Bunbury-based freight carrier, South West Express, the winner of last week’s Woolworths Small Carrier of the Year award, is set to take a delivery of four new Scania R580s, which will bring its entire prime mover fleet up to Euro 6 standard.
Set for delivery in December, the commercial vehicles are 130-tonne rated for carrying palletised products across Western Australia and also into Woolworths, BWS and Dan Murphy's outlets.
The operation, in addition to this, involves moving secondary freight out of the Perth Regional Distribution Centre down through the southwest.
South West Express has worked as a Woolworths carrier for nearly 20 years. In 2002, after servicing stores intermittently, the account was formalised – a major fillip for a family-owned business.
The Small Carrier of the Year award was judged by Woolworths on exceptional service and safety under the qualifying parameter that operations account for less than $25 million of work with the supermarket chain.
Businesses that exceeded the $25 million mark were considered for the Large Carrier of the Year category which was won this year by Nolan's Interstate Transport.
Mark Mazza, South West Express CEO, wasn’t aware his company had won the prestigious award until it was announced at a ceremony at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney where over 250 road transport partners and industry professionals were gathered for the annual awards.
"Woolworths kept their cards close to their chest," he said. "A lot of hard work went into this over many years. We're thrilled to receive the recognition. It obviously means a lot to us."
The safety part of the equation goes beyond road practices, according to Mazza, to factor in reductions in uncoupling events and delivery improvements recognised at retail sites and depots.
“We have a KPI system with Woolworths and our contracts are reviewed on a regular basis, probably every six months," he said.
"When we sit down with them we go through all of our KPIs. They come up with a score. If you’ve had a major reduction in drop trailer events or any other safety event you up for consideration for an award."
Often regarded as the first fleet in Western Australia to adopt Euro 6 engine technology, South West Express services 200 customers and maintains depots in Welshpool and Albany.
The four NTG Scania R580s he has purchased will transition his entire fleet to Euro 6, replacing the last of his Euro 5 rated prime movers.
These trucks will be equipped with a full safety pack confirmed a Scania spokesperson including side-curtain airbags which is standard with the product.
Nearly 80 per cent of the Scania fleet comprises 16-litre Euro 6 product with 13-litre commercial vehicles comprising the remainder.
“Our company does everything from one carton to a corner store right through to produce deliveries," Mazza said. "We cart for all sorts of customers. We have a fairly broad customer base.”
Mark is also involved with industry body Transafe, a dedicated road safety audit and traffic engineering consultancy that specialises in transport, traffic and road safety.
According to Scania WA Regional Executive Manager Michael Berti, Mazza looks beyond the product technology perspectives to see how he can help make the industry better.
“They’ve always been a marquee fleet for Scania in Western Australia. Mark has long been associated with our product and they’re very recognisable trucks on the road. They stand out. People notice them. And our brand is pleased to be associated with it.”
Having worked with the South West Express CEO for the last five years Berti said Mazza embodied the caring, strong family values epitomised by his company.
“They rely heavily on data and technology to be able to provide a safe operation. To me they’re at the forefront of that. They do a very good job at what they do. It really comes down to those family values which just permeates through his business,” he said.
“We’re super proud of him and the award couldn’t have gone to anyone better to be honest."