B-doubling up on freight for regional Australia

When we think about agricultural product and regional Australia, we think of farms. But that product has to get to its end market somehow.

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That’s where companies like GTS Group come into play. Based in the northwest Victorian city of Mildura, this family-run business helps store and transport Australia’s food supply - at an enormous scale.

“Once you start scratching the surface, you'll find more and more quality companies in the regional areas.” – Joshua Broad

Founded in 1980 by current Managing Director Damien Matthews’ father, GTS Group had humble origins with just six trucks and 10 flat-top trailers. Since then the business has grown dramatically to a fleet of 440 trailers and 120 full-time prime movers.

Damien, who joined the business in 1980, says GTS originally grew off the wine and beverage industry in the Sunraysia region.

“In the last 10 years, we've experience a lot of growth in the supermarket supply chain,” he explained during my trip to Mildura in early July. “We now cover just about everything you see in your pantry. We're working with the big companies like Woolworths and Coles so it's getting broader what we carry on the trucks.”

Although the Sunraysia region, where Mildura is located, only makes up around 10 per cent of GTS Group’s volume, with 90 per cent spread across capital cities, the group have decided their head office will remain in regional city.

“It's a great place geographically to have a transport logistics hub for compliance and safety, changeover of drivers, maintenance and washing,” Matthews says.

Quality management

ANZ Senior Relationship Manager Joshua Broad, who looks after the GTS Group account for us, says it’s no surprise that top companies like GTS want to be based in regional Australia.

“Once you start scratching the surface, you'll find more and more quality companies in the regional areas,” he explains.

Joshua says the road freight transport industry is very competitive and capital intensive with a demanding customer base. That makes it important for us to fully understand the business and its market.

I agree completely with Joshua when he says“what we look for when we're banking a business like GTS is the quality of the management group because they will get you through the good times and bad”.

Reducing incidents, impact

Rigorous attention to health and safety is critical for any business and particularly so for one like GTS whose clients are large with very public reputations to protect. Damien explains safety is one of the key focuses across the business and a new team has been stood up to solely review compliance at GTS but also the safety of their own customers.

“We're proud of our safety record [particularly given] we travel about 3.3 million kilometres per month [and] have minimal incidents,” he says. “It's because of the way we induct and train [our team] and our culture. It's first thing on everyone's mind in the business to make sure we try prevent any incidents.”

Customers like GTS Group are very progressive in thinking about not just health and safety but increasingly sustainability - how it's impacting their businesses and how better outcomes can improve their businesses overall for their stakeholders.

Damien says GTS is focused on reducing their impact on climate change and recently had their carbon footprint mapped to find ways to reduce their output.

“Around 98 per cent of our carbon footprint came from diesel usage so all our new trucks use the latest emissions with less soot. But we're certainly contributing to bringing our footprint down and one day we'll be able to go carbon neutral.”

Shayne Elliott is CEO of ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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