Fulton Hogan, riding the ranges
Pulling a load up the steep
hills out of Central Otago on New Zealand’s South Island towards Queenstown
requires power – and more than a little patience to deal with the throngs of
Jenkins is a company man. He started driving trucks for Fulton Hogan – a
household name in New Zealand construction and engineering for over 85 years
- at the age of 23, some forty years
You do the
passed retirement age now,” he laughs.
Now, as the
Operations and Transport manager for the company’s truck fleet based in
Alexandra, Central Otago, his driving days are largely behind him. Instead, he
looks after the drivers and oversees the maintenance and work schedule of
Fulton Hogan’s eighteen trucks in the region.
“We mostly shift
aggregates around the bottom half of the South Island of New Zealand for major
road works, but we carry other materials such as lime or grapes during the
harvest,” he says, “anything we can drop off the back of the tipper.”
is on the banks of the Clutha River and its bridge is pretty as a picture set against
the mountain backdrop. Most of the work is driving the 60 kilometres north-west
to Queenstown, where Trevor says the company Macks hold their own on the roads
with the millions of tourists who come into the region each year.
Zealand opened up the roads to 58-tonne loads, the power of the Mack has proven
a handy addition to the company’s fleet. In the past two years, Fulton Hogan
have bought a Super-Liner and a Trident.
to Queenstown isn’t that good so you need that power. If you are carting a 58-tonne
load, you don't want to hold up the traffic and you haven't got tourists trying
to pass you,” he says.
reckons that of the four million tourists who come into Queenstown each year,
about three quarters of them hire cars.
Hogan has a range of businesses including quarrying, civil construction, road
building, infrastructure and developing residential sub-divisions. It’s a proud
New Zealand business that has expanded into Australia and other parts of the
Asia-Pacific, and Mack has long been a part of the company story.
has had a long personal history with the Mack.
when I was driving in 1987, I had an R Model and then an Ultra Liner. I started
with a 26/24 for a couple of years and I got about 700,000km out of the R
Model,” he remembers.
and terrain of Central Otago can be a challenge. The Central Otago regional
office of Fulton Hogan makes deliveries within a 100 kilometre radius of
“We go from
extremes in temperature from 35 degrees in the summer to minus 8 in winter,”
But it is
the hills that bring the high torque of the Mack into play.
Otago has a lot of hills. Our terrain is all hills more or less. We are in a
hollow and to get in and out of Alexandra you need to climb large, long hills,”
and Trident have the benefit of being able to carrying large loads and Trevor
is working hard to acquire another Mack for his fleet – especially with the
amount of road work coming up on the company’s calendar.
to see if I can get another big truck to cart 38 tonne. With the sheer size of
the truck, it means that I can get bigger loads. More efficiency, less trucks
on the road,” he informs me.
Hogan work the trucks hard. Last year, the Super-Liner did 115,000 kilometres
with few issues.
reliability is good. We’re 300 kilometres away from the nearest Mack dealers,
so at least with the mechanics, our drivers can get them going.”
He is also
impressed with the fuel efficiency – especially since each truck typically
pulls a big load in both directions.
about 38 tonne of aggregate to Queenstown and brings back hard soil and other
things, so it is both ways.”
looks fondly back on his days in the driver’s seat of his Mack, and thinks that
the power remains one of the rigs most attractive features.
these hills, power’s what you need, and the Macks have it,” says Trevor.