Monday, November 6, 2017

Craig Bryant from Dunedin operates this V8 3260 Mercedes-Benz for Hilton Haulage.

The Mercedes is based in Dunedin and spends most of its time carting product into lower central Otago with the odd trip up to Christchurch. During the milk season he carts dairy products as well. The Mercedes is only a year old and has around 110,000 kms on the clock. It’s rated to cart 58 tonne GCM giving it a payload of about 36 tonne.

Craig started off his career qualifying as a diesel mechanic with Fulton Hogan in Dunedin. The first truck he ever drove was a 4x2 N-series Ford. He has been driving on and off for about 24 years, including stints with McLarens in Ranfurly and five years in the police as well. He’s been with Hiltons for five years. His father drove for Maxwell Brothers in a 2624 Mercedes.

“It’s in the blood,” he says.

He enjoys the freedom and variety of his current role and is no fan of being stuck behind a desk. He is in the fortunate position of being able to manage himself with Hiltons, as his is the only Hilton truck based in Dunedin.

When Craig Andrews questioned him on what the main problem with the industry was, he really questioned the undercutting of companies to get the work off others. He believes it leads to poor wages, which leads to poor drivers, and ultimately poor performance. On his Christchurch trips, which usually occur once a week, he also shudders at some of the driving skills of other motorists on the main highway north, particularly on the long stretches north of Timaru.

“It is just busier and the traffic behaviour just gets worse.”

The vexing question was dairy farm or sheep and beef station. He chose dairy farm, which he said seemed more lucrative.