Wakefield Transport closes in on 100 years

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

Victorian intermodal operator will soon celebrate its 100th year anniversary, which not long ago seemed unimaginable.

Wakefield Transport closes in on 100 years
Learning experience: Ken Wakefield says he learnt valuable lessons from Wakefield Transport's time in administration.



Victorian-based intermodal operator Wakefield Transport has shaken off turbulent times that pushed it into voluntary administration and is now going form strength to strength.

The Merbein company in Sunraysia is only three years from celebrating its 100th year anniversary, which not long ago seemed unimaginable.

Wakefield went into voluntary administration in 2008 amid accusations Victoria’s failing rail network had contributed to its financial dilemmas.

Some 57 per cent of its shares were purchased by three Seaway directors a year later.

Responsible for the warehousing and transportation of regional produce in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, Wakefield also handles containers, maintains and uses specialist transport equipment and provides storage facilities.

Last year’s installation of a rapid-chill facility at its premises was made possible thanks to its long-standing relationship with Mildura Fruit Company (MFC), which is one of its top three customers and has stood by Wakefield even during its struggles.

MFC’s loyalty has helped the company keep its head above the water, Wakefield managing director Ken Wakefield says.

"If they had left when we went into voluntary administration it would have been the end of Wakefield," he says.

Wakefield says he learnt a number of valuable lessons from the problems the company faced in 2008.

"The key things I learnt was to observe cash flow – that’s very important," he says.

"And being able to put contracts in place with customers to be able to buy assets as opposed to buying assets on a whim.

"If your customer has a requirement one day you need to find a way to fill that – you need to leverage the industry to be able to support you."

Read the full story in the August edition of ATN. Click here to secure your copy.

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