EXCLUSIVE: Why Toll ditched Ruttley Freightlines

Paul Little speaks to ATN on why Toll pulled the plug on its long-term relationship with Ruttley Freightlines

EXCLUSIVE: Why Toll ditched Ruttley Freightlines
<font color=red>EXCLUSIVE</font>: Why Toll ditched Ruttley Freightlines

By Brad Gardner and Ruza Zivkusic | October 28, 2011

Toll pulled the plug on its relationship with Ruttley Freightlines after it lost confidence in the company’s ability to comply with transport law and pay its drivers correctly.

In an exclusive interview with ATN, Toll Managing Director Paul Little details the reasons behind the firm's decision to sever ties with Bob Ruttley's company, which went into administration earlier this month.

Little says Toll gradually reduced its dependency on Ruttley Freightlines over a three to four-month period, with the relationship officially ending around September.

"We did that because we thought that [Bob] Ruttley could no longer provide us with what we needed from a contractor and that went to full compliance, safety and the right undertakings in relation to what he was paying drivers," Little says.

"Ruttley was a big supplier of contracted services into Toll, so it was impossible to turn them off over night, we couldn’t do that. He had hundreds of vehicles working inside Toll."

Little says the decision was also made because it received notice from Ruttley he no longer wanted to continue in the trucking game.

The holding company for Ruttley Freightlines' vehicles, Kalae, was convicted and fined $290,000 earlier this year for 84 overloading offences under chain of responsibility law. It went into administration in July and creditors voted in August to wind it up.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in July this year that drivers working for Ruttley Freightlines were not receiving superannuation payments.

As ATN has reported, the company racked up millions of dollars in debt to the NSW Government, which includes a combination of unpaid taxes and fines.

Former Ruttley driver John Gillespie is chasing unpaid superannuation and wages, while global logistics firm UTI, toll operator CityLink and accountancy firm Financial Management Corporation are also owed money.

Little, who will be replaced on January 1 next year by Brian Kruger, says Toll will continue using a mix of in-house and contracted labour for its long distance transport requirements.

"Where we can get very good utilisation of equipment we will tend to use more company fleet; where we need to cater for some of the peaks and down times in demand, we’ll probably use more contractors," he says.

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