The community of Orange in the Central West of New South Wales is graced with elegant architectural reminders of its charming heritage.
A junction site since 1885 when the Broken Hill train line was initially branched from Main West, the town is nestled into lower lying slopes of surrounding alpine and today makes for a picture postcard as if were encased in perpetual autumn.
The locally based Nagle Transport has been a major road transport player in the area, stemming from its ability to deliver general freight from the railyards throughout the Central West for well over half a century.
That also makes it one of the oldest carriers working in the region. Its main remit is general freight — specifically standard and oversized pallets, cartons, air conditioning and passenger car tyres.
From Orange the business services Sydney, Dubbo, Mudgee, Parkes, Forbes, Cowra, Young and nearby Bathurst, Lithgow, Blayney, Molong and Wellington daily. Originally founded by Pat Nagle, the business is now run by his son Robert Nagle alongside his wife Kelly with 17 staff and 19 commercial vehicles at his disposal.
These are split between Kenworth in the heavy-duty category and Isuzus in the light and medium segment with a handful of new LDV vans.
“We’ve got vehicles going in all directions,” says Robert. “As a company we tend to duck under the radar, but we’re well established in the region.”
The business, according to Robert, has had, to date, two identifiable growth periods.
The first was resultant from when it commenced moving groceries out of Bathurst.
Not unlike many family-owned road transport outfits during the early 1990s, the business grew again with investments made across its commercial vehicle fleet to sustain the rise in work from new customers.
Home base in Orange also includes the main depot where there is also a workshop, by the name of Orange City Mechanical, which is open to the public for heavy vehicle repairs.
Although prime movers are regularly dispatched to Dubbo and Mudgee, it is to and from Sydney that the bigger 6x4s are chiefly relied upon. The imposing Blue Mountains to the east are an ongoing challenge for operators of heavy vehicles and especially B-doubles.
Given the steep grades often can overheat equipment these vehicle combinations must be split up and rerouted through the flatter terrain near Goulburn as the maximum vehicle length across certain parts is restricted to 19 metres. Enter the Euro 6 rated DAF CF 530, which is ideally equipped to haul single trailers across the Blue Mountains.
Horsepower of the PACCAR MX-13 measures around 390 kW and the 2,600 Nm of available torque sits in a comfortable range of 1,000 to 1,400rpm making it well suited to climbs, serpentine mountain passages and sharp descents.
A mutual understanding with long time dealership partner Suttons Arncliffe was the catalyst for Nagle Transport investing in the new DAF CF 530s. Suttons’ aftersales services have been a major factor in its decision-making process over the years says Robert.
“It’s a good partnership with Suttons Arncliff. They look after us,” he explains. “We get the spare parts and any questions we need answered promptly.”
The relationship goes back nearly three decades. Its ongoing basis is predicated on three certain qualities: service, price and advice.
“Suttons have always given me vehicles at the right price. With that comes good service. We have a considerable footprint of vehicles which warrants a workshop to go with that. But Suttons also help us in that area as well,” says Robert. “They’ve always got someone to reach out to us as far as it goes for the DAFs or Kenworths.They are very helpful when it comes to assisting our mechanics in any way they can.”
To keep on top of the fleet, the Orange-based workshop converses on a regular basis with the Suttons team. “Spare parts are a big factor for our operations. Suttons aftersales services were instrumental in us taking on the new DAF CF 530s,” Robert recalls.
“We like to partner up with companies that are likeminded. We pride ourselves on service and are drawn to working with other companies who are that way inclined. We rely on Suttons not only for a lot of the spare parts but it’s also the knowledge that they are able to impart to us.”
A crucial point of contact for the Nagle Transport team is Suttons Trucks Arncliffe General Sales Manager Adam Lewis. A fully fledged mechanic previously, Adam knows the PACCAR product inside-out, which gives him a mighty edge according to Robert.
“Adam is a real winner for the knowledge he can provide. You can go around a lot of truck salespeople, who don’t really know their product,” says Robert. “With these blokes they do know their stuff because they grow from the mechanical side upwards which is ideal, given they know what it is they’re selling.”
Having helped steer Robert to the other side of PACCAR given his long and continued association with Kenworth, Adam proved insightful in regard to the new DAF CF 530s and the advantages they might offer his daily linehaul operation in and out of Sydney.
The first DAF CF 530 has been operational in the fleet for four months. While it is still being evaluated over the long term, the team at Nagle Transport are already impressed with fuel consumption numbers and the drivers are enthusiastic about its comfort and appointments.
A driver’s airbag, an integrated kerbside blind spot camera and a revised exterior mirror position are all part of the standard safety package which includes Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Stability Control and an Advanced Emergency Braking System.
The second DAF just joined the fleet; its appearance, in part, is designed to evoke a Kenworth K200, incidentally one of the two trucks the new DAFs are replacing under a resale arrangement.
Given the trips the Kenworth K200s were matched with, and the work required of them, it was tough to justify the vehicles.
“As much as I love the K200s and could have just as easily kept them it was a bit of overkill given the task,” says Robert. “You achieve good value back from a truck like that. Not only for the work they’ve provided but also a value at the end of their operational service for us where we’re closer to owning them.”
Turning over the mobile assets in accordance with contractual obligations and the trends of a business balancing the momentary demand with longer term goals is part of a renewed focus to generate greater value where possible.
“What we never used to do was get value out of our vehicles beforehand. By that I mean we would run them and run them and run them and at the end of the day they were worth nothing. Now we are concentrating more on the turnaround for the end part knowing that a Kenworth has good resale value and we pick it up at both ends. You get a good life out of them and then at the end of their time you trade them in and turn them over again.”
Suttons has also helped manage the process of the trade-in, finding a suitable new home for the Kenworth K200s which had been maintained extremely well by the Nagle Transport workshop.
“They have been an integral part in that. Suttons changed my mindset on that front for sure. The way that they mix it all up as far as trade-in goes they just make it work for you,” explains Robert.
“A lot of people tend to just drive it and drive it and service it and service it until it’s worth nothing to anybody and then leave it out in the paddock and instead of turning it back over and giving it a second use for other drivers. One of the trucks we sold went up to a bloke in Port Macquarie who owns a transport company up there. I’ve since spoken to him and he loves it as he should because it’s a bloody beautiful truck. But he’s pulling B-doubles up the coast. It will be good for him and so it’s another life for that vehicle.”
Navigating the highways in and out of Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, requires enhanced manoeuvrability.
The DAF CF 530 does this much easier than a bigger truck but still maintains a firm degree of power and responsiveness.
In the cab interior, an ergonomic design helps maximise the driver’s attention to the road through the larger windscreen and windows.
Noise has been reduced to a minimum while the customisable dash layout with interchangeable switches allows the driver to configure it to their individual needs.
“As a product, again, you don’t lose the prestige of a K200 when you jump back into a DAF. We find the DAFs are in a lower price bracket, but this doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing in comfort. The whole drive of the truck is really good,” says Robert.
“The drivers love them. They are easy to drive, reliable and comfortable as well. It’s a positive for a business when you’ve got drivers driving in all sorts of situations. In and around Sydney and western New South Wales. My drivers have got a bit of everything to contend with. Mountains. Linehaul. The fringes of the outback.”
Glenn Davidson Suttons Arncliffe Sales Manager – DAF, after an introductory visit to Orange has developed a close relationship with Nagle Transport in the longstanding tradition of the partnership that already exists between the two businesses.
“Like I said we try and partner up with likeminded companies,” says Robert. “We’ve been with some very valued customers for a long time. Some have even been with us for over 20 years. We’ve helped them in the Central West for many years. That’s the whole circle of life out this way. If you give good service, you’re going to run a successful business.”
For Robert, the back-up service they receive, and also provide clients remains a key point of difference, no matter the environment or era.
“There’s not a terrible lot of people who actually offer it,” says Robert. “By way of comparison I just bought a RAM from Melbourne and the aftersales service was nothing compared to what Suttons provide. The aftersales service is important because we run a business off the back of it.”
Nagle Transport also provide overnight Hotshots for anybody and everybody including mining crews in the Central West of NSW who can’t afford downtime in their business.
Despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented the business, the flexibility of its operational input has, in turn, offered it many timely reprieves. “The diverse nature of the general freight game can mean what you lose in one section you pick up somewhere else,” explains Robert.
“That’s been our experience so far. Yes, we’ve lost a degree of work, however, it comes back in through other areas. We partner up with another transport company based out of Sydney. They’ve just come on board as a new customer. They do a lot of air conditioners for a major air conditioning provider. We’ve just started to help them out with that. It’s nice work and the people we deal with are great. The people who own that company are much the same as ourselves, in that they keep a nice clean vehicle, they offer a really good service and they’re proud of it.”
According to Robert, the Euro 6 DAF CF 530s are handling a notorious stretch of road for heavy vehicles, especially on approach to Orange, with relative ease.
The vehicles, what’s more, are showing noticeable fuel savings though the data sample to date is small.
“We haven’t completely worked them out as far as the actual fuel burn settings but there are noticeable savings there already,” says Robert.
“We can see it. Buying the parts directly off Suttons is a lot easier as a transitional process with our mechanic talking directly to theirs. It’s a whole myriad of things. I would say it is a complete relationship.” For Nagle Transport it’s never just about the sale of the vehicle. It’s about the maintenance, the operational knowledge and getting the best of its own people and partners. “We like to run a bit of a flagship for Suttons to show if the vehicle does the job,” says Robert. “Why wouldn’t you support it?”