Legend Logistics has opened its first depot in Perth.
Located in Welshpool, the new site marks the first official presence for the company outside of Melbourne where its head office is based.
Western Australia, according to Managing Director Troy Eiken, has been identified as a crucial growth segment which in turn has prompted further investments in equipment and personnel.
“We’ve been sending trucks over there and decided to pull the trigger and get some yard space,” he told Prime Mover.
“It’s been identified some time ago as a strategic regional concern we are looking to actively pursue,” said Eiken.
Five prime movers have been recently acquired for the location. Four of these are Western Star 4800s which are currently in operation with another Western Star 4900 en route.
A full time Operations Manager, Mark Sutton is now situated at the depot.
Legend Logistics has also appointed a Business Development Manager who has a project logistics background with extensive experience in both oil and gas and wind and energy industries.
He will be joining the team in the new year.
For the moment the company is servicing some smaller contracts as it consolidates the linehaul business before venturing into the Pilbara where there is ongoing demand for commercial vehicle fleets in the mining and gas segments.
“We’re looking to grow that in the near future with larger contracts in the next year,” said Eiken.
With the Perth office up and running, the next phase of the plan is for Legend Logistics to establish a depot in Adelaide early next year ahead of a likely expansion into Brisbane by Q4.
By early 2024 the business aims to be up and running in New Zealand according to Eiken.
“We’re really trying to push to a national level,” he said.
“That’s our gameplan for the next 12 months.”
At present the company employs 130 staff, having doubled its workforce just in the last 12 months alone.
In that corresponding time period operations have added 19 new prime movers and six tipper trucks.
“The business has come a long way in the last couple of years,” said Eiken.
“It’s been exciting and frenetic at the same time,” he said.
The Melbourne-based fleet is now 40 prime movers strong with more on order.
Legend Logistics recently signed a contract for North East Link where it will provide specialty commercial vehicles. The first tipper, a Mack SuperLiner, became operational yesterday.
The fleet, according to Eiken, will need to scale up to 30 tippers for the North East Link project in the next six months.
“We’re in the midst of ordering some new trucks and we’re having to balance availability with the second-hand market at the moment,” he said.
“Of course, we’re looking for the newest ones we can find from 2019 and up. It’s important we find some reliable gear because tippers are hard work when they get a bit older.”
Legend Logistics currently have five tippers servicing the West Gate Tunnel project running 24/7.
Such a dedicated operation is, in fact, a new direction for the business which Eiken admits hadn’t been given too much forethought previously.
“We were asked if we would be interested and we did the numbers and they suggested we could make it work,” he said. “That’s pretty exciting for us.”
Eiken has resorted to pre-booking new trucks 24 months ahead of schedule to align with the expansion plans of the business.
He confirmed he has five new Scania R 590 6x4s powered by a 590hp Euro VI engine with a 92,000 kg GCM on order for mid-2023 for Western Australia
Another five of these same Scanias are on the order books for early 2024.
These will go into the Melbourne-based fleet.
“For the linehaul fleet, the Scanias can also complete this task as they are decked out with bullbars and windshield guards for the runs to Perth,” he explained.
“From Perth up to the Pilbara we’ll potentially be looking at the heavier gear.”
Acquiring trucks in the current market is a tough ask for commercial road transport operators, especially those at the minute riding the crest of rapid expansion.
Human resourcing presents another set of challenges though Legend Logistics has, to combat the shortfall of specialist staff, launched an internal driver training campaign.
It’s a tough time to be undergoing such expeditious growth.
“Finding quality drivers is one of our biggest struggles,” said Eiken.
“At the moment we’ve embarked on promoting a cadetship program into which we will onboard some new guys who are older or younger into the fold,” he explained.
“They’ll be matched up with our senior drivers and go through a training program a couple of days a week. If they’re working, then they can take the day off, get paired up, get skilled up and learn the ropes with our experienced team of trainer drivers and when they’re ready we can deploy them onto our smaller jobs.
“Legend Logistics doesn’t just solely run A-doubles and roadtrains. We do run a lot of singles, so we view it as a good fit for that application.”
The company, where possible, has picked up drivers already working in the industry, primarily through the use of social media and employment agencies.
But even across these avenues, with so many other competitors looking to do the same, there are limits.
For the moment, Legend Logistics is looking to capitalise on the momentum it has generated through new contracts and growth.
“You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot. We try to look after our drivers financially,” said Eiken.
“We’ve been afforded the privilege of winning these projects. Now we’ve just got to do our best to crunch the numbers and get the drivers in the door.”