Next Level

The perks of diversifying and delivering innovative solutions has made PBS something of an ingrained mechanism at the major fleets across the country. Lindsay Transport is one of them.
Lindsay Transport PBS approved Kenworth prime mover.

With the support of more than 30 stores and depots, Lindsay Transport services customers across a wide realm that encompasses food processing, food services, fresh produce, agriculture and horticulture.

More commonly, the business is regarded as an integrated transport, logistics and rural supply company, comprising three distinct business units, Transport, Rural and Fresh Logistics. As an essential service provider, Lindsay Transport helps to grow and move an increasingly valuable commodity: food.

The founding business, Lindsay Brothers, which commenced operations in March 1953, thrived as a carrier of fruit and vegetables, loading up the trains at Coffs Harbour to supply the markets in Sydney.

In time, it diversified its freight task to include timber and fuel and by the 1970s it expanded its transport portfolio to include state-of-the-art refrigerated trucks and trailers.

Its leaders, as the business grew, were committed to continuous improvement at all levels. In 1983 a small rural supply company in the Bundaberg region called P&H Rural opened its doors and would become the foundation of Lindsay Rural.

Two decades of growth ensued. By 2001 Lindsay Australia Limited listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, incorporating both the Lindsay Transport business and the Lindsay Rural business formerly known as P&H Rural supplies.

The Brisbane markets welcomed the launch of Lindsay Fresh Logistics in 2014 which offered industry a range of services including unloading, cross docking, storage, ripening, fumigation, sterilisation, quarantine and inspection-related services for produce export.

Today, the Transport division of the business, alongside Rural, provides complementary products and services along the supply chain that cover the key needs of its customers throughout the production lifecycle.

To appreciate the scope of its operations across Australia it is worth noting that Lindsay Australia’s FY22 revenue of $553.1 million was 27.1 per cent above the prior year’s record despite extraordinary weather and COVID-19 disruptions. The Transport division benefitted from rail expansion, strong demand for its services and network investment in prior years.

It is well positioned amid industry consolidation occurring, as a result of labour shortages, cost pressures, generational changes and increasing compliance.

Strong demand for the group’s services is expected to continue throughout the 2023 financial year and plans are already in motion regarding investments into the road fleet to deliver an increase in operational capacity to meet service demands.

In its quest to improve safety and achieve gains in productivity and efficiency, Lindsay Australia has engaged the Performance-Based Standards (PBS) specialists at Smedley’s Engineers for various consulting services in recent years.

DAF CF480 with new 26- pallet semi.

Nick Lindsay, Fleet Quality and Efficiency Manager at Lindsay Australia, says these services have been predominantly focused on assistance with PBS vehicle approval design, inspection and permit applications.

“Smedley’s provides detailed technical expertise assisting our organisation in complex vehicle design and access applications,” he says. “The process of obtaining access approval for PBS equipment, for instance, has become easier with the help of consulting service providers such as Smedley’s. However, it remains an expensive and complicated experience which is enough to intimidate most operators. Smedley’s, though, has a strong understanding of operators’ requirements and a vast network of engineering knowledge to support this.”

Nick says productivity gains and fleet efficiencies can be achieved if an organisation is flexible enough to comply with robust regulatory conditions.

“The challenge is designing fleet composition around the purpose-built equipment and access restrictions,” he says. “Lindsay Australia looks to PBS to enhance its versatility and customer reach but, more importantly, to overcome the skills shortage currently challenging the logistics industry. The supply chain must find better ways to move more freight with fewer vehicles and, therefore, fewer drivers to satisfy the ever-growing freight task.”

PBS complements the organisation’s expansion into rail by reducing the overall number of vehicles on the road.

This allows Lindsay to focus on becoming a more socially responsible freight provider by minimising its environmental footprint and the overall risk to road users. Both initiatives provide the customer base with a more carbon-friendly mode of transport and underpin Lindsay’s drive to become a more sustainable service provider.

The team at Lindsay Transport understands there is room for improvement in the route access application process, an objective industry continues to strive towards.

“It is somewhat complex and difficult to understand,” Nick says. “The experience tends to create some confusion leading to frustration. Despite these regulatory hiccups, Lindsay Transport will continue to leverage technology and vehicle safety developments to drive better industry outcomes and improve overall road safety.”

More than a few recent developments have resulted in improvements to the PBS process such as the 20m truck and dog gazette which is finding support within the industry.

Some combinations that previously required PBS approvals to operate will now be able to run under a notice according to Smedley’s Engineers PBS Assessor Nathan Wiblin, although additional requirements under the notice are required and can be costly.

“The vehicle must still operate at the weights calculated on the tier 1 bridge formula and there are additional conditions required under the notice, but not under PBS, such as full contour conspicuity tape and a cumbersome access process. Many truck and dog operators and manufacturers have said they will stick with PBS due to these requirements,” he says. “But tyres are non-specific, which means operators aren’t stuck with a fixed list of tyres that must be fitted to remain compliant.”

This has removed a point of conjecture that has occasionally maligned PBS uptake over the years. Currently, Lindsay Australia has five PBS combinations on the road of which four are 26-pallet semi-trailer combinations and one A-double high productivity vehicle along with an additional three configurations in the vehicle design approval pipeline that are expected to facilitate upwards of 30 additional combinations once approval is sought.

“Lindsay Transport has 12 sets of 42-pallet quad-quad B-double sets in production,” Nick says. “This will increase cubic capacity by eight pallets per freight movement from Queensland to South Australia to Victoria. Once this equipment has commenced its work, there is a further commitment for 20 more sets throughout 2023-24.”

As for observations with PBS trends, Nick points to an increasing variety in vehicle configurations which may be attributed to operators and customers collaborating to establish dedicated freight lanes that facilitate compliance with PBS requirements.

With that in mind, ultimately, it is safety and compliance that is at the heart of Lindsay Australia’s organisational values and decision making

“Given our industry’s recent challenges throughout COVID, any productivity improvement that can result in a reduction in costs will be welcomed and implemented whenever possible,” Nick says. “PBS strongly appeals to Lindsay Transport due to its tendency to combine these elements which will undoubtedly figure in future equipment procurement.”

PBS-approved A-double pulled by Kenworth K200.
Send this to a friend