Tri State charts two decades of company progress

By: Mark Gojszyk

From home-office operation to Australia-wide transporter

Tri State charts two decades of company progress
Tri State Transport recently celebrated its 20th birthday


Tri State Transport has marked two decades of business, evolving from a home-office operation to an Australia-wide provider – with no plans of slowing down.  

The WA-headquartered operator, owned by Neville Norkett and Pam Simpson, held a celebration recently and was commended by peak body Western Roads Federation (WRF) for its professionalism and service to the industry.

In its 20 years, Tri State has grown from Simpson’s home office to a business with depots in three states (hence the name), specialising in mining and construction freight alongside general freight whilst also taking a keen interest in industry representation through the WRF.

Read about the work of the WRF Metro Logistics Group, here

"Twenty years ago Neville was looking at buying a business over east and he took me over there with him to look at it from the finance side of things," Simpson recalls.

"He had a number of trucks he was sending over from WA in his other business and they were struggling getting return loads. WA was seen as a back loading State whereas he needed the loads from the East to cover his return costs.

"We went to look at this company but found out it wasn’t really a viable business to buy so we basically said: ‘Why don’t we start one?’"

And that’s how Tri State was born.

"We basically started one over there with one subcontractor and me working out of home and we started to gradually pick up work," Simpson continues.

"It gradually grew from there and we got a NSW depot about a year later and a NSW Manager – Bill Tuddenham – who has been with us 19 years.

"We took the business operations out of my home and got a depot and office in WA.  A number of years later we opened a Melbourne depot and employed more staff.  We purchased more trucks and employed more drivers.

"We’re now headquartered in Canning Vale. The Melbourne depot is in Sunshine and our NSW depot is in Newcastle – with a Depot Manager in each state.

"We have drivers that run across the East Coast, including in excess of 70 subcontractors."


Simpson is grateful to the clients who have stuck by the company – a number of them for the whole two decades.

"We’ve got clients that have been with us the full 20 years.

"Some come and go – others have actually gone elsewhere and come back to us because they realised whilst they may have got cheaper rates elsewhere they weren’t getting the same sort of service that they were getting with us."

The 20 years haven’t all comprised unimpeded growth. As transport can be at the mercy of the industries it services, Tri State has had to adapt to various economic circumstances.

"We had to make a few cutbacks a few years ago when the markets crashed and sadly there were a lot of businesses that went under," Simpson explains.

"We made some changes regarding our infrastructure and the business internally and managed to survive, which is quite an achievement these days in the current climate.

"We’ve got all our staff to thank plus all of our suppliers and clients – especially the loyal ones who have been with us all this time. As I told them all Saturday evening: Without all of them, we wouldn’t be us."

Today, the fleet of trucks and trailers reaches 30. This includes prime movers, road trains, B-doubles, singles, tautliners, tilt trays and extendables.

"For the prime movers, Volvo is our preferred brand," Simpson says.

"We recently upgraded a lot of our vehicles to Volvo. We get really great service from our WA Volvo branch and are very happy with the service they provide us."

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Simpson is also involved with the WRF, helping to advance the interests of Road Transport in WA.

She says as the industry approaches a crucial crossroads with regards to issues such as rapid technological and regulatory transformation, it’s important not to just keep abreast of outcomes that will affect business but to also be at the forefront of positive change.

"I was asked by CEO Cam Dumesny to be part of WRF with three others. We became board members at the commencement to help kick it off the ground. It is now the voice of WA Road Transport Companies with many members throughout WA.

"Members are uniting to take on the big issues facing the Industry and the WA economy."



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