory requirement. It is also the standard specification at Skyroad Logistics.
As for the next generation of fuel agnostic platforms, Skyroad is working with Cummins as a testing partner. This includes field testing platforms for renewable natural gas, connecting power outputs and as a 15-litre hydrogen internal combustion engine.
“This is the first place in the world we’re we are field testing those engines and our plan is to launch here as well.”
Assel has been at the forefront of implementing innovative road transport technologies since he commenced operations in 2015.