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How O’Phee Trailers helped boost sugar haulage with dog side-tipping trailers

In 2012, David Zarb of Zarb Road Transport (ZRT) was keen to maximise his payload from his tipper fleet. But when he approached O’Phee Trailers, he didn’t expect to come away with five impressive new Hamelex White rigid and six-axel dog side tipping combinations.

David Zarb has built up a strong reputation for being a specialist in sugar carting across North Queensland. Sugar is one of Australia’s most vital rural sectors and is worth an estimated $1.75 billion. Queensland has a monopoly on Australia’s sugar production, producing 95%, 85% of which is sold on the global market.

Zarb’s acumen and expertise in the sugar industry meant he wanted to prepare for an increase in demand and was keen to future-proof his business. That’s why he approached O’Phee Trailers, now part of Drake Group, to expand and upgrade his fleet.

Speaking in 2012, Zarb said, “We recently saw an increase in transport volume that made us feel it was important to upgrade to a new kind of vehicle that would be easy to handle and could cart more freight at once, while still being able to deal with the rough highways in the area.”

“O’Phee have served us well over the years and provided transport equipment that proved to be reliable and robust, even up here in the far north. Hence, we also trusted in their advice to find the best solution for achieving a higher payload without compromising on strength or flexibility.”

Since O’Phee Trailers has always valued its role as continually developing innovative semi trailers for the transport industry over just making business deals, they knew they were the ones to help ZRT tackle one of their biggest challenges.

Transporting sugar from the depots to the ports, ZRT would often experience a range of obstacles, including winding roads and urban roundabouts. Zarb said, “When you’re carrying as much as 36 tonnes over a 19-metre B-double set, that’s a fair bit of pressure working on chassis, axles, suspension system and brakes, often all at once.”

O’Phee’s solution? The six-axle dog side tipping trailer.

The Hamelex White-manufactured rigid and six-axle dog side tipping combination incorporated a lightweight aluminium body sited on a Meritor axle and suspension package. The trailers were supported with Mack’s Trident rigid and featured an EBS and board weighing system and the six-axle bodies. This unique design meant steering could be made easier to reduce the chance of accidents. Compared to their previous fleet, the new trailers boosted payload of 43 tonnes per trip and therefore ZRT’s productivity and revenue.

Drake Group, which acquired O’Phee Trailers in 2015, also comprises Drake Trailers and Drake Collectibles. The group champions revolutionary engineering and exceptional quality, utilising innovative technology and raw Australian materials. That’s why we’re especially proud that O’Phee Trailers has played such an integral role in streamlining and boosting Australia’s sugar trade, helping the major players in this industry to grow.

dog side-tipping trailers

dog side-tipping trailers


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