TARGET TRANSPORT SERVICES: KEEPING THE ROADS MOVING
Asphalt is the name of the game, and David Mills of Target Transport Services moves this in-demand material to building projects situated anywhere between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. Essential work like this doesn’t stop, even with the COVID-19 crisis ongoing… simply because infrastructure building and maintenance cannot stop, if Australia is to keep moving.
Since starting the business in 2016, David has built a solid base of clients, who now include a string of high-profile infrastructure construction companies, including Fulton Hogan, Downer EDI and Boral Australia.
Alongside David’s own well-earned reputation and contacts within the road building industry, Target Transport’s accomplishments can be pinned to David’s innovative approach in building a truck fleet able to deliver asphalt where most other trucks in this industry just can’t go—under power lines, bridges and areas with challenging height restrictions.
David said, “We do a lot of work on motorways, such as road resurfacing, repair work… lots of contract council work for state and federal governments.
“One of our big jobs at the moment is resurfacing the Gateway Motorway near Brisbane Airport.
“With the environments we work in, there are a lot of issues with overhead cables and power lines, as most of the trucks in the asphalt business are tippers.
“For the work we do at Target Transport, we don’t use tippers and the benefit is that we can go under bridges and into carparks, park under cables… and we don’t have to worry about having to tip while on uneven ground.”
In place of the regular tipper, four of the trucks in David’s fleet sport a modified tray with a walking floor, which moves material from the front of the truck to the back using a conveyor belt.
His newest acquisition, an Isuzu FYX 350-350 with six-speed Allison automatic transmission, features a specialised push floor with a large ram blade to press the load of asphalt out the back, which David says makes delivering the asphalt a lot safer. And with the FYX’s long wheelbase, the truck perfectly accommodated the length of the push floor.
David noted, “I also get better rates for my trucks because they cost more to build… and they can do things that typical tippers can’t.”
Adding the FYX 350-350 to Target Transport’s growing fit-for-purpose fleet was an easy decision and an easy process, according to David. Brisbane Isuzu in Eagle Farm had the right FYX model on hand when he needed it, cutting out the usual months’ long waiting process for building it.
And topping it off, David found the price and fit-out of the FYX competitive compared to his past purchases.
“The Isuzu was definitely decent value… Buying another would have outweighed the Isuzu by $30,000–$40,000.
“The Isuzus also all come with a modern built-in system like a car—with my American trucks you have to go out and buy every single thing to put in the cab.”
With the FYX 350-350 encompassing application-relevant features such as a load-sharing front suspension equaliser with shock absorber, the truck model is a popular choice for heavy-duty applications like the work Target Transport Services sees, which often operate on a pay-by-tonnage basis.
“The truck’s Hendrickson HAS461 airbag suspension in the rear is also an absolute necessity,” added David.
“Half my work is on tonnage so the less weight on the truck, the more money I make.
“Another reason why I wanted the Isuzu truck, which has a cab-over design, is that it’s better at spreading the load over the front axles for weight.
“And for me, the cab-over is also more maneuverable than the trucks with a bonnet out front.”
But there are other aspects that drew David to the Isuzu.
“Aesthetically the look of the Isuzu is better than other trucks… I like the interior, the dash, it’s more comfortable to drive.
“The 350-horsepower engine means it’s more economical fuel-wise as well.”
The truck fleet at Target Transport Services works day in, day out, driven by 10 experienced staff and a full-time operations manager. The only downtime the company earns is four weeks over Christmas and when the rain hits.
“Our trucks work 24/7,” David said.
“And my trucks get serviced every six weeks, they’re doing so many hours.”
With a fleet running day and night, unplanned downtime is a cost David, like all savvy business owners, is keen to avoid. The ability of the FYX to power through the punishing daily grind and stay reliable in performance was an important factor in purchasing the truck.
David explained, “You don’t want to be off the road, because it’ll cost you money… the only time you want to be working on your truck is when it’s raining.
“And it’s great that my Isuzu has been fine so far.”
It’s no surprise that David finds the factory-backed warranty and aftersales support from Isuzu reassuring, especially when his FYX has recently passed the 3,000-hour mark—all within 13 months of first hitting the road.
“Everything on the truck is covered by warranty with Isuzu… if something goes wrong you can take it back to them and they’ll sort it all out for you,” David said.
With a whopping $23 billion investment in roads and transport infrastructure planned for Queensland over the next four years, Target Transport Services can look forward to a busy period ahead.
How does David feel about that?
“Any time you get on the road, you get caught up in roadworks… Anywhere I’m going I think ‘Lord, more roadworks’.
“But then if there weren’t any roadworks, I wouldn’t be making any money!”