Argosy invasion in Nelson forests

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Over the past decade Freightliner’s Argosy has formed the backbone of Nelson’s log truck fleet, with numbers operating throughout the district totalling close to 30.

Stuart Drummond began business as a single truck owner-operator carting logs in 1985. The business has morphed into the current day Stuart Drummond Transport Limited operation, with Stuart’s son Brodie now assuming the role of company manager.

Brodie oversees the running of 36 trucks moving wood for a number of forestry interests throughout the Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast regions. Brodie said recent expansion in the company’s truck fleet has come about largely on the back of “loyal customers increasing production and the desire to grow alongside them”.

Enter fleet number 281, one of a quartet of Freightliner Argosys to join the Stuart Drummond Transport Limited fleet in 2017.

The Drummond Argosy is a great advertisement for the professional approach of the business to the task at hand.

All four carry an identical spec, comprising a Detroit DD15 power plant producing 418kW (560hp) and 2508Nm (1850lb/ ft) of torque. This is transferred to the ground courtesy of a manual Eaton-Fuller RTLO-20918B transmission and 4.1:1 ratio Meritor RT46-160GP rear axles travelling on Freightliner’s Air Liner 46K rear suspension.

The Drummond trucks all received Freightliner’s 75th anniversary treatment, including extra soundproofing on the 90” cabs, and leather seats as part of an upgraded interior upholstery package. The Detroit power plant is covered by a four-year/800,000km extended warranty.

Twin exhaust stacks and dual stainless air intakes are fitted, with the Top Truck also riding on Alcoa Dura-Bright wheels. Extra lights have also been fitted, making the unit a real standout on the road.

Patchell fitted out the truck, and built the 5-axle multi bolster trailer with winch style chain tensioners and SI Lodec scales to assist in maximising payload.

Argosy works under Nelson Forests Limited (NFL) despatch, hauling from anywhere within the 78,000 hectares of forest NFL own in the province, to various upper South Island mills, as well as export wharves in both Nelson and Picton.

Brothers Kerry and Kingsley Pickering drive the Freightliner Monday to Friday on a 24-hour double-shift basis, with Kerry manning the day shift and Kingsley looking after nights. The Pickering boys are second-generation Nelson truck drivers and both have a well-deserved reputation for keeping the equipment they drive in pristine condition.

Kerry Pickering (left) and brother Kingsley (right) keep the big Freightliner’s wheels turning 24 hours a day.

Drummond’s operate six trucks on double-shift, which sees these trucks clocking up in excess of 200,000 kilometres per year. Shift trucks remain in the role for between two and three years before moving down through the fleet as single runners.

Premium equipment, outstanding presentation and maximum utilisation make the Stuart Drummond Transport Freightliner Argosy an outstanding candidate for May 2018’s New Zealand Trucking magazine Top Truck.