Perth-based road transport company, Goldstar Transport, has begun evaluating the next generation Freightliner Cascadia, the first reportedly in Western Australia.
The burgeoning family-owned business which provides a range of premium freight services including bulk freight, DC shuttle runs, mining roadtrains and linehaul this week integrated a demo unit for evaluation into its metropolitan focused operations.
Goldstar Transport is evaluating the 13-litre 505 horsepower Cascadia which is paired with a DT12 transmission after it was brought over from Melbourne hauling a B-triple combination.
It has been committed to ferrying general freight between distribution centres in Kewdale, Hazelmere, Welshpool and Canning Vale for starters.
Managing Director Sean Carren said the business had strong Daimler connections having taken delivery recently of two new Mercedes-Benz Actros 2646s and additional Mercedes-Benz Actros 2663s.
"The 2663 is a spectacular vehicle for us. Driver feedback is always positive. These vehicles are uniformly acclaimed by staff," he said.
"We're pulling ten bricks through the wind and they excel at doing that job," said Carren.
While the Actros trucks are devoted to a bulk distribution contract, the Fusos it also operates, are assigned specialty metro distribution jobs with a 6x2 and the more unique configuration of an 8x4, built with a customised 14-pallet freight dry van.
"It's a really good solid vehicle in that environment," Carren said.
Goldstar Transport also has new 6x2 MAN TGS 26480s as part of its upgraded bulk fleet running into the DCs.
The Cascadia is far from the first Freightliner at work in the business. Goldstar Transport runs several Coronados on triple roadtrains into the Kimberley and the far reaches of the state's northwest which are complemented by the recently discontinued cabover Argosy Carren describes as excellent for extendable work into remote areas.
Having attended the launch event for the new Freightliner Cascadia earlier in the year, Carren did not pass up an opportunity to trial the vehicle when offered to do so by Daimler.
"We had trailers that needed to be transported to Perth so the timing was good for us," he said.
"So we hooked it all together and made it happen. The driver loved it. It certainly turned some heads coming across, for sure."
Despite not having a sleeper bunk it made the 3,500 kilometre cross country journey arriving last weeekend.
The workshop, which employs around 20 staff including five apprentices, has begun the fit out of cabin technologies like GPS, safety cameras, telematics and the other bits and pieces Goldstar uses to monitor the vehicle and its operator.
According to Carren many of his 150 personnel are under 30 and working their first job. He is adament that younger people need to be given opportunity.
"It's my belief you need to give people a go. Not everybody is going to get it right the first day. It's a tough business," he said.
Even so, the company has just announced a groundbreaking new EBA agreement with its staff.
They will receive a 9.3 per cent wage increase, a remarkable outcome given it will become effective during a global pandemic when national and global economies are stalling.
Human Resources Manager Kieron Crowley was recruited two years ago to negotiate the new Enterprice Agreement with a view of 'lifting the standard' across the business.
"A key part of this was to significantly lift the pay rates," he said.
"We shared the view that better pay rates attract better people, who provide better results. Increases across all 110 employees covered by the agreement were proposed, with the majority of employees set to receive a 9.3 percent increase in their base rate," said Crowley.
When COVID-19 hit, according to Crowley, there was a strong business case to defer or reduce the proposed amount. Carren, however, was adamant that they should proceed to reward the staff for the great work that they do.
At the end of March, a vote was held and returned an overwhelmingly positive result in favour of the new Agreement explained Crowley.
"It may seem counterintuitive to provide employees with a significant increase at this time, but we’ve taken this leap of faith because our people are our greatest asset and we wanted to reciprocate the loyalty that they have shown us," he said.
"Overall, it’s a fantastic result for our people and provides them with some much needed stability of employment during these difficult times. Our people are our greatest asset and we’re very happy with the new Agreement."