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The Big Haul: From The Bay To Your Plate With Isuzu

The Jenkins family first dipped their fishing lines into Victorian waters five generations ago, and now Jenkins Fisheries has become a family legacy.

As commercial fishers supplying Melbourne’s wholesale seafood markets, Jenkins Fisheries operates from Port Welshpool, near Wilsons Promontory. The Jenkins family has also opened Jenkins & Son Fresh Seafood, their own retail seafood store in Portarlington, Victoria.

Peter Jenkins and son Ben fish seven days a week to catch and sell a variety of seafood, such as snapper, salmon, crayfish, whitefish, sea bream and oysters, to name a few.

In a tough industry like fishing, hard work and dedication are always key—and freshness is what separates the Jenkins businesses from their competitors.

Once pulled from the ocean, the ice-packed seafood is loaded onto their Isuzu NNR 45-150 and driven immediately to Melbourne Seafood Centre, a wholesale seafood market.

Pictured from left to right: The Jenkins crew with their catch, transported by their trusty Isuzu NNR 45-150

So renowned is Jenkins Fisheries for their fresh produce that transport mogul Lindsay Fox has been known to occasionally fly out to Peter’s property to pick up a selection of high-end produce.

As Peter explains, a lot of fishermen will use transport companies to take their seafood to market, but when freshness equals high quality and high prices, getting your seafood to market quickly is vital.

Peter’s Isuzu NNR 45-150 stores 100 boxes of seafood—up to two tonnes of seafood. And at a wholesale price of up to $40 per kilogram for some of the produce, that’s a valuable payload. With a cargo like that, you need to be sure that the truck you’re driving is reliable and dependable.

Prior to buying his Isuzu, Peter was using an old truck that he notes was being ‘overtaken by wombats’ when driving up the mountainous terrain around Port Welshpool.

But how did Peter come to choose an Isuzu?

“I test-drove a couple of Isuzus, and I thought, ‘I have to have one of these’. Now I can’t be without it. It’s a major part of the business,” Peter explained.

“It’s never cost us a single day’s work—I’m rapt with it, it’s terrific.”

With a gross vehicle mass of 4,500 kg, power of 110kW @ 2,800 rpm and torque of 375 Nm @ 1,600–2,800 rpm, the Isuzu NNR 45-150 not only has the power to move cargo, but also possesses car-like manoeuvrability, making it easy to navigate challenging roads like city streets.

Additionally, navigating any steep or uneven climbs in the early morning hours is made safer with the inclusion of the truck’s Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Isuzu Electronic Stability Control (IESC), Anti-skid Regulator (ASR), front and rear stabiliser bars, and cornering lamps.

But besides being a mobile transport solution, Jenkins Fisheries has found another use for the NNR 45-150.

“After we bought it we put a 240 adaption on it, so we can use it as a spare cool room in summer,” said Peter.

“Any place that provides regular 240-volt power, we can just plug it in and have the cool room running if we need extra storage to keep our produce nice and cold.”

Peter and his trusty Isuzu.

And when not transporting seafood or keeping it cool, Peter’s Isuzu NNR doubles up as a comfortable sleeping cabin. Running a seven day–week operation means comfort and reliability are not negotiable.

“It could be blowing a gale, raining heavily—the business doesn’t stop. If our produce is needed somewhere, we need to get it there,” said Peter.

“And in terms of comfort, the truck is just terrific.

“The turning circle is incredible; the truck is powerful and climbs up hills with no problem, you don’t even have to think about it.”

It’s fair to say the NNR gets a thorough workout from the Jenkins family.

Peter added, “Because you can drive it on a car licence, my wife drives it sometimes. We’re never out of it. We might be driving from Melbourne to Portarlington to Port Welshpool on any day—driving it hundreds of kilometres a week.

“We’ve never had to worry about downtime, the only time it stops is for servicing!”

And with such precious, not to mention tasty, cargo on board, everyone’s happy about that.