James has youth and experience

By: Tamara Whitsed, Photography by: Tamara Whitsed

James Ryan was still on P plates when he started driving B-doubles on the Hume.

James has youth and experience
23-year-old James Ryan behind the wheel of a B-double Argosy.


He is only 23 but already James Ryan has driven vans, rigids, semis and B-doubles.

A full-time line-haul driver, James pulls B-double refrigerated trailers between Melbourne and Sydney for Ryans Refrigerated Transport. The company is based in Wangaratta, Victoria, and is owned by his father and step-mother, David and Robyn Ryan. They gave him experience as he progressed from his car licence to medium rigid, heavy combination and multi combination.

"Just after my 21st birthday I got a B-double licence and I was still on my P plates so, funnily enough, I still had to display them." James recalls the puzzled looks he received from people who noticed the P plates on the 2009 Freightliner Argosy.

When he turned 22 last year, James no longer had to display P plates. Now he blends in with all the other B-doubles on the Hume.

James admits he probably wouldn’t be driving a B-double at his age if his father didn’t own a truck company. "You hear so many young blokes who just can’t get started because [employers] want experience. How do you get experience without getting a job?"

He is amazed there are so many employers who can’t find drivers; and so many drivers who can’t find work. "You’ve got to find each other somehow."

His advice to aspiring young drivers is to embrace every opportunity and be patient. "You just can’t turn down any opportunity for experience because if you want to make yourself more employable, the more experience you’ve got the better."

James usually spends five nights a week in the Argosy, and says his early 20s is an ideal time to live on the road.

"I can’t see myself getting out of it in the near future because the money’s good. The work’s good. So I’ll just keep doing it. I’m enjoying it, so why not?"

Read more about James in the August issue of Owner//Driver Magazine.

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