Industry Operators, Transport Features

Killen Trucking finds success with Mack

New South Wales based transport company Killen Trucking has found plenty to admire in its new Mack Anthem trucks.

Specialists in transporting meat by-products Killen Trucking recently celebrated the delivery of three Mack Anthems, bringing its total fleet to 40 trucks.

Killen’s work ranges from Adelaide to Melbourne and up to Sydney, supplying the materials for pet food and fertilizers.

Chosen to haul refrigerated single and B-Double trailers from Bendigo to Sydney, Mack says the Anthems are the ideal fit for Killen’s length and fuel economy requirements.

“We have to fit into 26 metres and with the refrigeration unit, the Super-Liner is just a bit too long. VGA proposed a cab-over, but I wanted a bonneted truck, so we gave the Anthems a go and we’re very happy with them,” owner Jay Killen says.

The Anthems join a mixed fleet that also features four Mack Super-Liners and a Trident.

“Andrew Thompson, the local CMV dealer, came over a few years ago to demo a Super-Liner for us. It was a super-heavy rig set up for road trains, but I got in it and had a go, and when they looked at the telematics I’d got an all-time high score for fuel economy of 98.99 per cent,” Killen says.

“When we saw those fuel figures we bought our first Super-Liner and then three more in quick succession.”

This fuel-efficiency was reinforced on a recent road trip Killen took with Thompson.

“On the highway we passed one of our Anthem B-Doubles heading for Sydney. I wondered aloud what its fuel economy was like, so Andrew looked it up right there on his phone, and that truck was getting 2.73 kilometres to the litre. That’s phenomenal,” Killen says.  

There’s more to running a transport company than fuel though. Mack’s reputation for reliability has also been borne out by Killen’s experience with his Trident.

“The Trident we’ve got has done half a million clicks going to Adelaide two or three times a week and we’ve never even put a spanner on it. It’s a dream truck, the driver basically lives in it, and the bones on the Anthem are the same,” he says.

Killen’s drivers are enjoying the ease of driving the Anthem with the mDRIVE automated manual gearbox.

“Our younger drivers haven’t been brought up on a Road Ranger manual transmission, so they find the automatic far easier. Really, it’s like driving a car and pulling that off in a heavy vehicle is quite an achievement,” he says.

“At first I wondered whether the Anthem’s 535hp engine would have enough pulling power, but Mack have got it fine-tuned with the mDRIVE and it works beautifully.”

Vice President of Mack Trucks Australia Tom Chapman says the Mack Anthem was far exceeding expectations across a range of industries, particularly for businesses focussed on improving fuel and running costs.

“Since its launch in 2021, there’s been no shortage of fantastic feedback on the Anthem. Driveability, comfort and fuel-efficiency are the consistent stand outs, making it a favourable choice in the B-double and general freight application,” Chapman says.

“The Anthem delivers a new era of technological advancement, combined with the inherent durability our trucks are renowned for. We’re thrilled to see it delivering value to our customers.”

From humble beginnings in 1979 when Killen’s father started out with a single small International, Killen has taken the business on a steady expansion. This included moving the whole operation from Victoria into New South Wales when their main client, Mars, relocated their factory in 2015.

“We do probably 70 to 80 per cent of our work with Mars and the week after we moved up there, the bloke who was running the local transport operation shut down, so we took over the lot,” Killen says.

“We had to scale up pretty quickly and recruit drivers locally and we went from seven trucks to fourteen in a month.”

The Macks have ticked all of Killen’s boxes and there may be more of them on the horizon. With the recent collapse of some competitors in the refrigerated space, he sees plenty of opportunities and has just ordered a fourth Anthem to handle the run to Melbourne.

“This business is very dynamic and there’s no shortage of opportunities out there,” he says.

“My dad always used to say ‘You’re on wheels son, you can go anywhere,’ and that’s a motto I’ve taken to heart.”

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