Kings to leverage Walker’s haulage presence

New parent firm sees purchase as part of national service expansion

Kings to leverage Walker’s haulage presence
Kings is accelerating its diversification

While it is early days for Kings Group as owner of Walker’s Transport, the parent company says it is taking a "business as usual" approach to its new acquisition.

Kings announced the takeover of the mid-sized New South Wales firm that has a significant exposure to heavy haulage and construction last week.

"Ideally, you want to maintain the customer base and you want to maintain the staff," Aaron Cole, Group General Manager at Kings, says.

Some of the inviting aspects of the purchase were new services and added flexibility that Kings will gain.

"What’s attractive about Walker’s for us is that we’re really keen to move into the haulage space and expand our offerings to the customer base," Cole says.

"We already do a significant amount of work but all our heavier assets are contracted out.

"What appealed to us about Walker’s was the diversity of their client base.

"Not all their gear is contracted out, so if a customer calls up and they need eight crane trucks or 16 semi-loads to go somewhere, they have the capability to do that."

In return, Walker’s will gain from Kings’ safety and IT systems as well as national exposure, he adds.

Kings launched a South Australian-based haulage arm last June and the new acquisition is seen as bolstering it.

"We’re keen to push that into each state," Cole says.

The purchase of Walker’s, for an undisclosed sum, comes at a time of intense official scrutiny of fleet compliance but Cole is confident that the additions pass muster.

"We are very comfortable with the condition of the fleet," he says.

"However, we certainly need to remain very diligent on that.

"It’s a lot of assets for the business, so we will certainly do what we need to do to make sure the fleet is safe and compliant."

Cole sees a transport firm such as Kings as a barometer for the economy as a whole.

Despite some other firms flagging a possible market resurgence, he is firm about the business challenges that remain for the industry.

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