The words are prominent on the door of the Kenworth – PRIDE, CARE, RESPECT, EXCELLENCE – and in a nutshell they embody what Emerald Carrying Co (ECC) is all about.
The strong culture at ECC is palpable: Pride in everything is everything.
It shows in the presentation of the immaculately maintained equipment. This year the Queensland fleet will haul around three billion litres of fuel to mines, fuel depots and service stations.
ECC operates depots in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Emerald, the small Central Queensland town where the business was first established in 1965 by Bill Haylock who started out with a 4-tonne Austin carting off the rail.
With more than 145 prime movers and 350 types of trailing equipment, the long haul specialist in general freight and fuel deliveries is now into its third generation as a family business.
Progress, across the last five decades, has been steady. Team effort, employee loyalty and business integrity have been guiding principles behind an operation that today runs top tier equipment on high utilisation schedules as part of the premium service it provides its customers.
In fact, high utilisation is a trademark of the fleet with some of ECC’s fuel-haul B-doubles clocking 450,000 kilometres a year on triple-shift work.
Kenworth prime movers powered by Cummins engines dominate the ECC fleet which operates, by and large, in sweltering conditions working in the Bowen Basin and on outback linehaul as far north as Darwin. Because of this ECC has forged, over the years, rocksteady relationships with its suppliers.
Here an old axiom holds true: loyalty received is deserving of loyalty in return. Pursiant to this, an alliance with Cummins dates back to the 1980s.
More recently, ECC put into service a set of B-double tankers promoting the Cummins brand – in particular the Euro 6 X15 with the accompanying message, ‘We’re ready when you are’.
“Cummins is the best engine brand on the market in terms of reliability and aftersales support,” says ECC fleet manager Matt Haylock. “We run our trucks into some extremely remote areas across Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales so reliability is crucial.”
When a Kenworth has done around 1.2 million kilometres, ECC rebuilds the engine or replaces it with a brand new one depending on how quickly the kilometres have been accumulated.
The X15 is commonplace in the fleet. Earlier in the year ECC saw the first Euro 6 X15 engines enter service. The latest innovation at ECC is the ‘Super Triple’, a PBS-certified combination that operates on the 900 km trip between Townsville and Mt Isa, hauling 130,000 litres of fuel – a gain of up to 22,000 litres compared with the capacity of a standard roadtrain triple.
The Super Triple, with 600 Cummins X15 horses in harness, features a tri-drive Kenworth T909 pulling Tieman quad-axle trailers and tri-axle dollies, with a loaded weight of 156 tonnes.
Early fuel figures confirm the Super Triple is running at 1.18 km/litre. High utilisation might be a trademark of the fleet, but just as importantly for ECC is the presentation and maintenance of the trucks.
They are generally washed after every shift. Perhaps this is personified no better than the impeccable Kenworth K200 in the accompanying photos, which, at a guess, looks to be 12 months old with a few hundred thousand kilometres on the clock.
It is, in fact, a 2016 model with over one million kilometres under the X15 rocker cover.
ECC runs a stringent maintenance regime which underpins the company’s fleet reliability and safety commitments.
“We have very few breakdowns – perhaps one a month, if that,” confirms ECC maintenance manager Chris Chalmers. “We’re proud of that considering the size of the fleet.”
In addition to its current facilities across Queensland and the Northern Territory, ECC under the banner of Monaro Fuel Haulage, which it acquired in 2016, also has a major presence down the eastern seaboard with depots in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
At the time of the acquisition, the Monaro fleet totalled six trucks; today close to 40 trucks operate in the Monaro blue livery.
“Our B-double prime movers are brought in for checks every 12,500 km which is generally a week to ten days while our engine oil change intervals are 50,000 km for the B-doubles and 25,000 km for the roadtrains,” Chris points out. “We look at fuel burn every service to check engine load factors and that our servicing intervals are where they should be.”
Accurate forecasting, according to Chris, is the key to the ECC maintenance system.
“Each week we get an automated report detailing which trucks are due in for servicing,” he says. “We have five workshops and 30 mechanics including nine apprentices.”
In 2020 ECC relocated to larger premises in Lytton that allowed it to incorporate its Lytton Bulk Fuel team, Oil Logistics team, Head Office team and Brisbane General Freight team.
With the busiest depots facilitating upwards of 70 B-double fuel loads a day, on an average of 51,000 litres per load, the company, as a vital cog across industries instrumental to the economy, must be a dependable force like its partners in Cummins and Kenworth.