Feature, Profiles

Rangeview growing more than plants


This plant transport business has a 25 year history but is very much moving with the times, with a sharp eye on costs and asset utilisation.

Thanks to a reliable fleet of Scania trucks, Rangeview Transport is expanding into Far North Queensland and out to Western Australia as it collects a growing number of general freight customers to ensure every trailer is fully loaded.

“We run our trucks on a schedule like an airline,” says managing director, Matt Borkowski.

“Traditionally we focussed on transporting plants, but now if we see there’s spare capacity in the trailers, we have been using online freight booking service providers to connect us with people who need general – and increasingly refrigerated – freight moved.

“Our trucks must leave on time, so it is up to us to make sure the trailers are full. One of our advantages is that all our trailers have a tail lift, and half the fleet are rigids which can pull pig trailers. This gives us a lot of loading and unloading flexibility.

“When the trucks arrive at our capital city depots, they can drop the pig and then continue to a customer’s premises, even if it is a built-up area,” Matt says.

“The pig trailers are pulled by 8x4s which ensures better weight distribution and also traction, useful for traversing gullies at customer premises.

“Essentially we can deliver anywhere, and that is appealing to our general freight customers, a side of the business that is growing nicely.

“Lately we have been achieving around 90 per cent capacity on the trailers, and we are more and more efficient which makes our operation more profitable, gaining greater utilisation from our assets.

Last week we had 110 per cent of capacity booked on the run to Newcastle, so I had to call one of our customers and ask if we could send their load the following day,” Matt says.

Since COVID, Rangeview has added another 10 trucks to the fleet which now stands at 27 vehicles, of which 20 are Scania, split evenly between prime movers and rigids, with seven other older, predominantly Japanese trucks. Further new Scania trucks are on order.

“We have one of almost everything in the Scania fleet,” Matt says. “We have 4×2, 6×2, 6×4 and 8×4 configurations, most of which are six cylinder-powered with a few older V8s. There’s a new R 660 V8 on order which will be hooked up to a road train combination, as well as a new 560 G rigid Super as well.

“The road-train will be working out of Brisbane heading north, and we’ll use that configuration out of Melbourne to Perth once we set up our new depot there, sending plants to WA from Victoria and bringing other plant products back east, along with general freight.”

Through Scania’s driver training, Rangeview Transport drivers are reaching high driving efficiency scores. (Image: Scania Australia/Supplied)

Matt says all the Scania trucks are on Repair and Maintenance contracts, which gives Rangeview full predictability and visibility of costs.

“I know exactly how much the fleet costs to keep on the road each month, and if there’s a breakdown, I know Scania will get the vehicle fixed promptly to avoid paying me $500 per day while they are off road.

“We had a clutch issue recently on two trucks, one in Townsville and one in Brisbane, and the Brisbane truck was repaired overnight, so there was very minimal downtime, which is a real help.

“We aim to keep our trucks for five years, and in that time the prime movers will cover more than one million kilometres, and the rigids around 600,000km. Soon we’ll be replacing our 2019 R 520 V8 8×4 rigid with a new 560 G 8×4, but at this rate we’ll probably need another one on top,” Matt says.

“Over the past three years our business has expanded quite significantly. We added a new depot in Townsville and expanded our facility in Brisbane, and we’ve started transporting refrigerated produce, for example cut flowers from Melbourne to Adelaide.

“We’re loading product in trolleys that take up less space than pallets and require less packaging, so the customer saves costs there. With demand for cooled trailers to Brisbane increasing we’re now sending refrigerated trucks to Queensland at 14-degrees. I believe we’re the only plant carrier in Australia offering refrigerated services,” he says.

Matt points to the expansion of the business, its staff headcount now numbering more than 50, including a manager in each depot. Stuart Brown, previously with Mannway and Linfox, is the new general manager for Rangeview Transport.

“Stuart is a highly experienced and knowledgeable GM who has joined us from one of the biggest fleets in the country,” Matt says.

“With the additional vehicles, the strength of the Scania product and the benefits of Scania’s excellent aftersales service, the R&M contracts really do take a weight off my mind.

“Our drivers also like the onboard Driver Support System as well as the Scania Driver Training, and they are constantly comparing their driving efficiency scores with each other. We have been proactively rewarding drivers for scoring in the 90 per cent range, which has been very well received,” he says.

Scania Australia’s new truck account manager, Mathew Staddon, says that Rangeview Transport is a real success story as a business that has been powered by Scania.

“We have been partnering with Rangeview for several years and have been pleased to see their business and their fleet expand.

“Matt Borkowski’s imaginative forward thinking and productivity focus is in line with Scania’s ethos of encouraging higher asset efficiency. Not only does it bring new business to Rangeview, but it helps reduce overall transport movements saving resources and emissions,” Mathew says.

“As a business that has a wide range of Scania vehicles in use, Rangeview has the flexibility to deploy the right truck for the job, but also because he keeps a close eye on his operating costs, Matt knows which truck will be best suited for the job, not only in delivering for his customers, but also for his bottom line.

“Ultimately this is what is driving his business growth and profitability,” Mathew says.

“We’re really looking forward to delivering Rangeview’s new R 660 V8 shortly, which will add another dimension in terms of power, torque and fuel efficiency for really big loads across big distances which is what makes the Australian trucking landscape unique.”

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