Features, Transport company, Victoria

Victorian transport operator celebrates 50 years

Started in 1974,  Josie’s Transport Group has been linking Melbourne and Geelong for the past 50 years, with a fast-growing fleet of over 100 vehicles.

If you travel the M1 Princes Highway between Geelong and Melbourne, chances are you’ve probably seen their trucks out on the road.

Transport manager Rhys Rutland, 27, started as a casual driver at Josie’s five years ago and has made a gradual move from being behind the wheel to his current management role.

Rutland says that Josie’s Transport had experienced considerable change in recent years with new owners acquiring the business from the founders in 2018 and subsequently investing further in the operation including in a newly opened cross docking facility in Lara on the outskirts of Geelong, to better handle increases in freight volume.

“We’ve been on a steady grown path over the last three or four years while still holding true to the core values of the original owners, which made Josie’s an institution in the region,” Rutland said.

“It’s about continuing to provide our partners with a safe, efficient and cost friendly transport solution, but now the scope of coverage is broader. We’re still heavily servicing the Geelong to Melbourne route with up to 20 vehicles per day, but now you can use Josie’s more broadly across the western districts, central and north central areas of Victoria.”

Among the most recent additions to the Josie’s fleet are two IVECO S-Way prime movers – a 550 AT and 530 AT. These are the company’s first IVECOs, both purchased to replace a pair of older trucks.

The new S-Ways are the first IVECO models that Josie’s Transport Group has operated in its fleet. Image: IVECO

Rutland’ experience as a HC driver, who also holds his DG ticket, has helped in his position, assisting to guide new fleet purchases.

“After researching available models, we were impressed with the specification of the S-Ways and the flexibility they could provide our operation,” Rutland said.

“Having spoken with IVECO dealership Adtrans, we were convinced that the S-Way was a sound choice, not only from a product perspective, but in the support the dealer and brand could offer us.

“We purchased the S-Way 550 AT early last year to use for single trailer line-haul work, but being B-double rated, we thought it would also be a great match for future two trailer work as it arises.”

For the last 12 or so months, the 550 AT has been travelling daily from Geelong to Dandenong in Melbourne, configured as a single trailer tautliner. It’s equipped with IVECO’s 12.9 litre Euro6 (Step E) engines that produce 550hp and 2500Nm of torque from a low 1000 to 1600rpm.

The engine is matched to the Hi-Tronix 16-speed automated manual transmission.

Based on the performance of that truck, Josie’s invested in the 530 AT prime move late last year; it’s a very similar specification but with a lower output engine at 530hp and 2400Nm of torque at a low 950rpm.

“Feedback from the drivers has been really good, they comment about the amount of power the trucks have and how easy, quiet and comfortable they are to drive,” added Rutland.

“Both the drivers have been in the industry for a long time and have driven everything from North America to other European brands and they reckon the S-Ways are fantastic.”

Aside from being fitted with aero kits and adjustable turntables which allow trucks to couple to a wider range of trailing stock, the trucks are standard.

Along with engaging in general freight work, as part of ongoing contracts the 530 AT is currently operating in regional Victoria with the Red Cross where the truck regularly hauls one of the organisation’s mobile blood donation trailers.

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