McMillan & Sons Haulage put Lusty EMS tipper combinations to the test

Powering McMillan & Sons Haulage is a fleet of Lusty EMS tipper combinations from MaxiTRANS, which have been delivering lower tare weights and increased payloads for the business’ agricultural transport operations.

McMillan & Sons Haulage, based in South Australia, is a family-run transport company which specialises in the cartage of bulk products such as grain, fertiliser, gravel and almonds across Australia.

The business began as a joint partnership between Ian McMillan and his father, Dean, who both set out with tipper work in 2010 under a contract for Garden Grove, another family-owned and operated business in SA. This put McMillan & Sons Haulage on the right path for the years to follow.

“Dad was driving full-time and I was running the books,” Ian says. “After six months of seeing how things were going, I told Dad I was interested in coming onboard as a driver for the business as well. We continued to work together and we kept progressing from there.”

In 2016, when Ian and his father were considering doing their own direct work for grain traders, they approached Australian Grain Export. This saw McMillan & Sons Haulage begin transporting grain for the company across Australia, which Ian says turned out to be a major growth revenue for the business.

“That was one of the best business decisions we ever made,” he says. “We’ve been with them ever since. We do 90 per cent of their grain in SA as well as some internal work, and we also export for their domestic markets. It has been pretty beneficial for both of us.”

Together, Dean and Ian built McMillan & Sons Haulage from the ground up. From sharing just one truck between them both at the beginning, they expanded the fleet to accommodate a range of Lusty EMS units with the help of MaxiTRANS SA. These include two A-double sets, both made up of Lusty EMS Lead Chassis Tippers in slider configurations with Chassis Tipper B trailers and matching dollies, as well as a Lusty EMS AB-triple combination consisting of a Chassis Tipper, another dolly and a Stag B-double.

The combinations were all deployed to travel predominantly within SA through Port Lincoln, Dublin, Loxton and Pinnaroo, but they also find themselves in several other areas across Australia including Gladstone in Queensland, Hillston and Boolaroo in New South Wales, Ardross and Roseworthy in Western Australia, and Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

“A lot of mills in the domestic market rely on grain intake all year round, so that’s the main job we use the Lusty EMS trailers for,” Ian says. “There are some export jobs that come up when boats and vessels come into the ports, so the trailers go and do a fair bit of that as well.”

Having put his Lusty EMS combinations to the test all around the country in these operations, Ian has found the tippers to be very durable and well-built. At the same time, he says they have a light tare weight without sacrificing payload.

“The AB-triple setup nets about 72 tonnes and the A-doubles about 61 tonnes, so the payload increase in the last few years has been another significant change in the business,” he says.

The higher payloads, Ian says, have been seen especially with the Stag B-double.

“We think the Stags are the ideal combination for the job, because they result in pretty good payloads,” he says. “They’re very universal as well. You can do grain, fertiliser and gravel and tip off without having to unhook them.”

At the same time, Ian says the Chassis Tippers come with everything that a driver could want. Their prominent features include flip over bars, submarine doors, tailgate spreader chains, a removable chute, an air operated tailgate, a heavy-duty tailgate lock rod and fingers which prevent grain from leaking and a one-piece rear bumper which eliminates the chances of grain from catching when unloading.

“They are a well-completed, one-piece unit, and that was what stood out to me before we even had a set of them,” Ian says. “The tubs are very well-built so we can cart products without having any problems. The rear bumpers have the tidiest finish and a great system which prevents the grain from getting stuck as well. It just falls off and it means you won’t contaminate other grits with grain left behind in your guards.”

McMillan & Sons Haulage’s business with MaxiTRANS stems back several decades from a relationship Dean developed throughout several dealings for second-hand parts and other services with the local MaxiTRANS dealer in the early stages of the fleet’s operations. According to Ian, a trust for the MaxiTRANS SA team was developed which resulted in the purchases of the Lusty EMS units.

“They are honest, and that goes a long way,” he says. “We have the utmost respect for the team at MaxiTRANS SA. They will give you honest feedback if you speak to them, and if you need something done, they’re very helpful. That was what stood out for me.

“That was the main reason why we went with the two Chassis Tippers and Tri-axle Dolly on our most recent set,” he says. “We wanted to minimise our tare weight and increase our payload, so we went down and spoke to the team. We told them what we were trying to do, and they suggested them for us.”

Ian can’t speak highly enough of the Lusty EMS range. It’s one he stands by and recommends on several occasions due to its performance in his own applications. For McMillan & Sons Haulage, Ian says it’s the only way forward.

“We really love the Lusty EMS design,” he says. “When people ask me what I think of the product, I tell them we’ve had nothing but good dealings with our trailers. The drivers really like them and that’s the best feedback I can get as a business owner. Our last three sets have all been Lusty EMS builds and that’s the way we’ll stay.”

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