We're pulling out: Hawkins turns back on general freight

Hawkins Road Transport to auction general freight division, turning its back on the sector over claims it is unsustainable

We're pulling out: Hawkins turns back on general freight
Hawkins turns back on general freight
By Brad Gardner | February 18, 2010

Family-owned business Hawkins Road Transport is leaving the general freight market behind, claiming it is not a sustainable business option.

The 90-year-old Queensland company has chosen to send its general freight division to the auction block and focus solely on growing its fuel haulage operations.

Hawkins CEO Rosalind Shaw says general freight volumes have fallen in the last year, and the decision of one of the company’s biggest customers to turn to rail about six months ago also influenced the operator’s decision.

"The competitive nature of the [general freight] business has squeezed margins," Shaw tells ATN.

"We decided to remove ourselves before we became a statistic."

The company’s general freight fleet of more than 20 prime movers and 50 trailers will be auctioned on March 16 at Ritchie Brothers in Brisbane.

Hawkins has also reached a deal with fellow Queensland operator Lindsay Transport to save employees’ jobs affected by the move.

Shaw says Hawkins will transfer its general freight contracts to Lindsay in return for it taking on Hawkins staff.

"Lindsay Transport will give priority to Hawkins drivers for employment opportunities that are expected to be generated with the transfer of freight contracts to their business," she says.

Shaw, who is a fourth generation member of the Hawkins family, says the operator’s new focus means it is primed to grow.

"Fuel haulage has grown significantly in recent years and we are well-placed to capitalise on the exciting opportunities in this space," she says.

"We are highly capitalised and looking to expand the business throughout 2010 and beyond."

The operator is planning to expand into the mining sector, with Shaw saying it is beginning to pick up.

Hawkins was established in 1921 and has depots throughout Queensland in Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Tully, Cairns, Richmond and Mount Isa.

The business also runs eco-tourism ventures and its own trucks stops.

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