Some years back Dave Homburg owned 19 trucks, but these days the friendly owner-operator runs just one – a 2008 Western Star 4800 series 60.
The 52-year-old’s company is JMB Haulage and he is based at Tahmoor in NSW. I saw him in Townsville recently. He had brought up steel from Sydney and was waiting for news of a backload.
Homburg said he sold the rest of the trucks seven years ago and has kept the Western Star which he purchased new. “I just love the Western Star and wouldn’t part with it.”
On his travels, Homburg likes stopping at BP Grafton even though it used to be on the main highway and has been bypassed.
Homburg doesn’t use an electronic logbook and can’t see himself getting one in the near future, unless the law says he has to.
The first truck he drove was a 1988 UD Nissan known as a Jap road train and like many others, he says there is a genuine shortage of rest areas for drivers.
Of Dutch descent but born in Australia, Homburg said he got into the road transport industry through his father who was a truckie.
“My three sons have done their apprenticeships like me in the passenger seats as kids and have followed me into transport. My eldest being an owner driver and my other two being drivers,” he said.
I asked Homburg about the challenges facing drivers, especially small operators such as himself. “Every day is a challenge worrying about enough work and a decent rate. But I subbie for a Sydney bloke who is fair and looks after me,” he said.
Homburg had driven through a plague of insects on the way up to the tropics and said he would like to wash his beloved Western Star. “They were on the inland road near Emerald,” he said.