Western Union

CTI Logistics Limited is a diverse, publicly-listed organisation which has been providing transport, logistics and business services, mainly in the state of Western Australia, since 1973.
CTI Logistics Cascadia truck in the dust.

CTI Logistics Limited (CTI) celebrates 50 years of operation in 2023 and now has more than 1,000 people and 750-plus vehicles.

These provide services ranging from couriers to heavy haulage as well as third-party logistics (3PL), covering general, e-commerce fulfilment, bulk and temperature-controlled storage and operates warehousing facilities in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and regional WA including Karratha, Broome and Bunbury.

During the last decade CTI’s regional freight network has significantly increased its footprint, taking advantage of the state’s mining, oil and gas boom.

It has been bolstered by an acquisition process involving a number of businesses in the northwest, among them Broome Freightlines, Bunbury Freight, and Stirling Freight Express. This has resulted in CTI having its own company-owned and run depots in Broome, Port Hedland and Karratha in the northwest, as well as Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Bunbury.

More than 320 people are employed in CTI’s regional freight network, in addition to its workforce of sub-contractors.

CTI’s regional freight operation has grown to currently include 66 medium duty trucks, 151 heavy duty trucks including 55 prime movers, and around 260 trailers, servicing about 1,200 towns in WA out of the state’s total of 1,800. Organic growth has been as important as acquisition.

The depots form the main core of the regional freight network, supplemented by agencies in the smaller towns to which CTI delivers the freight in bulk and the on-forwarding agencies perform the last mile deliveries.

CTI Logistics' Mark Cameron.
CTI driver Paul Downey.

“The good thing about us is we are a general freight carter, but our success has been largely due to us not being afraid of small consignments,” say Mark Cameron, a former CTI courier himself who started with the company 28 years ago.

He now serves as CTI’s General Manager for Heavy Vehicles in Western Australia.

“We’ve been in the ad-hoc courier business all our lives so small freight, as far as cartons are concerned, doesn’t bother us,” he says. “Palletised freight is great as a mix, but you need a bit of both. Some people may only do ‘smalls’, and some others will only want to do pallets and not be bothered with the smalls. We are trying to be the best of both.”

CTI’s regional operation also provides full trailer transport for many of the numerous oil and gas projects in the northwest.

Mark began as a courier with CTI back in the early ‘90s and after several years accepted an opportunity for a role as a fleet controller.

“I started on the heavier side because we had a big courier operation and a small taxi truck business in Perth with Mercury Crane Trucks and Redline Transport, where we had about ten trucks plus sub-contractors and we did anything that the other courier companies didn’t do,” he recalls. “We also got into crane trucks and then added wharf cartage and harbour haulage of containers to that mix.”

That business grew from a small ten truck courier operation into a major metropolitan carrier and eventually had about 100 trucks servicing the Perth area with a number of blue chip clients included in the business mix. When the oil and gas industry in the state’s northwest had entered into a lull a decade ago, CTI acquired a local operation which was in receivership and included around 25 prime movers and 100 trailers, although most, in Mark’s words, “had been driven into the ground.”

A vehicle replenishment plan was put in place and it became evident that while the vehicles were important, it was the relationship with the dealerships which was crucial.

“A lot of this is about after-sales service for us which is really important,” says Mark. “The vehicle products themselves are all quite similar but the after-sales and the dealerships make or break the experience for us.”

When the, then, supplying brand’s salesperson, the late Peter Toohey, moved over to Daimler Trucks, the strength of the relationship endured.

“Our relationship was really with Peter rather than the manufacturer of the truck,” says Mark. “We bought some Mercedes-Benz’s for our local cartage involving single trailer operations, wharf cartage, pocket roadtrains, and we even ventured with a couple as roadtrains up in the north.”

However, bonneted trucks remain the prime movers of choice for that remote and rugged application and a number of Freightliner Coronados were soon added to the fleet.

“With our northwest trucks we need a bit more room and larger bunk space and our guys seem to like bonneted trucks in order to get that additional space,” explains Mark. “We’d bought a fair few Coronados and we were then excited about the Cascadias coming through and it’s now our ‘go to’ product with seven already in the fleet. The drivers liked the Coronados as far as fit, finish and comfort is concerned, and the Cascadia is an even nicer version of the Coronado. They like the comfort, they like the truck and we are mindful of that because they effectively live in them four or five days a week.”

A Freightliner Cascadia navigates hilly terrain in Western Australia.

The relationship between customer and dealer remains as important as the trucks themselves.

“Daimler Trucks have been good to us, and we’ve got a good relationship now with Ian Kiddie at the dealership,” says Mark. “After-sales have been great and they are very responsive. The dealership is our preference for servicing, though we have one or two independents for oil changes and other short notice servicing.”

As a general rule, CTI tends to avoid service contracts. “We’ve done the numbers and we believe we can manage it with a couple of our own service co-ordinators here to make sure they’re serviced and make sure we’re getting the work done,” adds Mark.

The State of Western Australia does not come under the auspices of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and this provides some more free rein in relation to vehicle combinations such as triple roadtrains.

The CTI regional freight operation includes some PBS B-double combinations running at 4.6-metres high and with 36-pallet capacities, particularly for the 600-700 kilometre “short” linehaul work.

For its people, CTI has a reputation for being a big company with small family operation values.

“We have the best of both worlds and we try to keep it as close as we can to being small business-minded as far as looking after our people and doing what we do best,” says Mark. “As well as keeping up with essentials including corporate governance to keep us on the straight and narrow.”

All activities across CTI are performed according to International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification for Quality, Environmental and Health and Safety Management Systems which provides a definite point of difference and demonstrates a substantial commitment and level of dedication from CTI and its staff.

The expertise of the people and the capabilities of the equipment have played a major role in CTI ensuring deliveries into areas affected by last summer’s ‘big wet’ as much of the northwest of WA took on the features of an inland sea, presenting a different sort of challenge to operating in remote regions of Australia.

The new Cascadia navigates flood waters.
Send this to a friend