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Direct Haul: A Territory story


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Big Rigs  /  March 28, 2017

In 1982, a young Dick David purchased the BP Depot in Katherine NT and the name Dick David Fuel Supplies was on the move.

Dick had previously been a driver and road boss in the Buntine Roadways Group and had learnt some valuable lessons in the running of a transport company during his time with Noel Buntine.

With his knowledge and contacts in the northern pastoral industry, the business grew with fuel sales and delivery to the pastoral companies, road houses, mining ventures in the Top End.

Later trading as Australian Fuel Distributors (AFD) the fuel depots in Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Mount Isa, Darwin, Cloncurry and Kununurra were added to the fold.

The business evolved to be a major fuel and lubrication supplier to northern Australia.

Dick retired in 2003 selling the business to son Brooke, who took the business to another level with the purchase of retail sites rebranded as Gull Fuel and Ausfuel and the transport arm that has become Direct Haul.

With cartage contracts to other major fuel suppliers and mining companies, Direct Haul increased its fleet.

In 2003, Brooke David sold the business in 2003 to Puma Energy, a global energy corporation. The purchase fitted well with Puma's future expansion plans into Australasia.

Direct Haul currently hauls around a billion litres of fuel each year with a fleet of eight prime movers pulling quad trailers, 16 prime movers on triple trailer work, one B-Double and 11 local trucks working out of depots in Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs and Kununurra.

Just to give an idea of the capability, a Quad in maximum configuration , tri-drive and tri-axle dollies has a GCM of 165 tonnes, up to 53.5 metres in length can carry 130,000 litres of diesel, a big responsibility for the drivers.

Direct Haul's scheduling section has a number of old hands who can advise drivers of road conditions and possible hazards to get their load to the customer on time with a minimum of fuss.

The fleet of trucks and trailers are washed in the in-house wash bay after every trip, rims polished regularly and cleaned inside making the fleet always look a credit to the company and the drivers.

Direct Haul has evolved into a big player in the fuel cartage business in the Top End but still seems to be able to keep the personal touch to the end users, old traditions live on.


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