While to the uninitiated pine posts strapped into bundles might be thought of as being not too difficult to transport, Andrew James says a number of factors conspire to make life difficult for the transporter, including settling of the load during transit, the deteriorating condition of country roads and the fact that the strapping holding the bundles together doesn’t always hold out until the destination is reached.
Based at Benalla in North-Eastern Victoria, Jamesy’s Transport is a two-truck operation that carts pine posts and concrete feeding troughs for farmers and rural supply stores. Paul Matthei caught up with company owner Andrew who runs a tight ship, utilising the best in equipment to ensure the operation is as safe and efficient as possible.
Andrew transports the loads of pine posts either double or triple stacked on a specially designed Pumpa flat-top trailer, with the removable bolsters designed to contain the posts in the event of bundle strapping failure.
The new trailer also features pneumatic self-tensioning load binders that continually self-adjust during transit to ensure the correct strap tension is maintained as the load settles.
Andrew says the new trailer with the special load restraint features provides peace of mind during the trips which include hauling the raw posts from Mount Gambier to Benalla where they are treated before being transported to the end users including rural and farm supply stores.
“Above everything, it gives us the reassurance that while we are travelling nothing is going to move,” says Andrew. “These types of loads move all the time and the roads we travel on are getting rougher which means we need to have a system in place that ensures our loads are secure at all times. You’ve only got to hit a rough patch which makes the trailer wiggle its tail and the load will move.
“Also, the fact that we multi stack the post packs amplifies the issue because the bottom bundles settle under the weight of the top ones allowing the straps to become loose.”
Andrew goes on to relate another factor that influences the ability to keep the bundles of raw posts securely restrained during the journey from Mount Gambier to Benalla.
“The raw pine posts I haul out of Mount Gambier are worse than the treated ones because they are bound up when they are moist and then they sit at the mill for a month or so until I pick them up, by which time they’ve dried out somewhat and the binding has slackened off a bit,” says Andrew. “Then, once they’ve been treated at Benalla, it swells them back up some. The point is that you can’t rely on the binding that holds the bundles together, meaning the bolsters and straps are of paramount importance for load security.”
It’s easy to appreciate Andrew’s enthusiasm for the pneumatic self-tensioning straps on his new Pumpa trailer after he mentions that the conventional straps, due to the aforementioned vagaries of the operation, required him to stop at least every 100km for re-tensioning. The productivity saving from not having to do this is a no-brainer.
As for where he delivers the treated pine posts, Andrew says rural stores dotted throughout country Victoria and southern New South Wales take the lion’s share, along with a proportion delivered directly to end users.
“At the present time we have a lot going straight to vineyards in the Riverina region around Griffith where they use them for making grapevine trellises,” explains Andrew. “We deliver to rural stores in every town on the Murray between Benalla and Swan Hill, south to Bendigo and north through the Myrtleford region up to Albury.
“We also cover many other towns in central and northern Victoria including Euroa, Seymour, Lancefield, Mansfield, Alexandra, Yea and Coldstream.”
Having had the original flat-top trailer modified with the addition of bolsters to suit the post work, Andrew says it was a very pleasant experience engaging Pumpa to design and build the new trailer from the ground up to ideally suit the multi-purpose role.
“I approached four of the larger trailer builders before talking with Pumpa,” says Andrew. “I spoke with Jason at Pumpa who was happy to work with me and ensure the trailer was built exactly how I wanted it.”
“After comparing a few brands we found there wasn’t much difference in the purchase prices, but being based at Swan Hill, which is one of our delivery destinations, Pumpa is ideally located if anything needs attention, which means a lot to us.
“Pumpa listened to what I wanted and came up with an even better design than I had initially envisaged, with the removable and adjustable bolsters spaced at intervals along each side to suit the length of the posts we carry.
“I went to Pumpa with the ideas and they modified them into what works even better, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” he said. “They also custom-built locker boxes under the tray which conveniently hold the bolsters when we’re not carrying the posts.”