NEW F SERIES HITS THE ROAD WITH PICKERINGS
From its humble beginnings transporting fruit and vegetables to local markets, 60 years ago, The Pickering Transport Group has risen to become one of Australia’s leading professional freight carriers.
Pickering Transport in Swan Hill, VIC employs over 300 staff, providing a range of road transport services for a list of local and interstate customers that includes one of Australia’s biggest supermarkets.
This year, the third generation family business secured a contract with the Coca Cola Company to service Mid-west and Southern NSW adding to their previous contract in Northern Victoria with the drinks giant.
In order to ensure they had the best possible fleet going into this new venture, Pickering’s bought 20 new Isuzu F Series trucks from Mildura Truck Centre, VIC.
The new F Series, released in February 2016 has changed the face of medium duty trucking, in terms of flexibility and emissions.
Justin Pickering, Group Sales Manager and grandson of the company’s founder, says that adding these new trucks to Pickering’s fleet – which already boasts 20 Isuzu’s in the lineup – has enabled the business to hit the ground running with their new client.
“We’re keen to grow this side of the business, so once we’d secured the new contract and renewed the old one we had to buy 20 trucks in one go, and Isuzu had everything we were looking for and the stock on hand to do it.
“We have a very good relationship with Mildura Truck Centre – they’ve given us great service since we started with them.
“We have an Isuzu dealer in every depot area that performs any maintenance, as they’re all on a fixed schedule. They’ve been very proactive, and it’s all been excellent.
“Any changes we made were mainly to the body, as the trucks themselves are great. We did add long range fuel tanks, since we service as far as Bourke and Cobar in rural NSW,” Justin said.
The trucks feature state of the art beverage bodies, segregated for pallets of cartons so drivers can easily access orders.
Justin says that, although the company looked around before deciding on the new Isuzu FVD 165-300, competitor models simply couldn’t match Isuzu’s value for money.
“There’s a selection process we stick to, and while some of the products on the market fit the bill, it came down to price, servicing and delivery times. Isuzu had the best price per unit while still giving us everything we wanted,” Justin said.
Justin’s FVDs are each fitted with an Allison six-speed automatic, making them perfect for vocational applications with high idle time or frequent stop-starting.
“The trucks manage between 40,000 and 70,000 km a year but it varies, depending on the job. It might be stop and go type work delivering product to stores, or some real tough outback jobs.
“In Bendigo for instance the work is very metro, they’re ducking and diving down alleys and under awnings.
“But a Dubbo run means driving 750 km just to deliver the product, so it’s big kilometers, across floodways and driving through rivers. The trucks handle both routes very well, I’ve been really impressed with them so far.
“They haven’t struggled – we bought the 300 horsepower units instead of 260 so we’ve definitely got enough power underfoot,” Justin said.
The FVD 165-300’s six-cylinder Isuzu 6HK1 engine boasts 221 kW of power at 2,400 rpm and torque of 981 Nm at 1,450 rpm. This means that even with a payload brimming with the world’s favorite soft drink, Justin’s drivers can tackle any road or hill with confidence.
“The guys up north have had the new Isuzu’s the longest and they’ve mentioned the comfort a number of times – they’re a lot more comfortable than the previous brand.
“These drivers are doing the longest runs and they have said it’s a great improvement on what they’re used to,” Justin said.
This comfort is provided by features like the FVD’s ADR 42 compliant sleeper with mattress, an ECE-R29 compliant cab and an Isri 6860 air suspension driver’s seat with pneumatic lumbar support.
“We’ve also found the fuel economy up there has been very good, which is obviously important to us as it means we don’t have to find fuel out there on the rural routes, so that’s a real plus,” Justin said.
A large portion of this fuel saving is down to the 6HK1 engine’s electronic control common rail injection system and new injector design, which improves combustion efficiency. For Justin, this means higher engine performance, lower emissions and lower fuel consumption.
“Safety is paramount for us. On the Bourke and Cobar runs there is big mileage and a lot of wildlife out there to dodge so all the trucks are fitted with bullbars too,” he said.
“Our drivers need to be able to access the product safely, we don’t want them climbing around too much, so we need bodies and trucks we can rely on.”
Safety is paramount to Isuzu too, and Justin’s new FVD models come with driver and passenger airbags with seatbelt pretensioner, an ECE-R29 compliant cab, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and cruise control as standard.
“We’ve got some Isuzus at our depots that are over 10 years old, so we knew we could rely on them.
“We were with a competitor previously, but we felt Isuzu were having a bit of a rebirth in our market, so we decided to give them a go and it’s gone very well.”
For further information, please contact:
Isuzu Australia Limited
Phone: 03 9644 6666
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Phone: 03 9867 5611