Driving trucks in Australia is much more complex and adventurous than in his native South Africa, says Jaco Venter.
Venter has been down under for the past 28 months and drives a 2008 Freightliner Argosy for PRM Transport, which is based near Giru in tropical north Queensland.
For a long time before that, he was involved in the trucking industry in the central part of South Africa.
“I had a start-up as an owner operator to a build-up of a fleet of 12 trucks over there. With time, the operations got very dangerous, to a point where we had to get out. We used to cart grain and cement to Botswana and Namibia. I came to Australia intrigued but mostly to provide a future for my young sons aged five and ten,” he said.
Big Rigs spoke to Venter when we saw him checking his road train at the Townsville Port Access Road.
Venter also said Aussies have many great services here, like proper mail delivery and effective garbage disposal. “Which is not always the case in South Africa,” he said.
The 40-year-old truckie lives at Ayr, which is 38km south of Giru on the Bruce Highway.
“I have a load of soybean meal for Stocklick in Charters Towers,” Venter said.
He added that fuel prices were about the same in both countries, although he said the cost of ownership and labour over here in Australia is much higher, but it’s also of better value.
Venter likes stopping at the Puma Calcium Roadhouse and rates the Hughenden to Winton Highway as the worst he gets along.
When he gets time off, Venter enjoys going to the gym and fishing for barramundi in the plentiful creeks around the Burdekin.