WA trailer maker set for growth following sale

By: Steve Skinner

Owner of one of the west’s biggest trailer manufacturers sells business to CIMC on a high note

WA trailer maker set for growth following sale
Founding partner of General Transport Equipment, Barry Moon

Barry Moon knows a thing or two about what it takes to build good trailers for one of the toughest operating environments in the world.

Moon, one of three founding partners in Western Australia’s General Transport Equipment, has seen numerous builders from the eastern states come over and have a go in the west. 

But many a time have they under-estimated the loads, the corrugations, the potholes and the bulldust that’s often involved in running trucks on dirt in the outback. 

"Generally the roads are pretty good but obviously towards some of the mine sites they’re pretty rough," says Moon of his vast state. 

"So a lot of the problems in the past have been that very good trailer manufacturers in the eastern states have tried to bring their product here, and due to the fact that they didn’t know much about the conditions or environment, a lot of it has failed. 

"They have improved themselves over the years … but we have probably had an advantage, and not just GTE but other trailer manufacturers in WA." 

Moon and his partners Russell Fletcher and Adrian Page have been together at GTE for 35 years, but earlier this year sold to Chinese trailer giant CIMC for an undisclosed price. 

Moon says he is happy with the deal, and that the way CIMC has handled the transaction is "first class". 

He says one of the partners’ main conditions was that CIMC guarantee there would be no staff losses. 

In fact, he says that from discussions with the new owners, "the staff will increase pretty dramatically over the next 12 months", from the current complement of around 70. 

On top of that, "I’m sure they will be looking for bigger premises within the next two to three years to enhance their product range". The current business already boasts 26,000 square-metres of land, 8,000 square-metres of factory and 5,000 square-metres of servicing operation. 

Moon is staying on at GTE at least until the end of the year to help with the ownership transition. 

He says of his fellow Western Australian trailer builders: "Overall I think we are all pretty happy in WA with the outcome over the past 20 years, 30 years, and especially the last 10 years with the growth in the mining industry." 

There has been a "bit of a lull" for the past six months or so, but recent signs that "things are picking up". 

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