Feb 24 2020

When experienced transport operator, Chris Bourke, plans on purchasing new tanker equipment, he not only contemplates build quality, safety and efficiency, but how committed the manufacturer is towards the backup service. Upon the advice of a close friend, he chose Byford’s bitumen tankers when sourcing a new B-double.

Operating bitumen tankers is a job Chris has proudly done for more than 10 years. Since 2003, he has been managing his own business, Mountain Ridge Haulage, based in Peats Ridge in New South Wales. Currently, he runs a small fleet of two 26-metre B-double tankers and one semi-tanker used to transport bitumen to his clients in regional NSW and parts of Queensland.

In his most recent purchase back in April, Chris added a new Byford B-tanker, and will complete the combination this December when he picks up the A-tanker from their factory. Choosing to purchase from Byford, however, took Chris several months to decide, but after regularly receiving positive feedback from his close friend, Bob Henry of Henry’s Bitumen Haulage – Chris had heard all he needed to.

“In October 2012, Bob bought his own tanker from Byford for his business, followed by a second tanker five months later,” he recalls. “All he kept saying was how much productivity he was getting out the tanker and that he never had to worry about the vehicle having issues because Byford always looked after him. He’s been in the tanker industry as long as I have, and he definitely knows a quality tanker when he sees one.” For Chris, the backup service his mate received from Byford is what ultimately sealed the deal. “He had an issue with the tanker up in Queensland. It was only minor, but enough for him to take the tanker off the road,” he says. “Not only did Byford send someone out to fix it, but they also brought him a loan tanker from their workshop, just so he could continue his run.

“It’s not common for tanker manufacturers in the industry to have loan equipment available, but the fact Byford went out of their way to provide Bob with a temporary solution bringing it across two states just shows how much they value their clients.” While Chris credits much of the Byford choice to his mate, he says the Australian-made factor also played an enormous role in influencing his final decision. “If the equipment is built here, I have peace of mind knowing it has met Australian industry standards, that the equipment also comes with warranties, and if I have issues or require spare parts or service, then the manufacturer is just a phone call away,” he states. “I hear all kinds of negative stories from acquaintances in the industry who had purchased equipment from other tanker manufacturers, but had issues with their aftersales service that ended up causing unwanted downtime. That’s why if I know its Australian-made, I’m willing to pay the cost, even if it’s a little more than others.”

Prior to 2012, Chris knew little about the name Byford and what the company specialised in. This prompted him to make the trip down to visit Byford’s Moama-based factory. Upon his arrival, he was immediately welcomed by Managing Director, Gary Byford, and General Manager, Lindsay Furness. “Before even discussing the tankers, Gary and Lindsay took me for a tour of their facility introducing me to many of their staff members,” he says. “I was really impressed with their operation, their professionalism and of course, how they looked after Bob. Meeting them face-to-face was enough to make the transaction.”

With the transaction and combination now completed, Chris can boast a new stainless steel bitumen tanker that includes a 12-tonne load capacity in the A-tanker, and a 24-tonne payload in the B-tanker. The design is based on Byford’s standard, tested sub frame set up, which is welded onto the chassis, while the tank is built from stainless steel to avoid corrosion.

According to Chris, Byford also modified the tanker to suit his operation. To complete the non-standard system, Byford has installed a three-way valve connected to a special transfer pipe to allow discharge to occur from the front and rear of the B-tanker. In addition, the third part of the valve connects to the A-tanker, allowing its contents to be discharged via the transfer pipe down to the rear of the B-tanker.

“In standard tankers, you would normally pump the contents out from the back of the B-tanker,” he explains. “Byford fitted a three-way valve and a transfer pipe that runs along the side of the tanker, allowing to discharge through both front and rear, which is a requirement on one particular job I have – and I don’t know any other tanker manufacturer that has achieved this. “Instead of recommending otherwise, Byford said they would gladly accommodate my requirements. That’s why I will be speaking to them again in 12 months time when I need another B-double tanker.”