From cattle to gas, WRSC keeps on going

Trucking firm forced to drastically change its operations is still going strong more than 20 years after the move

From cattle to gas, WRSC keeps on going
From cattle to gas, WRSC keeps on going
By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | July 17, 2013

A Northern Territory transport company forced to drastically change its business model is still going strong more than 20 years after the move.

Wildman River Stock Contractors (WRSC) had to stop carting cattle due to a tuberculosis outbreak in the 1980s. The company used to muster up to 11,000 wild animals per year but was forced to sell 70 percent of its equipment due to the outbreak.

It ventured into heavy machinery, oil and gas and now counts about 100 customers on its books.

WRSC owner Michael Swart says his business changed overnight but he managed to keep most of his truck drivers.

"Our income went way down instantly," Swart says.

"We only had one road train driver and a mechanic who was also a road train driver. The rest of them were buffalo catchers and truck driving was part of their job."

Swart, who runs the business with brother Jeffrey, says operating in the Territory is hard because crumbling roads increase maintenance cost to vehicles.
He is so used to fixing potholes and patching up roads that annually he sets aside money for such projects.

"We often can’t deliver something because the roads are wet. We then go and fix them ourselves on our expense or the customer’s expense even if it’s a government’s asset," Swart says.

He says the Stuart Highway is getting worse.

"Every year you’d go to Katherine and think the road is stuffed but now it’s beyond Katherine," Swart says.

Read the full story on Wildman River Stock Contractors in the September issue of ATN.
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