PPG Imaging Awards

 
something borrowed ...and blue (and white)

something borrowed ...and blue (and white)

PPG Imaging Awards

 April 2021   

Call it fate, good fortune or just plain good luck, but when South Taranaki crane, Hiab and heavy-haulage transporter specialist Agtrans stumbled onto its unusual bright light blue, white-striped livery almost a decade ago, “it just stuck.”

Agtrans director Philip D’Ath explains: “It’s not a particularly awesome story, but when we first started in 2012 we had a Hino transporter that pretty much had that colour, with the two white stripes on it. 

“We (D’Ath and business partner Christian (CJ) Mahony) thought it looked alright, so carried on with it – and now it’s emblazoned across multiple vehicles. 

“Nothing highly technical or creative about it: It was just there, it looked good – so it stayed.”

He jokes that the inspiration for the design was probably “a happy Japanese guy who’s got good taste in colour and design.” 


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Call it fate, good fortune or just plain good luck, but when South Taranaki crane, Hiab and heavy-haulage transporter specialist Agtrans stumbled onto its unusual bright light blue, white-striped livery almost a decade ago, “it just stuck.”

Agtrans director Philip D’Ath explains: “It’s not a particularly awesome story, but when we first started in 2012 we had a Hino transporter that pretty much had that colour, with the two white stripes on it. 

“We (D’Ath and business partner Christian (CJ) Mahony) thought it looked alright, so carried on with it – and now it’s emblazoned across multiple vehicles. 

“Nothing highly technical or creative about it: It was just there, it looked good – so it stayed.”

He jokes that the inspiration for the design was probably “a happy Japanese guy who’s got good taste in colour and design.” 

And although (or maybe because) pale blue is not a commonly used colour in trucking, D’Ath says that the bright livery has proven very good for the Hawera-based company’s image: The pale blue stands out – so “you pretty much know when it’s one of our units around.

“We started in 2012 with just two of us and two trucks. We now have a staff of 22, 16 trucks, five cranes and countless support vehicles and it’s certainly been consistent growth since we started.

“And we’ve not really done any form of advertising or promotion or anything – other than trying to do a good job, showing up when we say we’re going to….

“And we have a reasonable-looking fleet that’s noticeable, so I think it’s been really effective.”

As it turns out, the Agtrans business itself began just as serendipitously as its livery. Nigh-on a decade ago D’Ath rented a bulldozer off CJ and they became friends. They were both looking for something else to do, “so we hatched an idea to have a crack at this – and that’s how it happened. 

“Sometimes stuff just falls into place and happens and I think this is just one of those occasions.”

Agtrans’ business is based on Taranaki’s oil, gas and dairying industries: “We generally service the Taranaki region, but we’ve probably got a few different facets to what we do and some of them involve us covering the lower North Island. 

“We work for the likes of Transpower and Chorus, doing crane work for cellphone towers in remote and hard-to-access sites. And that crane work drives the transport fleet, because if you’re lifting something you have to cart things to it.”

D’Ath says that they now have about a dozen trucks that are in the blue and white colours, with another one about to go into the paint shop. 

Agtrans does most of the painting inhouse – when trucks don’t come from the factory already painted in its bright blue.

“We’ve got our own painter and spray booth, but we’ve got a new build that was assembled and painted in our colours by Mercedes in Germany that we’re awaiting. And we’ve got a 160-tonne crane that was also painted in Germany by Liebherr.”

The signwriting has been done from the outset by Zodiac Signs in Hawera. And, in similar vein, the actual design of the livery hasn’t changed since they began either.

“We haven’t really tinkered with the design since the start. We just wanted it to be simple and sharp. 

“But we have changed it a little on our pilot vehicles: Rather than running the stripes down the side, we run them up over the top like General Lee on the Dukes of Hazzard.”

He says that the reason for this is to be bold enough to grab the public’s attention “and get them to look up from their phones! So we thought the brighter and the bolder the better. It took us about five times, experimenting with different styles, thinner lines or various widths – but this really works.”

As a side note, to really get people’s attention, D’Ath reckons that he’ll have General Lee air horns fitted to the pilot vehicles should they ever become legal!

Most of the trucks on the fleet are Mercedes-Benz, “but we have a couple of Ivecos…one Hino and a couple of small Mitsis.”

D’Ath says that the Agtrans vehicles’ colour scheme garners a lot of public feedback, “particularly when they’ve been cleaned. Obviously that’s a battle when you run a fleet that works on construction sites and in a rather dirty environment. Keeping them looking sharp is a challenge at certain times of the year – but we do get good feedback. 

“I get a number of people say ‘wow, how many trucks have you got? I see them on the road all the time.’ People are sure we’ve got more trucks than we actually have.”  

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NZ Transport Imaging Awards Apr 2021
NZ Transport Imaging Awards Apr 2021
NZ Transport Imaging Awards Apr 2021
NZ Transport Imaging Awards Apr 2021
NZ Transport Imaging Awards Apr 2021

 


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