Chloe Anderson tried her hand at many different roles in trucking before finding her calling in heavy haulage – and she’s just moved her biggest load yet.
At just 24, the Gold Coast based truckie is already making a name for herself on the trucking scene.
Her willingness to learn and go-getting attitude have seen her excel behind the wheel. Though trucking wasn’t always on the cards for her.
Anderson had been travelling the music tour circuit, working as a lighting systems technician, which of course required plenty of equipment to be moved across the country. So she got her medium rigid licence to assist. “Then I just kept upgrading my licence each year for the sake of upgrading and moved out of that work and into trucking,” she said, adding that she secured her MC licence about three years ago.
“Trucking pays better and the work is more reliable than the music industry – at least I know I can count on trucking.”
From driving rigids for music tours and concerts, Anderson went on to try everything from working the grain harvest, semi water tanker work from Emerald, flat top work, moving containers out of the Port of Brisbane to driving truck and dog tippers out of Brisbane.
But after a few years spent honing her skills on the tippers, Anderson says she wanted something more and began to look for a new challenge. Her hopes were to get into line haul work or heavy haulage. “It was whichever field was going to give me a go,” she confessed. “Everyone kept knocking me back because of my age.”
That was until Anderson approached Dunstan Low Loader Haulage on the Gold Coast, which specialises in over mass and over dimensional freight. She started there in April 2023. It’s been a steep learning curve – and she’s loved every minute.
“Someone I had met knew of Dunstan’s and asked if they’d be willing to train me. They said, if I show up, they’ll teach me everything I need to know.
Anderson did just that and her boss, director of Dunstan Low Loader Haulage, Andrew Dunstan, took her under his wing and gave her shot.
“They had to jump through hoops with insurance because of my age. I told them If I could work for you, I’ll get my escort /pilot licence and learn the ropes that way, so I did that – and in the meantime the insurance got approved anyway, but with a higher excess,” Anderson explained.
That means that she can not only carry the oversize loads, but escort them as well.
“I’ve done a bit of escort work and did a few weeks working with the boss directly. Depending on the job, I would also go and escort some of the boys’ loads so I could learn on the road.
“The company has been exceptional. It’s such a good family based business, so you get treated like part of the family.
“We all get along so well. They’re more than happy to train us and help us and out.
“Coming into a smaller family company I wasn’t sure if I’d get the education and training I needed, but Andrew has absolutely excelled in teaching me everything I need to know.”
And already, her can-do attitude and dedication is being noticed. Just last year, she was awarded the inaugural Women in Trucking Australia (WiTA) 2023 Toots People’s Choice Award. The award aims to celebrate and showcase the work of Australian female heavy vehicle drivers.
More recently, as Anderson continues to further skills, she got to take on her biggest load to date, carrying a wind turbine top section from the Port of Brisbane to a wind farm in Warwick – weighing in at 80 tonne gross and measuring 55m long by 4.6m wide.
Though she’s usually in a Kenworth K104, she was behind the wheel of a Kenworth T610 for that task. Departing at midnight, she arrived at the destination by 6am.
“With that load, I had my first police escort with two pilots and a Jinka driver,” she said.
“There is talk I’ll end up in the T610 by the end of March, to predominantly do the wind farm work.
“It is a big job and there are lots of pieces going out, so I think we’ll be here for a while. We’ve been here three months already and it’ll probably be a minimum of 12 months all up. These wind turbine sections go out three nights every week.
“I’ve done the one load so far and we’re trying to line up a second time that I’ll be able to go out with one of the boys, then after that I’ll be going out on my own.”
Though a lot of her work at Dunstan’s is local, around south-east Queensland, the role has also enabled Anderson to travel a great deal too. “We go everywhere we need to. I’m about to head into Sydney to bring machinery off the port and next month will be my first trip into WA, where I’ll be dropping off machinery. I’m very much looking forward to it, it’ll be a good experience,” she said.
“When we go away it’s usually a lot of the bigger stuff whereas the local stuff can be a bit more repetitive but you still get to learn different ways of doing things. I learn a lot from doing both.”
Less than 12 months into her role as a heavy haulage driver, Anderson revealed that she’s here to stay. “It is very challenging, but I like to keep busy and on the go and we’re always doing something different, whereas when I did the tipper work, it was the same laps day in, day out. Now I’m getting to meet different people all the time and I’m doing something different all the time too.”