Char-Lee Haulage: A family unit
After more than two decades as a driver in interstate line haul, it was Kerry Wilkins’ son that nudged him into creating his own business, Char-Lee Haulage. today, family is the core of the Queensland-based company.
It’s been 10 years since Char-Lee Haulage (CLH) took its first steps to becoming the well-respected multi-vehicle operation it is today. Built on Kerry Wilkins’ experience gained during his many years behind the wheel, it is now widely considered a prime example of a future-oriented Australian family business.
“Family is at the core of everything we do,” says Kerry, who is well aware that fellow family businesses often forget that it’s the actual family aspect that makes them unique. “All the males in the family were or still are truck drivers, including my father Victor, my brother, as well as many cousins and uncles. It’s a real point of difference.”
Kerry is convinced that this unique family history is the reason why CLH has become a success in Queensland transport and logistics market. In fact, he says he was “predestined” to be a truckie as even to his Christening, he was driven in a truck.
Growing up in the country surrounded by a family of truck drivers, Kerry admits that he started driving in the paddocks as soon as his feet could reach the pedals. From there, it was a simple matter of getting his licence at 17 and starting his career. But after 23 years of interstate work, Kerry eventually started considering creating his own business in the early 2000s.
“It got to the stage where I thought I should be making myself money instead of doing the hard yards and making someone else rich,” he explains. Yet the decision to make the leap to owning his own company didn’t come until after his son Jamie finished school and started putting more pressure on Kerry. With Jamie ready to follow in his father’s footsteps, Kerry says the family finally put its collective dream into motion and started Char-Lee Haulage.
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