One of Australia’s leading independent express freight firms, Hillman’s Transport in Toowoomba, has switched from using a disparate range of American, European and Japanese trucks to a fleet of predominantly DAFs and Kenworths in just two years.
Managing Director Lloyd Hillman founded the family-owned business more than 26 years ago. Today, he is joined by his two sons – Chris and Steven – who handle the day-to-day management of 80 staff and a stable of 35 trucks.
The company has grown into a major linehaul operator for Queensland’s burgeoning coal seam gas industry. It is a supplier to DHL Projects and Savanna Energy, which are contracted to Origin Energy. It also provides logistics support to Toll Energy and QGC (previously Queensland Gas Company), one of Australia’s largest coalbed methane companies. In addition, it subcontracts to leading freight distribution companies, Toll NQX, Toll Intermodal and Toll Express.
The latest addition to the company’s stable is DAF’s flagship model, the XF105. Three have been put into service over the past eight months, replacing other European brands.
The DAFs make daily express runs (six days a week) from Toowoomba to Brisbane, then west to various gas fields throughout the Surat Basin, clocking up 2,500 km a week. The trucks can be configured as a single trailer, 26-metre B double or fitted with extendable trailers. They carry an assortment of general freight, fuel, refrigerated goods and a range of mining supplies and equipment, everything from 20-metre Poly Pipes to eight-tonne cable reels.
Lloyd Hillman says the DAFs have already proved to be high-performance workhorses, dealing with heavy metropolitan traffic as easily as hot, dusty intrastate runs.
“The XF105 is an all-round performer,” Lloyd said. “It doesn’t matter what loads our DAFs are carrying or what conditions they’re facing, they operate perfectly – on time, every time.
“Having dependable trucks is important to any company, but it’s critical for time-sensitive, express freight. We cannot afford to have any truck break down or be off the road for any period of time. Our DAFs, like our Kenworths, are premium vehicles. They are engineered to the highest standards, ensuring they are durable, reliable and cost effective to operate. The XF105 also has excellent fuel economy and low maintenance costs. It’s as good or better than all the brands we’ve used over the years,” he said.
The multi award-winning XF105 has the power and reliability to handle a variety of long-haul, heavy-duty applications, from tanker operations to interstate distribution, and it has the maneuverability to negotiate urban environments with ease.
All of Hillman’s XF105s have the same specifications and equipment. Rated to a GCM of 68,000 kg, Hillman’s 6×4 cab-over is powered by a PACCAR MX, 12.9-litre engine with SCR technology, producing 510 hp (375 kW) at 1500 – 1900 rpm and 1845 lb/ft (2500 Nm) of torque at 1000 – 1410 rpm. The truck features a ZF AS-Tronic 16-speed overdriven automated transmission, DAF 152N front axle (rated to 7500 kg) and Meritor MT23-160 rear axles (20,900 kg), PACCAR Airglide 400 eight-bag rear suspension as well as DAF’s roomy Space Cab. The model includes as standard ABS and ASR, and is also fitted with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and side view camera systems.
Hillman’s Transport chose the XF105 not only for its performance and economy but also for its high degrees of comfort and safety.
“Driver safety and comfort are as important to us as truck performance and productivity. We go to great lengths to ensure the safety of our drivers and other road users. Our drivers are, after all, the backbone of our business. We want to provide them with a safe working environment, and we want to provide our customers with professional and efficient service. That’s yet another reason why we buy DAF. Their trucks incorporate a range of advanced safety systems and features, including an ergonomically-designed Space Cab. The fully-appointed sleeper makes it more convenient for drivers to take a break during a shift,” he said.
In addition to safety features, Lloyd says the XF105 is among the most luxurious trucks on the road.
“The XF105 is an absolute pleasure to drive. It’s highly manoeuvrable, the automatic transmission makes it effortless to operate, and it’s extremely quiet. In fact it’s as comfortable to drive as a luxury car,” Lloyd observed.
“We don’t have any issues with driver fatigue. Our drivers tell us that, even after a long day behind the wheel, they feel as refreshed as when they started their shift. That says a lot about DAF’s high degree of comfort. It’s no wonder our drivers love them,” he said.
Lloyd says Hillman’s recent switch to DAFs and Kenworths has given the company a competitive advantage in business.
“Kenworth and DAF’s reliability and driver acceptance, plus the support from our PACCAR dealer, enables us to offer a highly professional and competitive service to our customers. It also ensures our business operates in the most efficient, industrycompliant and safe manner possible,” Lloyd said.
Hillman’s dealer is Brown and Hurley Toowoomba which is part of PACCAR’s longest-serving, award-winning dealer group.
“We see Brown and Hurley as an extension of our business. They give us excellent advice on all our transport needs, and they provide full maintenance contracts which keep our rigs in perfect condition. It’s a partnership that works very well.”
Hillman’s Transport plans to purchase more DAFs and Kenworths throughout the year as it expands its fleet to meet growing customer demand.
“There’s a lot to love about our DAFs and Kenworths. They have improved our driver safety and comfort, enhanced our operations and, ultimately, that’s benefitted our bottom line. Put simply, they make good business sense, and that’s why we are committed to expanding our stable of PACCAR trucks,” Lloyd added.
DAF Trucks Australia, a division of PACCAR Australia, distributes a complete range of medium and heavy-duty trucks throughout Australia. PACCAR Inc, a Six Sigma company, is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks under the DAF, Kenworth and Peterbilt nameplates. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.