Challenges of east-west running

By: Steve Skinner

Willaton Transport has grown to meet its Latrobe Valley customers’ needs and spread nationally

Challenges of east-west running
Willaton runs about 60 trucks and 130 trailers


Willaton Transport is a long established family company based at Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

The company runs about 60 trucks – mostly Kenworths and Volvos – and 130 trailers.

Several B-doubles operate between Victoria and Western Australia. 

Carting charcoal fines by-product from a silicon metal plant near Bunbury, WA, to a briquette manufacturer in Morwell, is not a back load for Willaton’s – it's the main load. Freight from Victoria to the west is the back load.

"We’re different. We go over there because we cart back out," says Bernie Willaton, who runs the company with his father Brian. "We’re servicing a customer from this end."

It’s an example of how Willaton’s travels all over Australia, but only as dictated by its broad customer base in the Latrobe Valley/Gippsland area. Big clients include APM paper, AKZ (steel) and the Manildra group. A lot of smaller customers might be good for two or three interstate loads a week.

"We've always worked basically for the local area and that's how it's grown," says Willaton. "You might see our trucks in Western Australia, you might see them in Queensland, but it's all generated from the Latrobe Valley/Gippsland.

"We started off in general and we have got tippers now, we have got tankers, we've got side loaders … we have had to have a collection of gear all through customers. Now with your local customers doing more imports, you’re even coming into containers.

"By the Latrobe Valley slowing down in different ways and by the demise of a lot of industry around here, it means we have to go further afield to either find further markets for Latrobe Valley people shipping out of here, or we actually have to bring goods into the area; whereas years ago the Latrobe Valley was more self-sufficient.

"It's national now … not too many people can stick in one area or at one place. You need to have tentacles all over the place nowadays."

Check out more about Willaton Transport in the July issue of ATN.

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