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Prime Mover Magazine


Nolan’s Interstate Transport: Sustaining Value

Nolan’s Interstate Transport: Sustaining Value

As one of the oldest transport businesses in Australia, tradition is the true backbone of Nolan Interstate Transport. Drawing on more than a century of experience, the family company has learned how to utilise heritage as a competitive advantage in an innovation-driven environment.

Established in the early 20th century by Robert Hawck and run by the Nolan family since 1968, Nolan’s Interstate Transport is now one of the largest family-owned and operated transport businesses in Queensland – and as such, the way of doing business is somewhat different to the average transport company.

“I think loyalty is the right word to describe what Nolan’s is all about,” says General Manager, Greg Jaques. “Be it our valued clientele, staff or supplier base, we want to be a loyal associate you can rely on. From the truck brand we use to the fuel in the tank, we have formed very strong relationships in the industry over time.”

As a result, Nolan’s not only has a high reputation for quality service, it is also highly regarded by competing businesses and the community at large. Instead of focusing on maximising short-term profits, Nolan’s management does not blank out the fact that they command enormous resources that influence the world for better or worse, and that they actively shape the lives of employees, customers and partners alike. 

“Aware of that responsibility, they have made the decision long ago not to go down the corporate path,” Greg explains. “As a result, Nolan’s is still very much a family business built on solid succession planning and deeply rooted values to ensure it will stay that way.”

Current Directors Adrian and Darren – representing the third Nolan generation in the business – believe that business is an intrinsic part of society, and they acknowledge that, like family, it has been one of society’s pillars since the dawn of the industrial era. “Great companies work to make money, of course, but in their choices of how to do so, they think about building enduring institutions,” says Greg.

Given the company’s unique approach to business, it is no surprise Nolan’s has been a faithful BP client for more than a decade. “Diesel is diesel,” says Greg – revealing that choosing the right fuel supplier is not necessarily a question of bargaining for the best price. “BP simply have the most comprehensive and well developed Truckstop network, which is vitally important to us.”

According to Greg, staff health and wellbeing are just as important to the Nolan business as timely deliveries and providing a first-class customer service. “At Nolan’s Transport, we believe that a healthy worker equals a happy worker, and the conditions they encounter out in the field can directly affect that equation.
“We want our staff to be able to enjoy the downtime after a long day’s work in a safe and clean environment. BP has proved they can cater to that need instead of just providing fuel and fast food.”

According to Greg, the personal relationship BP has built with Nolan’s is the most important reason why the on-site bowser is filled with BP-made diesel, and why all drivers carry BP’s Plus Card when working interstate. “BP always had good, strong people looking after us, which is key to building close relationships in today’s fast-paced economy,” he says – pointing out that way of thinking goes back to Terry and Daphne Nolan, who are now semi-retired but still own Nolan’s Interstate Transport. “It’s not all about money for us, it’s about that personal effort you put in. That’s also why we stay true to Volvo and Kenworth on the truck side.”

Based in the town of Gatton in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley, which is also known as Australia’s “Salad Bowl”, Nolan’s is specialised in the transportation of fresh produce and general freight. It can draw on a fleet of 130+ trucks and in excess of 220 trailers, and operates depots in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. It currently employs some 240 local staff who are all “exceptionally versed” in the business of transporting and distributing general and perishable freight from the Lockyer Valley region to the various markets throughout Australia, as Greg has it.

But, Nolan’s General Manager is less interested in quoting the company’s impressive fact sheet than in promoting the family’s slightly different school of thought, where the value that a company creates is measured not just in terms of short-term profits or pay checks, but also in terms of how it sustains the conditions that allow it to flourish over time.

“Leaders like the Nolan family deliver more than just financial returns; they build something to last,” he says. “That’s why we enjoy working with BP. They understand that profit is not the sole end for us; rather, it is a way of ensuring that returns will continue. As a company, we are happy to invest in a partnership that will enhance our drivers’ quality of life and thereby add value to our business.”

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