The owner and founder of Webster’s Transport, Greg Webster, has decided the time is now right to close the business and embark on his next chapter, with his fleet set to go to auction next month.
“I’m now 71 and with the sudden passing of my wife and business partner earlier this year, with the difficulty in retaining staff and the length of time you have to wait for new equipment, my son and l have decided to retire after 30 and 43 years in the business,” Webster said.
He started the business in March 1980 with his late wife Leona, with one TK Bedford crane truck, subbing to TKD Transport in Brisbane.
Over the ensuing four years, the fleet increased to three trucks, all fitted with cranes.
With Leona manning the phones and allocating the jobs, they struck out on their own in 1983.
By 1992 the fleet had increased to seven crane trucks and semi trailers. In those days, to get a job with Webster’s, one of the provisions was that you could park your truck outside your house, which of course couldn’t happen today.
Greg and Leona purchased five acres in Crestmead in 1992. The property featured a nice house, a 200 square metre shed, a shed that was converted into an office space and plenty of parking for their fleet of trucks.
It was at the end of that same year that their son Michael joined the family business, taking over the allocator’s job from Leona while she concentrated on accounts.
Webster’s Transport continued to grow and by 1999, the fleet had grown to 14 trucks along with a couple of forklifts. It was decided by the local council that the business should move to more appropriate premises. And with that, the couple purchased three acres, with a house on it, in an industrial area. The house became the office and the adjoining two acres was acquired a couple of years later.
The fleet steadily increased with a 16 tonne Franna crane added, along with more trucks and trailers. In those early years the company was heavily involved in transporting timber and roof trusses, along with moving production machinery and live trees.
In 2003, Greg and Leona were approached by a real estate agent and asked if they wanted to sell. A price was agreed on and they moved to the current location in Crestmead and built a 3000 square metre storage building with offices and a 9000 square metre hardstand.
In 2006 they decided to concentrate on the moving of production machinery, factories and live trees and with that came new 20 tonne and 25 tonne Franna cranes, along with forklifts ranging from 10 to 2.5 tonne. The truck fleet grew to 17, with four of them working the interstate runs, carting machinery and trees.
Among the jobs carried out by the business over the years was helping Fisher and Paykel move their washing machine plant from Brisbane to Clyde, Ohio, in 2006 and sending three members of staff to help reinstall it. Then in 2008-2009, Webster’s Transport helped them move the refrigerator plant to Thailand and nine members of staff (comprised of interstate drivers, office staff and some of the local crew) went over and helped put it back together again.
Webster’s Transport also moves thousands of trees a year, anywhere from Mossman in Queensland to Melbourne, and back again. “Most probably, 75 per cent of the trees you see in projects around Brisbane have been on the back of one of our trucks,” said Greg, as he reflected on his career in the industry.
“I have enjoyed my time in this industry. Our company wasn’t just a transport, crane and rigging company, we were problem solvers and our staff over the years have done the company proud in doing just that. I would like to thank all our customers, some who we have had for 43 years, for supporting us as we have supported them.”
The Webster’s Transport fleet will go to online auction with Grays, from 4pm (AEDT) on February 16 to 6.30pm (AEDT) on February 21, 2023.
Going under the hammer will be eight prime movers (seven with cranes); 12 trailers ranging from flat tops, drop decks and extendables; two crane trucks; a Franna crane; six forklifts, two hydraulic lifting systems; and a range of late model utilities.
To view the sale, click here.