According to Nolan Interstate Transport, bins have changed the face of moving old fruit and vegetables.
The whole industry is starting to change. The transport MD, a well-known identity in the Queensland and Australian road transport industry, has some 78 trucks under the Nolan banner operating from Cairns to Adelaide.
It is nothing for Nolan’s to load between 50 to 60 trailers on a weekend which is a lot of freight, and not all as a straight load either.
The transport MD’s prime area for transporting produce is the Lockyer Valley, a sixty-minute drive west of Brisbane.
Nolan Interstate Transport moves carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbages, cauliflowers, watermelons, lettuce and spring onions. Nolan’s have gone from no plastic bins with Loscam in 2000, to 6,500 bins in 2003.
Growers used to have wooden bins but with the health requirements of HAACP it is not viable for growers any more. Plastic bins are a lot easier to handle, and you do not have the damage you had previously.
They are lightweight, and stack on top of each other. They do a great job.
A lot of the farmers in the Lockyer also use the bins to cart onions and potatoes from the field to the packing sheds. They are graded and some are packed in plastic bags for the supermarkets.
According to Transport MD, when he started working for his dad, wooden bins were the go for produce. But the whole industry has changed, and if you do not change, you get out. It is been driven by both the supermarkets and consumers.
Many major processors will only allow a plastic bin for the movement of produce.
Nolan Interstate Transport services between 50 and 60 growers in the Lockyer, and the Loscam bins have been accepted well.
You occasionally get a few grumbles from growers about the paperwork, but that is the problem in the office not the problem with the bins.
Many of the people it supplies, never have a problem with the system. Nolan Interstate Transport has been dealing with Loscam for four years now and if Nolan has a problem Loscam is ready to listen.
It is a two-way street. Loscam and Nolan have problems. Nolan sorts them out, and the relationship has been a good one.
Nolan was a pioneer of FMT. They insist all their drivers undertake medicals and a 2 to 3-day induction course.
Each truck has a GMS tracking device, where each of the trucks are, and each vehicle is fitted with a monitor that records the speed, gear change, etc.
Recently, Nolan’s tendered for an $8 million major contract with a multi-national. While Nolan’s were not the cheap carriers, they won the business because of the strict safety programme they have instigated.
Before Loscam came along, Nolan Interstate Transport had limited options.