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CAT Trucks Shine in Western Australia’s Southwest

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CAT Trucks Australia / Navistar Auspac Press Release / September 8, 2015

Cat CT630 stands tall in family logging company

In a proud family-owned business where reputations evolve on the ability to endure the tests of time and toil among the hardwood forests of Western Australia’s southwest, Cat trucks have emerged as the modern-day truck of choice.

Based at Manjimup, 300 km south of Perth, South West Haulage is a timber harvesting and haulage company which has been an integral part of the West Australian logging industry for around 60 years. For more than 50 of those years, Greg Smeathers has lived and breathed every aspect of the business.

“This business, the bush, the trucks and the machinery, everything about it has been so much a part of my life since I was a kid. Even my father worked here,” says the sharp 68 year-old, born and bred in Manjimup who first joined the company as a 15 year-old apprentice mechanic in March 1962.

In fact, so ingrained is South West Haulage in the life of Greg Smeathers that just three years ago, at an age when most men are contemplating retirement, Greg and sons Peter and Shawn invested everything they have to buy the company outright.

“I’d had a limited financial interest in the company since 2007,” Greg explains, “and I’d been running the whole operation for years on behalf of the owners. Anyway, when the opportunity came up a few years ago to take full ownership of the company, and the boys were keen to be involved, we bit the bullet and threw everything we had into it.

“At my age it wasn’t easy convincing the banks,” he smiles, “but we got there eventually. Apart from the financial aspects, the thing that got us across the line was that I’ve been totally involved in this company and this industry for well over 50 years. Plus the fact that the three of us are equal partners, and Peter and Shawn have spent most of their lives growing up around the business.

“This company is now their future.”

Meantime, growth has been significant since father and sons took total control. The winning of a major logging contract in early 2014 saw the size of South West Haulage almost double as annual tonnages increased to around 400,000 tonnes.

A vast equipment inventory of harvesting machines, trucks, trailers and service vehicles today includes 24 prime movers with most coupled to trailer sets configured as ‘pocket’ roadtrains, operating on approved routes with overall length to 27.5 metres and gross weights up to 79 tonnes.

South West Haulage operates in two divisions with Peter in charge of blue gum plantation timber and Shawn controlling the harvesting and haulage of native timbers, while Greg applies his vast experience to the overall operation.

Like their father, Peter and Shawn Smeathers are highly experienced heavy equipment mechanics who know what it takes for machinery to succeed midst the constant demands of harvesting and hauling tall timber from forest to mill.

“If there’s one thing for sure, I’ve certainly seen some big changes in equipment over the past 50 years,” Greg reflects.

When it comes to equipment choice, father and sons take a long-term view. “We look for things to last,” says eldest son Peter. “We maintain all our own equipment and have a big workshop with mechanics and maintenance people who know how to build and rebuild things, so unlike a lot of companies we don’t have the need to replace trucks every four or five years.

“The biggest thing for us is durability. The ability to just keep doing the job day in and day out. If the wheels aren’t turning, we’re not earning. It’s as simple as that.”

In a business where equipment is invariably expected to deliver the full extent of its viable service life, Cat trucks are a comparatively new arrival. The first CT630 model joined the South-West fleet in 2011 when Greg was quick to recognise the advantage of a truck with a C15 engine and vitally, no AdBlue or EGR emissions controls.

Since then, however, the performance and durability of Cat trucks have established the brand’s operational credentials to the point where there are now seven Cats in the fleet. In fact, all new prime movers bought since 2011 wear the Cat badge.

“The business case for Cat definitely stacks up,” Peter says firmly. “There’s no question we all have a strong regard for Cat products but if the first truck didn’t stand up to the job, there would never have been a second Cat truck let alone another four or five of them.

“It has become the truck of choice basically because it has done no wrong and it’s a good value-for-money proposition,” he confirms.

As Peter quickly adds though, there’s more to the liking for Cat than mechanical matters. “It’s about the whole package; performance, reliability and service. We have a good relationship with the people at WesTrac, particularly Peter Calligaro (Cat Trucks manager) and when it’s all boiled down, everything revolves around the quality of the people you’re working with.”

The Cats primarily operate in the blue gum operation, hauling up to 54 tonnes of sawn logs to a woodchip mill at Bunbury, 130 km from Manjimup and as far as 250 km from the furthest harvest sites.

“On tare weight the Cats are at least as good as anything else we run,” Peter remarks, “but the big thing for us is that they’re showing all the signs they’ll live a long time in the job without any major issues.

“The C15’s a proven engine, the gearbox and diffs are proven components, and the cabs and chassis are holding together really well.

“They’re doing everything right and when it comes to equipment of any sort, that’s exactly what we’re after.”

For Greg Smeathers, the Cat preference is honed on more than half a century of hard work and enduring performance.

“I’ve been working with Cat gear since I was a 15 year-old apprentice, so the liking for Cat isn’t a recent thing. It’s something that has been built over many decades. The simple fact is I know it’s good gear.”

On the experience with Cat trucks, a resolute Greg Smeathers concludes, “There’s no doubt that when it comes to anything with a Cat badge, we have high expectations.

“The Cat trucks are certainly no different and they’re doing everything to live up to those expectations.

“Better still, I can’t see any reason why they won’t keep doing it.”

Photo gallery - http://www.cattrucks.com.au/cat-trucks-shine-in-was-south-west/

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I don't get it,they use there own engine and everyone else components,so what makes them so good and tough?Cant be any better than a Kenworth or Pete or International..

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Please realize that the CAT long-haul trucks product sold in Australia are night and day different from the US market CAT vocational trucks.

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Please realize that the CAT long-haul trucks product sold in Australia are night and day different from the US market CAT vocational trucks.

I have no idea so what would the difference be?

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I have no idea so what would the difference be?

The Australian truck operating requirement is unforgiving, nothing at all like the US. And furthermore, we're talking Australian long-haul versus US market vocational. If you've never been, you owe it to yourself to get down to Oz and NZ for a time.

http://www.cattrucks.com.au/

http://www.cat.com/en_US/products/new/by-industry/on-highway-truck.html

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The truck itself is a rebadged Prostar. You can't convince me otherwise because it's not something else.

I'm not sure about the engine and emissions on that truck.

Might be CAT or Navistar

I don't know what " CAT " did to that truck to make it tougher. This are just fairy tales

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Yes, the Aussie CAT long haul trucks are based on the ProStar platform. But to meet the VERY demanding conditions of Oz, they are engineering quite differently. No tales.

Come down to Oz for a look. It's good for the mind to get out of town.....out of your normal life "box".......you'll be telling everyone for months that the trip was one of the best decisions you ever made. Ask Tim. As a bonus, as your summer is ending, their summer is beginning

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Yeah come on down fellas, I'll throw another prawn... Er, I mean shrimp on the bbq!

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Yeah Tim when they turn up you'll be able to give them a Fosters I dont know anyone that ever drank that except Hoge's LOL

Fellas it's a bit like trying to explain the colour of something over the phone some times you just gotta come and have look your self if you catch my drift

Paul

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I see heavy spec trucks every day. Everyone I know in the trucking industry drives one.I drive one for that matter and I'm doing it for 11 years.

Western Canada it's full of heavy spec trucks. We pull heavy, 140000 pounds and more. You don't do that with a truck with 10 speed and 40000 pounds rear ends.

I'm not trying to offend anyone here but when i hear US drivers saying that 80000 pounds is heavy, it makes me laugh.

I've never pulled a single tandem trailer in the last 11 years.

The gross weight for super b trailers is 63500kg on 8 axles. I had times when I grossed between 72-73000kg during night when scales are closed ( I get paid by the ton).

I do that with a 2012 Mack CHU with a 13L - 505hp engine.

When most of the trucks run a 12000 pounds front end I run a 14600 even though a 12000 will do.

For rear ends I run 46000 Meritor with 4 way locks.

The drive line and u joints are made by Spicer and there are the biggest and strongest you can get for a on road tractor.

The clutch is heavy duty 2 disc plates made by Eaton

Trany is 18 speed Eaton

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I see heavy spec trucks every day. Everyone I know in the trucking industry drives one.I drive one for that matter and I'm doing it for 11 years.

Western Canada it's full of heavy spec trucks. We pull heavy, 140000 pounds and more. You don't do that with a truck with 10 speed and 40000 pounds rear ends.

I'm not trying to offend anyone here but when i hear US drivers saying that 80000 pounds is heavy, it makes me laugh.

I've never pulled a single tandem trailer in the last 11 years.

The gross weight for super b trailers is 63500kg on 8 axles. I had times when I grossed between 72-73000kg during night when scales are closed ( I get paid by the ton).

I do that with a 2012 Mack CHU with a 13L - 505hp engine.

When most of the trucks run a 12000 pounds front end I run a 14600 even though a 12000 will do.

For rear ends I run 46000 Meritor with 4 way locks.

The drive line and u joints are made by Spicer and there are the biggest and strongest you can get for a on road tractor.

The clutch is heavy duty 2 disc plates made by Eaton

Trany is 18 speed Eaton

If it makes you feel any better, the global max GCW (aka.GCM) is really 44 metric tons (97,003 lb).

And 50 metric ton (110,231 lb) to 70 metric ton (154,324 lb) requirements are common.

I have a coal hauling fleet at 154 metric tons (339,512 lb).

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This truck has pretty much all the heavy specs.

What's missing is a even bigger front axle which isn't going to do me any good, considering that I can get the job done with a 12000 and a double or triple frame.

When we're talking double or triple frame, we're talking severe duty.

I've seen a ton of trucks with double frame here

I'm no stranger to heavy duty. This is what we do here.

I've seen Prostar tractors with the same specs I've mentioned pulling 9-10 axles trailers with 50-60 tons machinery on them.

Heavy duty is heavy duty and I've seen enough of it so I can have an idea what it is.

So that so called CAT truck is nothing but a heavy spec Prostar that I've seen tons of them around here with "maybe " a double frame and a bigger stronger suspension. It may be Neway

So.... Really what's so heavy duty about those Australian

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This truck has pretty much all the heavy specs.

What's missing is a even bigger front axle which isn't going to do me any good, considering that I can get the job done with a 12000 and a double or triple frame.

When we're talking double or triple frame, we're talking severe duty.

I've seen a ton of trucks with double frame here

I'm no stranger to heavy duty. This is what we do here.

I've seen Prostar tractors with the same specs I've mentioned pulling 9-10 axles trailers with 50-60 tons machinery on them.

Heavy duty is heavy duty and I've seen enough of it so I can have an idea what it is.

So that so called CAT truck is nothing but a heavy spec Prostar that I've seen tons of them around here with "maybe " a double frame and a bigger stronger suspension. It may be Neway

So.... Really what's so heavy duty about those Australian

Come down to Oz and see for yourself.

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Do they have a completely different assembly line for the export trucks?The few people I know who had them had nothing but troubles.They got incredible deals on them at first,but they were soon sorry for going with them.

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Well.... I'm not angry or upset. Canada and Australia are somehow exceptions when it comes to day by day on road transportation.

Most of the world trucks run 11-13L engines with an average of 450 hp pulling mostly one trailer and here they pull super b trailers since the 70'.

They used to do it with 350hp engines back in the day.

I just don't believe any of the propaganda this truck makers are trying to do.

I know enough to not get fooled. With the exception of engines nothing has changed in North America.

Everyone is still buying driveline components from the same manufacturers.

Trucks are still the same.

Couples of years ago my dealer approached me to write a so called success story about me for the Bulldog magazine.

They somehow wanted to point the fuel economy of the Mp8 engines.

I told them that they can't do that as long as my truck was getting between 4-4,5 mpg pulling that kind of weight.

I told them that what I get isn't called fuel economy but fuel consumption

.

I said: you've got the wrong guy.

They'll try and make up all this storyline about this and that and how good our trucks are and how strong they are but the reality is different.

They're all pretty much the same.

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Do they have a completely different assembly line for the export trucks?The few people I know who had them had nothing but troubles.They got incredible deals on them at first,but they were soon sorry for going with them.

If you're US-based, are you saying that you know a few people in Oz who bought them?

We're speaking of the Australian market CAT long haul truck range, which is completely different from the US market CAT vocational range.

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