BTS 2023

SCTR enters truck leasing market

Southern Cross Truck Rentals (SCTR) was founded in Camden on Sydney’s outskirts in 2004. The business started with a single truck, a van and a couple of utes.

Within a short space of time the business grew from a fleet of four, to a fleet of 10, then 20, and soon had over 50 trucks and commercial vehicles. The business acquired Sydney based SemiTrailer Rentals to add 40 semi trailers to its fleet.   

“I started this business to help transport businesses in the south-west of Sydney. There really was little on offer in 2004,” said company owner Steve Blackmore. “The business grew faster than I imagined it would, but I had great support from Fuso Trucks and local truck dealers Sydney Truck and Machinery.” 

Today the fleet has over 170 trucks and trailers and is no longer just servicing the outskirts of Sydney. “Our vehicles are travelling the whole east coast of Australia these days,” said Blackmore. “We buy our assets new and utilise the incredible manufacturer service support offerings, including five-year warranty on most of our rigid and prime mover fleet. This level of manufacturer support ensures our customers are looked after in the event of an incident, anywhere they may be, up and down the whole east coast.” 

SCTR is continuing to grow – it’s done so by expanding the fleet offering, which now has vans, refrigerated trucks, buses, crane trucks, civil spec vehicles, and an increasing range of semi-trailers to go with their large fleet of rigids and prime movers.  

The Freighter drop-deck tautliner is also available for leasing.

Business environment 

From 2021 through to 2023, SCTR faced the same challenges as most other operators within the transport sector, new equipment was plagued by shortages of trucks and delays in production and shipping. Whilst this helped keep utilisation at an all-time high, it also meant SCTR struggled to keep up with customer demand. 

“For the first time in the history of our business we were turning customer’s away, we just couldn’t help them,” Blackmore explained. “It was so frustrating for everyone.”

Obviously 2022/23 has also seen rapid rises in interest rates, putting lots of pressure on borrowing costs. Add to this the significant increases in the price of new equipment and now the end of instant asset write-off, the industry has been going through some challenging times. 

SCTR has been engaging with the industry to consider the needs of customers, and where the business could help. They were not surprised that at this part of the cycle, long-term rental or maintained leases would once again be in high demand. 

SCTR has worked closely with manufacturers and now has a pipeline of vehicles arriving each month that we will be available for long-term hire or lease. “Ordering on demand is no longer a thing,” said Blackmore. “You order something today, you might be waiting over 12 months to get it. 

“First there are manufacturing delays, then shipping delays, and now body builders are months and months behind. 

“We have done a significant amount of research and started ordering the most popular vehicles some six months ago and these are now starting to arrive in the country. We prebooked slots with body builders and although we are still dealing with delays, we are in a much better position than many of our competitors.”  

SCTR has vehicles for long term hire or lease available immediately.

Fleet management 

As part of a broader restructure to position ourselves for future growth we have launched SCFM, otherwise known as Southern Cross Fleet Management. 

  This division of the business has been specifically set up to manage term rental and lease vehicles, as well as the growing fleet of SCTR. 

  In its first two months it added seven fully maintained leases. 

  Introducing leasing as a product is pivotal to the business and its success. 

  Today, leasing is fast becoming one of the top performing products for Southern Cross Truck Rentals. 

  We have done extremely well with predominantly casual rental for so long, but we needed to meet the customer’s needs and that meant changing our business and building capability to meet those demands and stay relevant in the market. 

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