Going from strength to strength in the west

The Lumsden family has been involved in transport for decades. Their foray into the industry started when Murray and Roxy Lumsden moved to the small town of Varley in WA’s Wheatbelt region. The plan was to buy a farm and work on the land, but that’s not quite how it worked out. 

When a local fuel carrying business came up for sale, they decided to take a punt and purchase it – eventually forming Varley Transport in 1985. Their three sons Callum, Tyron and Justin have helped to build the business up and were instrumental in the family’s decision to purchase Trojan Haulage in 2018. 

As Varley Transport moved into agricultural transport, it sold its fuel distribution contracts in 2000. Eventually the family wanted to get back into fuel, and that’s where Trojan Haulage came in. 

“Since we took over Trojan Haulage in 2018, we haven’t looked back,” said Callum.

Today Varley Transport continues to service the agricultural industry, while Trojan Haulage transports fuel for both the retail and mining sectors. The companies employ approximately 50 people between them.

Callum took a step away from the family business for a short while but was soon lured back and now heads up both companies as CEO. His brothers serve as operations managers – Justin at Trojan and Tyron at Varley. 

“We’ve grown up with trucks and around trucks. As soon as we could get our truck licences, we did,” said Callum, 38, who got his MC licence at around the age of 20. Tyron and Justin got their licences early on too and are also both qualified heavy diesel fitters. 

Trojan Haulage runs everything from singles in the city, up to quad road trains in the Goldfields.

Trojan Haulage services metro, regional and remote WA, running everything from singles in the city, up to quad road trains in the Goldfields. It operates out of facilities in Perth and Kalgoorlie.

Macks and Volvos are the company’s truck of choice, with more trucks continually being added into the mix. 

“The trucks servicing the Goldfields do a lot of off-road work and travel some really tough routes. But we’ve got a really good team of operators on board and the way they treat the trucks is why we get such a good run out of them. A lot of it is attributed to the way the team looks after the gear,” said Callum.

“We’ve got such a great team around us. Without them, we wouldn’t have a business. They’ve been a massive part of our growth, not just recently, but since our inception.”

A recent addition to the fleet was a new Volvo FH16 and PBS-approved super pocket from Melbourne based tanker manufacturer Tieman. 

The combination has been on the road since May and has been keeping busy, with 100,000km already on the clock.

Used for runs in and out of the Kwinana fuel terminal in Perth, Callum says it offers a 17 per cent payload gain over Trojan’s next biggest pocket road train. 

“We were trying to maximise payload and efficiency, while maintaining a safe combination we could utilise across our network. The furthest it travels is about 700 kilometres from Perth,” Callum added. 

While Trojan’s other pocket road trains are capable of carrying up to 84,000 litres, the new super pocket has a 98,500-litre capacity, which is largely attributed to its three additional axles. 

“We’re able to move more litres with fewer trucks in a safer and more efficient manner. Also, we can achieve similar payloads to a conventional C-train combination while operating a vehicle that is much safer on the road with better route access.”

The super pocket has a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 116 tonnes and though Trojan has various other high GCM trucks in the fleet, the payload and access of the Tieman super pocket is unrivalled. 

“The trailers track well, and the swept path mimics a traditional pocket road train. It is hard to get your head around it until you jump in and go for a drive. The way this combination handles is amazing, for big payloads these combinations are certainly the best way forward,” Callum said. 

The choice of truck for the combination was an easy one, as Callum says Volvo is the preferred choice for cabovers in the fleet. 

“Our cabovers are all Volvos – just for driver comfort, reliability, the safety features and the after sales service we receive from Truck Centre WA.”

Along with the standard safety features, Trojan opts for Volvo’s additional safety package that includes the lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance assistance and blind spot detection. 

Travelling WA’s outback.

For the past 18 months, all trucks coming into the fleet have also been equipped with the Guardian Seeing Machine as an added safety feature. 

Callum admits there was a lot of uncertainty from drivers when it was first introduced into Trojan’s trucks, but now they’ve come around. 

“We’re finding the Seeing Machines to be really good and our drivers understand that they’re in the trucks for their own benefit as well as ours,” said Callum.

“It’s been proven time and time again that the technology is really worthwhile for us. It’s being added to any new trucks. I see it as a really important safety feature for our drivers.”

Over the next six months, more new Volvos are set to join the Trojan fleet, along with some new tanker combinations too. 

“We’ll definitely keep adding more and trailers to the fleet into the future. Our business is always looking to grow and make the most of any opportunities that come up,” Callum said. 

“We try to align ourselves with like-minded companies, and build our business around them. 

“We’re very old school in our approach and believe that service is a massive part of what we do, so we bend over backwards to make sure we go above and beyond for all our clients – and the team we’ve got around us is making that happen, helping to facilitate our growth and to manage it.”

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