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Feature Article

Fuso HD FS3147 Tractor - Hilton Haulage

Steve Scott, general manager of Canterbury's Hilton Haulage, discusses the custom-built FS3147 Tractor units at work in the company's 135-strong fleet.

Steve Scott, Hilton Haulage fleet general manager:

Hilton Haulage was established back in the mid-sixties. Its current owners took over the business in 1994 and, then in 2016, entered into a partnership with Ngai Tahu.

Back in 1994, we had 20 staff and a handful of trucks – today we have 165 trucks and 320 staff.

I’ve had 30 years in transport. Started off as a mechanic for Mitsubishi, spent 20 years with Toll in varying roles around the South Island – from branch managers through to area managers – and the last four years with Hilton Haulage.

Our truck fleet’s based predominantly in Timaru and Christchurch, so servicing the greater Canterbury region. Our core business focus is dairy; along with agriculture, and we have a reasonably large curtain side fleet, crane fleet along with a container fleet as well.

We made the decision to look at these units based on needing to replace some current eight-wheeler tractor units.

Tare weight was always going to be an important part of that decision, and when this unit was built – it definitely met the mark. Being involved in the build did give us some confidence of how the unit was going to turn out.

From day one, we had a daily input between Prestige Commercial Vehicles and Transworx – who put the unit together. Some of the requirements around those specs were obviously light tare weight, turning circles, Euro 5, ease of access into the cab and technology – safety for the driver as well.

Murray Bysterveld, Hilton Haulage driver: 

Murray Bysterveld and I’m a skelly driver. Probably been doing containers for the last fifteen years. I think they’re good compared to a lot of other trucks I’ve driven. The layout is excellent, the comfort – that’s excellent – you don’t struggle getting in it.

All the handles are in the appropriate places, I like the mirrors on it. Being adjustable mirrors, like when you’re driving or when you’re backing into a tight spot, you can adjust your mirror to see where your trailer is.

The turning circle is really, really, good for an eight-wheeler. You’ve got a 30-tonne box on and the suspension is so good; you hit a rut in the road, it doesn’t go in and out like most trucks – it’s just straight over it.

Steve Scott, Hilton Haulage fleet general manager:

These 8x4 tractor units tare in between nine-tonne, 40kg and 9.2T. Different variations on the tractor unit with different types of turntables – so we have from low-height fixed to full-height sliding turntables.

All three units are pulling quad skellies, variety of makes, but quad skellies around the greater Christchurch area. The GVM’s running at 55 tonne, so that allows us to comfortably work in the 48-tonne HPMV market – giving us a payload of around 33 plus tonne.

On a monthly basis, these units are running anywhere between 7,000 and 10,000km this time of year, so on average, we’ll probably be looking at 90,000km per annum.

Fuel economy started off at 1.9km/L, currently that’s improving. We’re now well over 2km/L and results are looking really good.

What’s impressed me most about the FUSO range to date is that – obviously we’ve got a reasonably large fleet of them with 39 – they’ve been pretty bullet-proof for us in the past. The engine spec on this particular truck is right up there with the rest of our fleet, so reliability is probably the most impressive part.

Murray Bysterveld, Hilton Haulage driver: 

You get out of it at the end of the day, you feel so relaxed. You get an American truck, you’re so tired, you’re drained, but with this – it’s like driving a car.