One of Australia’s most forward looking and intelligent fleets, Simon National Carriers, once a rusted on, died in the wool Volvo fleet has decided to ad some of the other Swedish trucks to its fleet, purchasing six new Scania R 560s.

Four of the Scanias will be for use as B-double operations on the busy Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane route rated at 64-tonne GCM. While the remaining two will take on the Brisbane to Darwin and North Queensland routes configured as triple road trains, pulling up to 96-tonnes.

The news marks a significant fleet acquisition for the highly regarded national operator that puts safety first in all its activities. Simon National Carriers is renowned for its 90-km/h speed limit, which promotes improved road safety and fuel efficiency.

The news of the Scania acquisition comes as long time Simon CEO, David Simon has  has stepped up to the company’s executive chairman’s post as Clive Barrett settles in as the company’s new CEO.

Barrett, a long tine Linfox executive, aims to see the company into its next phase of growth and development, which will include an expansion in its range of services.

“Whilst I will continue to be active in various aspects of the business, the day to day management of the business will from now on be handled by our new CEO,” David Simon says.

“My time as CEO has been extremely rewarding and I have thoroughly enjoyed the interaction I have had with our valued customers who have grown with us over our 50 year history.

Meantime the new Scania trucks on the Simon fleet have been supplied with a four-year Maintenance and Repair programme to ensure superior levels of uptime.

“We have long desired to supply Simon National Carriers with our product and for the past four years they have had one of our R 500 V8 prime movers on the fleet,” says Dean Dal Santo, National Sales Manager for Scania Australia.

“That R 500 was an excellent ambassador for Scania, as it performed impeccably in terms of reliability and fuel use, and also impressed with its inherent quality.

“The success of this vehicle from an operating cost perspective paved the way for us to supply more vehicles to Simon National Carriers when they came to market for more high horsepower prime movers.

“Our total cost of ownership certainly made the difference in the consideration of which vehicles to purchase,” Dean says.

“When we demonstrated our costs over the four year contract maintenance period, the operator was very impressed. They undertook a very thorough and methodical review of all the elements involved in the total cost of ownership and came away with the firm belief that the Scania was the best option.

“In addition, these new vehicles are fitted with our state-of-the-art safety systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Electronic Stability Control. These will work in concert with the operator’s commitment to improving road safety for all road users,” Dean says.

Shaun Moloney, Simon National Carriers’ National Line-Haul Manager, said that the company had been committed to purchasing European trucks for many years.

“We have had a Scania on the fleet for the past four years and it proved to be a superior product. Even after 800,000 km it didn’t squeak or rattle,” Shaun says.

“With the new trucks we have tweaked the final drive ratio slightly, to 3.07:1 and the fuel consumption so far has been impressive. As a triple road train, the R 560 has been recording 1.48 km per litre pulling on average 90-tonnes on the Darwin run, and as a B-double in line-haul guise we are getting 2.1 – 2.6 km/litre at around 52-tonnes.

“However, we have been impressed with the Maintenance and Repair Contract Scania has structured for us for this deal. The R 500 proved to be very cost-effective to run and this gives us confidence going forward.

“As a result we will be getting the best of both worlds,” Shaun says. “Great quality and improved running costs.”

The Scanias supplied to Simon National Carriers feature premium interiors with leather upholstery on the seats and a metro (low-line) bullbar on the line-haul trucks. The road trains destined for North Queensland and the Northern Territory gain a larger bar and an Icepack cabin cooler.

Early driver assessment of the new Scanias has been encouraging.

“The Simon National Carriers’ drivers have already told us they admire the Scania’s drivability and stability on the road,” says Dean Dal Santo. “They are able to make the most of the low rev, high torque engine, the fully automated Scania Opticruise gear-changing and Scania Retarder, which allows for a very relaxed journey, and they are enjoying the cabin ambience.

“Currently, we are delivering our unique Peak Efficiency Programme to their drivers, through our Scania Master Driver Trainers. This programme familiarises them with the most efficient way of driving the trucks. After this is completed we will be able to analyse the vehicles’ performance using the Scania Optimise fleet monitoring system to ensure they are delivering the results the operator has been promised,” he says.

“Our aim is to ensure that Scania delivers Simon National Carriers a totally positive ownership experience,” Dean says.