Wild Desert endorses Mack association

Mack Titan multi-combination.

Oil and gas services business, Wild Desert, relies on the Mack Titan platform for its remote outback work.

In addition to servicing some of the wells for the five biggest oil and gas companies in Australia, Wild Desert provides transport services and supplies entire camps delivered, set up, stocked and fully-staffed.

On short notice they can be asked to pull a camp down, move it a few hundred kilometres, and then set it up again, often in the same day.

Based out of Roma in central Queensland, Wild Desert has specialised since 2005 in servicing well sites and providing all the facilities and supplies needed to keep them in operation.

Wild Desert Managing Director David Whiley said that after nearly 20 years the company is more in demand than ever.

“Back in 2005 we saw the opportunity, so we sold a few houses and bought a truck,” he said.

“Since then we’ve just been getting busier every year.”

The company’s truck fleet now numbers more than 50 units. Over half of these Mack Titans with another two on order.

They transport all manner of equipment and supplies to destinations as far apart as Moomba in South Australia, and the Carnarvon Ranges in Queensland.

“Our trucks are mostly running as AB-triple or triple roadtrains,” explained Whiley.

“Depending on what they’re carrying and where they’re going, they might do anything from 500 to 3,500 kilometres in a trip.”

The trucks have to get into some extremely remote places through some of the toughest terrain in the country, so Wild Desert needs tough, robust and reliable trucks that can handle the extreme conditions.

“We’re often way off the bitumen and some of the roads the corrugations are so wide apart you can’t get on top of them. In those places we have to crawl along at five kilometres an hour,” said Whiley.

“On one job a few years ago it took me four hours to go 70 kilometres.”

One of the company’s advantages and why its customer relations remain so strong is that it remains a single-source provider.

“We bring in all our own fuel and parts from Brisbane, and we supply all our own food out of Roma. The only thing we don’t do is fly in the staff – we know our limitations,” added Whiley.

Wild Desert Managing Director, David Whiley.

With a huge area to cover, Whiley knew he needed trucks that could handle the toughest of conditions. Back in 2006 he bought a 1998-model Mack Titan and soon realised he’d found the truck he was after.

“My dad drove Flintstones and R600s so I had a bit of history with Mack, but the Titan is ideal for what we do. They don’t just look tough, they are tough, they hold up well and we’ve kept ours going for years through multiple rebuilds,” he said.

That first Titan is still going strong after 18 years, which is a testament to both the strength of the Mack and the care David takes with his trucks.

“We don’t trade them in, we just keep refurbishing them and they serve us well. The drivers love them too, especially the new ones with the mDRIVE automated manual: removing 600 gear shifts per days really does reduce driver fatigue,” Whiley said.

Wild Desert partners with the Mack team at Western Truck Group in Toowoomba.

“The Mack team and the WTG boys really know our business. They understand the environments we work in and the things that matter to us in a truck,” said Whiley.

“I’m only lately learning to use their help more, and they’re always keen to get involved and make suggestions on how we can improve things. We’ve got a good foundation there and I like working with them.”

The team have suggested a few modifications to the Titans that have helped improve their range and effectiveness.

“We’ve got tougher mounts on some of them, bigger toolboxes, long-range fuel tanks and iceboxes. For drivers who are heading into places that are literally hundreds of miles from anywhere, the Titan is a great combination of toughness and comfort.

“Our drivers do 20 days on and ten off, and during that time they might spend fifteen nights in the truck, so driver comfort is very important.”

Vice President of Mack Trucks Australia, Tom Chapman noted the distinctive attributes of the Mack Titan, highlighting its design for both durability and driver comfort.

“Since we started building trucks in Australia, Mack Trucks has been synonymous with reliability and unmatched durability for the tough Australian conditions. There’s a strong commitment to continual evolution and every truck engineered out of our Wacol plant is designed with two major trademarks in mind: comfort for the driver and optimal total cost of ownership for the business owner,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to hear real-life examples of this out in the field with customers like Wild Desert. The driver’s safety and comfort is absolutely paramount when operating in remote areas, and we certainly value Wild Desert’s trust in our product whilst operating in some of the toughest areas in Australia.”

Wild Desert bought three Titans last year and have two on order, with a third likely later in the year. He estimates that they’ll replace three trucks per year over the next five years.

“We’re busier than we’ve ever been so we’re taking the opportunity to expand, and also to replace some of the older manuals with autos,” said Whiley.

“Not that we’ll be selling any trucks, they’ll just get put on lighter duties.”

Mack Titan prime movers near Roma, QLD.
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