For close to 50 years, Kununurra based JSW Holdings has been tackling the challenging landscape in this beautiful and remote part of the world.
Owner operator Peter Woodhead has continued the business his father started in 1975. Originally centred around the manufacture of bricks, JSW expanded the scope of their products and services over the years, with concrete, plant hire, civil contracts and aggregate supply forming the main part of their business offering today.
For three decades, UD Trucks have been a mainstay of the fleet, with the first UD-branded truck purchased by the business still in its possession.
“We’ve got a UD CW 40 out the back. It’s a 1983 model and it’s the first UD we bought,” said Woodhead.
“It was purchased as a six-wheel tipper. The customer decided they wanted to go to ‘semi’, so it was converted to a prime mover and towed a bogie tipper around for probably five years of its life and then as things got bigger, we converted it back to a tipper.”
JSW currently has five UD Trucks in the fleet but over the course of their business has purchased 10 UD trucks in total.
When recalling the UD Trucks that JSW has owned over the years, Woodhead reminisced on the early days, all the way back to the mid-70s where it all began.
“It was my old man on his own and once myself and my brother left high school, we joined the business and basically built it up from there. From a couple of trucks and a loader to a fairly substantial fleet that is now,” he said.
During the UD Trucks Lap of the Map travels through Kununurra, Woodhead explained just how desolate and challenging the conditions have been over the years and how critical UD’s reliable and robust vehicles have been to the JSW operation.
“Probably the biggest pressure is our isolation with part supply and getting and keeping things running. Obviously needing to have a backup of parts. People are also a big shortage, I know we’re not alone with that but it’s pretty hard to entice people to come up and live in extreme conditions at the moment,” he said.
“During winter it’s beautiful up here, with nice 25–30-degree days. But from November until April it’s 40 degrees, wet and an afternoon shower can see 25-50ml of rainfall. Roads become impassable, so we’ve got to be careful where we go and don’t go depending on the time of year.
“The distance we travel annually varies due to the kind of work that we do, but it can range from 100,000km to 250,000km. Engine hours are probably more. It’s a lot of work off road on dirt roads so we generally reach speeds of 40-50km per hour.”
But despite the locational challenges, Woodhead has said that his UD Trucks have provided a solid and reliable platform to keep JSW running and with minimum downtime.
“Our business was built on them,” explained Woodhead.
“What I like about UD Trucks is that they’re built solid, reliable, low maintenance, easy to drive and are comfortable. Our guys love driving the UD Trucks and out of all the vehicles in our fleet, they probably spend the least amount of time in the workshop.”
Speaking of the UD Trucks Lap of the Map, Woodhead said, “I think the UD Trucks Lap of the Map is an awesome incentive. We get to have a look at these trucks in person. We’re fairly remote so we don’t get to go down to the dealer often and see what’s new and what’s out there so it’s really good for companies like ours.”