Five years ago, Matt Logan decided to take a leap of faith and go out on his own. Between juggling a growing container transport business and raising seven kids, things can get quite hectic – but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
As the son of a truck driver, Matt Logan has wanted to work with trucks for as long as he can remember – and he followed his father’s advice to a tee. “Dad had trucks when I was growing up. He had his own refrigerated transport business, so I wanted to be a truck driver from the moment I could walk. Dad’s rule was: Before you drive them, you have to know how to fix them, so I became a diesel mechanic,” Logan recalled.
From diesel mechanic, to truck driver, to forklift operator, to forklift mechanic, to becoming the general manager of a container business and learning the industry’s ropes; Logan’s career in transport has been wide and diverse.
“After 10 years in the container business, I decided it was time to try and make a life out of it and took a big step into buying a few trucks and starting my own business,” said Logan, adding that he was chuffed at the opportunity to get his name into Big Rigs, which he has been reading since he was apprentice.
With the help of a couple of mates who invested in his dream so it could become a reality, MGB Container Solutions was born. The ‘MGB’ stands for Matt, Glenn Thornton and Brendan Smythe. “Glenn is a long-time friend. He was actually my horse trainer, so he invested some money to help me get started and we ended up paying it all back. Brendan also invested in the beginning and looks after accounts and finances,” Logan said.
MGB transports containers in and around Melbourne. Around 80% of the business is centred around transporting containers for export – primarily scrap metal, scrap paper, skins and hides – while the remaining 20% of the business is imports.
“We’ve managed to pick up a few big clients in those industries, all through word of mouth. Often people will throw you a bone and give you the worst jobs first and if you get through those and don’t complain, they give you the ‘cream’ jobs.”
Logan started out with second-hand trucks, all Freightliner Argosys. “I bought them through Adtrans, they were all one owner and in really good condition, but obviously everything ages.
“Four years into the business, they were just presenting with problems as they aged. It got to a point where I was managing my business during the week, then spending the whole weekend being a mechanic.”
That wasn’t ideal, as it was eating into time with his family. “I have seven kids and a wife. Tania and I got together four years ago and married last year. I had three kids, she had three kids and then we had a son together, Ace who is two-and-a-half. We’re pretty flat out here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Logan.
He considered sub-contracting, but then found that the best solution was to replace the older trucks with brand new ones. “Jarrod Bennetts from Westar Tuck Centre basically turned up on the doorstep and suggested I take a look at the MAN TGX – he said that these models were built for container work,” added Logan.
So it was time to switch the old for the new. These came in the form of two MAN TGX 26.540 B-doubles, as well as a compact MAN TGS 26.440 that’s used with a side loader.
“I’ve never been a brand person, even with cars and so on, but the MANs are so well‐suited to what we’re doing, I honestly couldn’t be happier,” Logan added.
The first of these were delivered in March – around the same time that COVID hit. “Then I decided to buy the second one shortly after, in the middle of a pandemic. I found myself sending a lot of emails to introduce myself and doing a lot of cold calling. Through that we found a few new clients, which picked up the slack for the drop in some of the clients I previously had. Now that we’re at the tail end of the pandemic, we’re starting to see our original clients getting back up to their original numbers – so we’re getting pretty busy, easily more busy than we were before the pandemic hit.”
The two TGX B-doubles focus on export work, predominantly running the wharf, picking up empty shipping containers and taking them to clients in the Melbourne area, who load them up with export product.
As the demand for sideloader work was growing, there was also the need for a lightweight truck that could get in and out of tight spaces, and that’s where the smaller TGS comes in.
“When COVID came in, I threw out a few lines and picked up some clients for sideloader work. Jarrod essentially recommended the ‘baby model’ of the TGX – the TGS – and it’s just worked a treat. The fuel economy is great, and the price really sold me, especially as it includes the four year bumper-to-bumper warranty and five years of servicing.”
The new trucks have served to help market MGB Container Solutions too. “The old trucks didn’t have our logo and details like the new ones do. Now we’ve managed to pick up a few different clients just from having the new trucks floating around, so we’re getting phone calls from people who have passed them on the freeway.”
Along with the three new MANs, the business still has three older trucks in its fleet, though this looks sure to change in the very near future. “We sold three of the old trucks early this year and replaced them with the MANs. These have worked so well and really have changed the business in terms of effectiveness and less time spent on repairs and maintenance, so it’s a no brainer to replace the rest of them with new trucks too. In another month or so, we’re looking to purchase another of the smaller MAN TGS models for loading and exports.”
Logan added that the new trucks have also helped him to attract some great drivers. “It’s amazing the type of driver you attract with a brand new truck. For the drivers, it’s their own office, so having the MAN TGX B-doubles has helped attract high quality drivers. From a safety point of view, they’re so well designed, with steps inside the door to the cabin, grab rails, and the wing at the back swings around so the driver can climb up on the platform easily to change the hoses. When Penske told me they were built for container work, I thought yeah, yeah – but they really are. They’re a great looking truck that’s easy to drive and really comfortable. And our drivers love them.”
The new trucks were definitely a big investment, especially for a business that’s only five years old, but in the short time since they joined the fleet, they seem to be having a huge impact. “They are definitely good for attracting customers – they not only do the job well, but look good doing it,” added Logan.