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27/02/2017

Feature Article

Fuso HD FV2547 - Eagle Cartage

James McConnell, owner and managing director of Celtic Transport Group, discusses why Fuso HD trucks are so popular as tipper-trailer units in his industry – with value for money and reliability being key reasons why he'll keep adding them to his fleet.

James McConnell, owner and managing director:

I’m James McConnell, I’m the owner and managing director of Celtic Transport Group. Celtic Transport Group owns Eagle Cartage.

When I left school, I went farming for a while; driving trucks, stock trucks, grain trucks and carting hay around. When I finished Uni, I was driving a truck from Queenstown to Invercargill and back every day, but then moved in to some more commercial roles – most recently in business development with Custom Fleet.

Eagle Cartage was started by Laurie Eagle in 1982, with two trucks just to provide service to the construction industry. He did a marvellous job and grew the business over those 30 years to the 17 trucks that Celtic bought in September last year.

Our core business is all dirt and stones. So, in large measure we’ll pick up spoil, clay and top soil from a construction site and take it to a tip, and then bring road metal, scoria and so on back for the construction component.

We provide a one-stop shop to those customers, so if we don’t have enough trucks we’ll find them for them tomorrow, which keeps us at the top of their phone list.

Laurie was a pretty astute guy, and what brought him, in my understanding, to Fuso was the value for money and the retained value at the end of their working life, and also, they’re comfortable and they’re reliable.   

The AMT is advantageous and, also, when you look around the industry we see that lots and lots of tipping trucks at the moment are the same Fusos that we’re driving, so there’s a message there.

Scott Olsen, transport manager:

My name’s Scott and I started in the trucking industry probably 20-odd years ago now, 25 years ago. I’ve been four years in the operations manager role with Eagle Cartage.

With the new HD Euros that have gone on the road being fully automatic, it’s a lot easier on the drivers and on the gear.

There’s a lot of points in the trucks which I’ve found, just the hill-start assist – so you can stop on a motorway, you press your brakes on and then we don’t – you just put your foot back down again and away you go. You’re not just sitting there in a gear loading the truck up or anything. 

James McConnell, owner and managing director:

We’re 44 or 45 tonne all up, truck and trailer tare in at 17T and then we’ll drop another 28T on. Our trailers are all four axle, steel-bodied tipping trailers. Most of them are springs and we’ve got one or two which are airbags.

Look, we’ve found the power and the torque in the 470s is just about right for our needs. At 45 tonne, it does pretty well at full load and it never causes any problems.

We’re up and down fairly steep hills, in and out of quarries and the guys love it.

Len Crewther, senior driver:

Gidday, I’m Len. I’ve been with Eagle Transport for about six months now. On a day-to-day basis, I like driving this vehicle. I like the visibility in it, I like the comfort in it, I particularly like the auto with the manual select and I also like this hill-start – it makes your job a lot easier.

It’s got easy access, the handles to get into the cab are in the right place. The seat is well-sprung, I have good visibility. You do a good day’s work in the truck and you get out of it at the end of the day feeling pretty good.   

Scott Olsen, transport manager:

They are a good truck for our application, and they seem to be able to take the knocks and bangs that we have off-road in quarries. They’re built, I think, a lot stronger for that type of application compared to some of the Euros we’ve run before.

James McConnell, owner and managing director:

We’ve sold a few and bought a few, the last six that we’ve all bought are Fusos and the next five that we’ve got on order are all Fusos as well, and we intend to continue doing that. 

  

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