Youthful livestock trucking in the West
Liam Fyfe is a young third generation truckie who’s recently started in business for himself.
Who says the younger generation these days isn’t prepared to have a go?
After driving for his family's trucking company, Fyfe Transport, in rural Western Australia since the age of 19, Liam Fyfe is now striking out on his own.
Liam, 25, has recently bought a new Kenworth T659 prime mover and wants to add a set of livestock trailers as soon as possible.
He’s called his company "Fyfe Logistics", which implies bigger things down the road. For the moment though, he’s working as a tow contractor to his parents’ company, which specialises in sheep and grain.
Liam reckons he’s got it a lot better than when his parents David and Christine Fyfe started their company nearly 30 years ago at Lake Grace, 350km south east of Perth.
"Loans are easier to get and work is easier to get," Liam says of livestock cartage.
"No-one wants to do it. No one wants to do hard work."
Liam’s T659 has notched up nearly 13,000km and had its first service at CJD Bunbury.
He specified a Cummins ISX engine rated at 550hp (400kW) with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions control – ie using AdBlue. The bunk is a big 50-incher.
"It’s really good," Liam says of his new truck.
"It’s really comfortable, good to sleep in, runs nice and cool compared with the older motors."
Liam favoured the 659 over a 909 because of better vision in the city with the sloping bonnet and easier reversing and better manoeuvrability in the numerous customer tight spots thanks to the set-back front axle.
Trucks are all Liam’s known and all he’s been interested in.
"Ever since I could reach the pedals I’ve been driving, that’s just what I wanted to do," he says.
"I think I got my first truck when I was three years old, and I think my first load was a load of sand to the garden bed in the backyard. I did a few miles on my knees with that truck."
Liam’s got a competitive streak, no doubt sharpened by arguing with younger brother Nathan – the Fremantle Dockers AFL player – over whose turn it was to ride with David in the truck, and competing with Nathan on who could do things faster.
"We would see who could tarp the quickest, tie the ropes the quickest, and who could back a road train in the least amount of shots," Liam says.
"We would set challenges for each other, it was pretty fun.
"We would knock off from school and everyone else would be hanging around with mates or down at the ice cream shop or whatever, but we would be down at the yard running amok annoying drivers. We just loved it".
Needless to say Liam can do any maintenance work on trucks and trailers other than fiddling with the injectors or motor.
He anticipates that in the longer term he’ll slip into the management side of things with the family business, as David scales back.
You can read the full story on the Fyfe family’s trucking operations in the September issue of Owner//Driver.
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