Tributes flow for much loved transport legend

Well known transport operator and director of Booth Transport, Brian Booth, has passed away over the weekend, aged 79.

Brian passed on Saturday March 11, surrounded by his family. He is being remembered as a true gentleman, and an industry icon and pioneer, growing Booth Transport into the major transport player it is today.

Today, March 14, many will be hitting the road with their lights on for Brian, to honour his memory.

Booth Transport was started by his father Lindsay Booth, with Brian joining the family business in 1958. His brother Devron had joined the family business two years prior.

Keen to grow the transport side of the business, during the 1960s the two brothers expanded the number of trucks to 12 and began doing interstate runs. Initially this was centred around transporting bulk wine from Adelaide, to Melbourne and Sydney. By the late 1960s, however, this diversified to include various forms of freight.

In 1968 Lindsay formed L.S. Booth Wine Transport Pty Ltd with seven shareholders (himself, his wife and five children); and then retired from the day to day running of the business soon after.

The 1970s saw a rapid expansion of the business. Trucks also got bigger and could transport bigger loads. In 1979, the company bought its first road tanker, which had a capacity of 22,750 litres – a big jump in efficiency compared to the previous 4500 litre tanks that had been used.

By the 1980s, an additional 15 road tankers were added to the fleet. Then in 1989, Booth Transport purchased a major competitor – and with it, 40 tankers and trucks and a depot and vineyard in Tanunda, SA. This move more than doubled the size of the business in an instant.

Growth continued through the 1990s, with the acquisition of a milk transport company based in Deniliquin, NSW, complete with another 15 tankers.

Then in 1998, the company expanded yet again through the acquisition of the general freight division of a Brisbane based company.

By the end of the decade, Brian and Devron were the company’s sole shareholders. And then by the turn of the century, Devron sold his half of the business to Brian.

What followed was the company more than doubling in size, through multiple expansions and acquisitions. During the 2000s, this resulted in the purchase of more than 200 pieces of equipment. It was also during this decade that the company name was changed from L. S. Booth Wine Transport to Booth Transport, and the company’s distinctive red livery was brought in.

Under Brian’s leadership, the company continued to grow and diversify. From 2010, it expanded into international shipping, transporting wine and other products around the world.

In 2014, the company built a milk transfer station in Strathmerton in Northern Victoria capable of transferring 2 million litres per day. Then in 2019, Booth Transport established its Tasmanian operations focusing on dairy, wine and other food grade products.

With locations across SA, Victoria, NSW, Queensland, WA and Tasmania, Booth Transport came from humble beginnings, growing into a major national player in the transport game.

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