Followmont Transport Stays Loyal To UD - Both Old And New
Wednesday, 17 September 2008 | Print
Followmont Transport, one of Queensland's biggest freight operators, has become one of the first to add UD's new PK medium-duty trucks to its fleet of more than 80 UDs, some of which have clocked up more than 20 years of service with the company.
Followmont bought its first UD back in 1984 and the reliability and cost effectiveness has meant UD has been the dominant part of the company's fleet ever since, playing an enormous role in the company's success and growth over the past quarter century.
The new UD PK9s on the Followmont fleet are taking some of the toughest runs on the company's schedule including daily runs west from Cairns, the run from Longreach to Winton and north from Brisbane to regional centres. The new PKs have an unrelenting schedule covering up to 1000kms a day every day.
According to Followmont Transport's Queensland operations manager Mark Tobin, UD Trucks have been a key part to the company's success and the new trucks are proving just as good as all those that have gone before them.
"Our first UD was about the third or fourth truck the company purchased, but it was the first new truck we bought, and while we have tried just about every brand over the years the reality is UD has remained the cornerstone of our fleet," said Mark Tobin.
"We still have a lot of our older UDs running in the fleet, our policy is to buy new trucks and put them on the longer tough routes across the state where they will do around 450,000 km before we move them back to our city runs where they serve out their time," he said.
"I have been amazed by the new PK9s, the drivers have actually all called me to praise the comfort and performance and that is remarkable because that rarely happens.
"It is important to have driver-friendly comfortable trucks that they like to drive because it is so hard to get and keep good drivers these days," he added.
Followmont was started in 1983 by Mark's father Bernie Tobin and Alan Salpietro, starting with just one truck and the vision to establish an express magazine delivery operation to every corner of Queensland.
Today Followmont employs more than 500 people across depots in Brisbane and 20 regional centres across the state operating 110 Bdouble runs to North Queensland every week servicing more than 9000 customers.
"I can't emphasise enough how big a role UD has played in Followmont over the years. We had to run these trucks every night covering 1000kms getting magazines and other freight to places that used to have to wait weeks for their deliveries," he added.
"We have stayed loyal to UD because they have proved so reliable, really you can put a UD on any run in Queensland and work it hard and be confident that it will not have any problems," he said.
"It we'd had unreliable trucks it would have sunk this business but UD has helped us prosper and grow thanks to its fantastic reliability," he added.
Followmont operates its own workshop from its base in Brisbane's North adjacent to its distribution hub which buzzes with truck movements as the daily freight task is shifted all over the state.
Amongst the UDs Followmont still has on its books is a 1988 CMF 88 prime mover with more than 1.5 million kilometres on the clock which will shortly be restored and refurbished in the company's workshops.
"It was our first prime mover and we purchased it from an auction with 70,000km on the clock, it cost us $32,000 and it is still going strong, it is an amazing truck and has earned us an enormous amount of money over the past 18 years," said Mark Tobin.
"Maintenance is vital for this business and we ensure that ever truck is kept in top shape all of the time, we refurbish older trucks when they come off the long haul runs and back on the city routes to ensure they still operate at peak efficiency," he added.
The company continues to grow and is currently planning a major new headquarters and distribution facility close to Brisbane Airport and Mark Tobin says that UD will continue to be a key part of Followmont in the future.