One Sharp Operator
Blake took over the Warkworth-based container and general freight business two years ago from founder Ian Ward, after spending 16 years working for his family’s business Allied Medical.
While not the typical background of a transport operator, Blake says he has always wanted to be involved in the trucking industry.
“I’ve always loved trucks and, after spending so much time working in my family’s business, I decided to do my own thing,” he says.
With his new business, Blake inherited a fleet of 16 trucks – 13 of them FUSO. In the process of an upgrade, he recently added a brand new FUSO 6x2 Fighter FU2328 and two new 6x4 HD FV2447 Hi Top tractors.
He says the reason he decided to stick with Fuso was a combination of service and reliability.
“As someone new to the industry, I found [Keith Andrews salesman] James Hudson-Owen and [owner] Keith Andrews were both really helpful and really went the extra mile.
“Many of our drivers aren’t ‘truck people’ as such, they just enjoy having the opportunity to work locally, so they really appreciate that the trucks start in the morning and give them no trouble throughout the day. In terms of bang for buck, I don’t think you can do any better.”
The two new HD units are stickered at 44T – one joining the existing swing lift fleet and the other dedicated to pulling a semi-trailer loaded with locally grown capsicums.
“A typical day for one of our HD drivers could see them heading from the yard at Warkworth at 4am to load or unload a container in Auckland. Then they’ll spend the rest of the day shuttling between the depot, Auckland’s northern suburbs and the city’s two main ports on the waterfront and at Onehunga,” says Blake.
“Typically they’re hauling 24-tonne loads and the feedback I get from the drivers is that the 346kW engine handles it with ease.”
Air suspension and a non–synchromesh 12-speed automated manual transmission ensure a smooth ride and add to the truck’s overall comfort, which, combined with the Isringhausen seat, helps prevent driver fatigue.
The Fighters cart general freight across the upper North Island, including anything from beer and wine to machinery, timber, stock feed and steel.
The latest FU2328 unit is a long-wheelbase (6,530mm) model with a 6.5T front axle. Fitted with a curtianside body with full mezzanine floor, it has the capacity to carry 16 full-sized pallets on its deck, while other goods – such as carpet or timber – can be stacked on top.
Blake says the hardworking Fighter, which features a 207kW 6M60-9AT2 engine paired to a nine-speed manual Eaton transmission, often spends as much time off the road as on it – but that isn’t to say it’s not working!
“Our Fighters run up and down farm races, across horticultural blocks, through vineyards and around subdivisions. Generally, they’ll be carting 8-10 tonne loads and they don’t give us any trouble,” he says.
“One aspect that has really impressed me is the fuel efficiency of the new Fighters, which combined with the long service intervals Fuso NZ offers, helps keep running and maintenance costs low.”
With a reliable fleet of hard-working, low-maintenance trucks at his disposal, Blake’s transition into the transport industry has been as smooth as the transmission in his new Fusos and, together – they’re going places!
- Tare weight (cab and chassis) – 6.3T
- Power / Torque – 207kW / 802Nm
- Transmission – 9 speed manual
- Service intervals – 30,000km
- Tare weight (cab and chassis) – 7.5T tare weight
- Power / Torque – 346kW / 2,227Nm
- Transmission – 12 speed AMT
- Service intervals – 30,000km