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HTS Logistics celebrates century of trucks, logs and rock and roll

From hauling logs out of the Blue Mountains with a horse and dray more than 100 years ago to carting sound and stage equipment for Metallica and Beyonce, the HTS Logistics story is something special.

In the beginning, Harry Hall started it all working hard and hauling timber with the original kind of horsepower.

Passing the reins over to Charlie, his son who came out of the navy following World War II, bought a DeSoto truck and started carting cement from Maldon to Sydney’s south. He also ran down to Melbourne and carted fresh produce back to Sydney with his brother.

In among all of that, Charlie and his wife, Hillary, welcomed Alan into the world.

Charlie knew too well that trucking was a tough gig and insisted that Alan get a trade qualification instead. Alan did as he was told and got his panel-beating ticket, working in Australia and across the ditch in New Zealand.

But fate drew Alan back to Australia when Charlie decided his son could actually do alright as a truckie and asked him to come and join him in 1970. Alan started work carrying roofing materials down to Melbourne and returning with a full load of Tom Piper food products.

Working alongside his father, in a trusty Mercedes-Benz 1418, Alan hauled paper up and down the east coast and delivered many of the materials used for Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower from Melbourne.

He also carried a lot of material that built modern Canberra, including buildings at the Royal Military College at Duntroon and Parliament House.

In 1982, Alan’s trucking journey took a very different path as HTS Logistics started hauling for Australia’s largest music promoter.

The now 72-year-old reels off the names of some of the artists he hauled concert gear for and it reads like a music hall of fame list including Elton John, Billy Joel, Metallica, Paul McCartney, Keith Urban, Kylie Minogue, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce.

As you can imagine, some of these shows were huge, Alan recalls.

“There were 30-odd trucks and trailers for Elton John carrying rigging, lights, speakers and instruments,” he says. “One truck was just for clothes.”

It wasn’t the biggest concert though, that was Paul McCartney, whose convoy was made up of 50 trucks.

There was a lot of hard work that went into carting for the concerts as they moved around Australia, but Alan explains that one of the big upsides was being able to take in the shows.

So, who was Alan’s favourite artist?

“I’ve been to so many that it’s hard to pick the best one,” Alan says thoughtfully.

He says that he really enjoyed Kelly Clarkson and Metallica, before adding:  “I really enjoyed Billy Joel, I never missed any of his shows. He was just brilliant and he was such an easy bloke to talk to.”

It was the start of an incredible part of Alan’s career that continued all the way through until Covid-19 devastated the entertainment industry in early 2020.

“I was working on the Queen concert in February last year, and all of a sudden, they said: “That’s it.”

The HTS fleet of 10 trucks didn’t sit still and has been hauling up and down the coast of Australia more than ever before.

From paving blocks that now lay the pathway of George Street in Sydney, to air conditioning equipment and pipes, they’ve done it all.  In 2020, Alan’s son Raymond even donated his time and filled a HTS truck and trailer to cart water and food to the drought-stricken town of Bellata in North Central, NSW.

It makes sense that the four-generation transport company celebrate its momentous anniversary with a very special truck, a striking Freightliner Argosy dressed up to the nines.

century

The big American was one of the final Argosy to roll off the production line in North Carolina after Freightliner finally decided to draw the curtain on the solid and spacious cab-over.

Alan wanted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of HTS Logistics by adding a special truck to its fleet. He decided to hand this responsibility over to Raymond, who is carrying on the Hall tradition behind the wheel of a truck.

Raymond also manages the truck and trailer maintenance, having gained a qualification as a diesel mechanic.

Raymond explains that he decided to give the Argosy, sourced through Daimler Trucks Huntingwood, a bit more of something special because of the century milestone.

“I really wanted to make it stand out,” he explains. “I didn’t go nuts, but went further than normal.”

The treatment includes unique paint, minimal scrolls, stainless steel visor, tank skirts, blacked-out intake pipe, wrapped bumper, custom lighting and more before adding a fridge and TV on the inside.

“My driver absolutely loves it,” he says, which comes as no surprise.

As for the next chapter at HTS, Alan plans to hand over the reins of the business to Raymond in another couple of years.

Raymond’s son Joseph is a massive trucking fan and already tags along in the cab every trip he can. The eight-year-old, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the HTS trucks, wants to drive one when he grows up, continuing the Hall trucking tradition.

“He just loves it,” explains Raymond.

HTS Logistics is the ultimate family trucking operation with Alan’s wife Pauline, son Raymond and daughters Melissa and Belinda working together to ensure the operation runs like clockwork.

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