Greg Smith, CEO of TRB Gas, has transported gas throughout Tasmania for over 15 years and has expanded his fleet with Isuzu trucks.
Smith Told Isuzu he started the business with ute and trailer to ferry gas cylinders to customers for the BBQ industry as well as fuelling outdoor heaters and portable generators.
The ute-and-trailer combination only lasted six months according to Smith.
“We saw opportunity for growth, so we got a truck," he said.
"Our first truck was the Isuzu FRR 525 (FRR 107-210), followed by the FVR 950 (FVR 165-300).
“The business grew quickly and we progressed from two trucks to six.”
TRB Gas continued to deliver across Tasmania, from the east coast to the west coast, from the south to the north. In 2015, the network established by Greg (and Kleenheat Gas) was acquired by Elgas, one of Australia’s prominent LPG suppliers.
This meant further business growth for TRB Gas, and in order to keep up with the demand, Smith expanded his truck fleet.
“Since our first FRR, we have been changing our vehicles every five to six years," said Smith. "And we are now on our third generation of Isuzu trucks.”
The third generation of TRB Gas trucks includes three Isuzu FSD 140-260 models.
TRB has seen an increase in the demand for LPG deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last month we had a 30 per cent increase in business, which is likely related to COVID-19," said Smith.
"We are quite fortunate to be in the position we are in.
“For us, business is normal. Our operations have remained pretty much the same, as our drivers already do drive alone and have minimal contact with the general public, though of course social distancing measures are put in place.
“All we’ve had to change since COVID-19 is implementing contactless delivery and unloading, and we sign off the forms on behalf of our customers," he said.
TRB Gas, as an Elgas agent, delivers gas bottles to small businesses as well as national contracts and service stations.
“Our bottles are filled in Launceston and transported to the various regions of the state," said Smith.
“We also ensure that the bottles are faced outward, which makes sure that other road users can see the product we are transporting," he said.
For TRB Gas, the rise in sales has meant more time on the roads for their fleet of Isuzu FSDs—which, for most, means the risk of more downtime, but Smith told Isuzu that has not been an issue.
“Time spent on the road and working is the most important thing for us, so downtime would naturally be a concern," said Smith.
“But thankfully we haven’t had any downtime at all. My Isuzu trucks are just very good, and the support from Webster Trucks has been really good," he said – adding that Webster Truck services his vehicles all the time and has had zero downtime. “If any of our trucks ever break down, we know we have the support of the 24-hour roadside assist service, though it’s something we’ve never had to use. That’s why we keep using them.”
The Isuzu FSD model, according to Smith is a premium choice for the load his business carries.
“Also, they are very easy to drive and navigate, and this is crucial given that our drivers deliver to cities and around towns," said Smith.
Featuring 14,000kg Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and 20,000kg Gross Combination Mass (GCM), and 191 kW of power @ 2,400 rpm and 761 Nm of torque @ 1,450–2,400 rpm, the FSD 140-260, the commercial vehicle manufacturer said, has more than enough power to get the job done.
A typical day for Greg’s team is reported to involve seven- to eight-hour drives where they drive out with more than 250 gas cylinders and return with empty ones.
“For such long hours on the road, comfort for our drivers is also a priority, and the Isuzu FSDs have very comfortable cabins," said Smith.
“We even fitted the trucks out with fridges so our drivers can take their cold drinks and lunches with them.
“Some of the drivers didn’t want to switch over from the old trucks, but once they drove the new trucks, they didn’t want to give them back," he said.
Smith said taking care of his team by providing the right equipment is a top priority.
“The trucks are their offices, and they deserve the best equipment, and so we get the best of what we can to put in them," he said. "Most of the guys have been with us for ten years or longer. We don’t have a high turnover, we look after our staff."
New truck models don’t just happen overnight. The UD Croner which was unveiled at the 2019 Brisbane Truck Show and will be available to Australian operators in just a few months, has been the result of a significant market and technical research effort across a number of nations over the past six years.