NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 
Cool livery rules

Cool livery rules

NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 July 2019   

Bay of Plenty operator Brett Marsh almost decided to leave the latest flagships on his fleet a plain old, anonymous white, rather than the distinctive pale blue and white livery that the company adopted 12 years ago.

He reckoned that, since the two newcomers are eyecatching traditional-style Kenworth T909s, maybe "plain white would stand out just as much. They looked good white."

And, after all, plain white does carry the same cool, cold connotations as the company colour scheme and logo that Brett and wife Leonie adopted when they made a switch to refrigerated transport in 2007.

Prior to that, they'd been in the business of running bulk liquid tankers…painted in metalflake black.

Marsh reckons that the blue and white colour scheme came about when he effectively handed Marty Cantlon, of Marty's High Performance Signs in Tauranga, a blank canvas – asking him to design him a new logo and new livery that captured the nature of Brett Marsh Transport's new business.


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Bay of Plenty operator Brett Marsh almost decided to leave the latest flagships on his fleet a plain old, anonymous white, rather than the distinctive pale blue and white livery that the company adopted 12 years ago.
He reckoned that, since the two newcomers are eyecatching traditional-style Kenworth T909s, maybe "plain white would stand out just as much. They looked good white."
And, after all, plain white does carry the same cool, cold connotations as the company colour scheme and logo that Brett and wife Leonie adopted when they made a switch to refrigerated transport in 2007.
Prior to that, they'd been in the business of running bulk liquid tankers…painted in metalflake black.
Marsh reckons that the blue and white colour scheme came about when he effectively handed Marty Cantlon, of Marty's High Performance Signs in Tauranga, a blank canvas – asking him to design him a new logo and new livery that captured the nature of Brett Marsh Transport's new business.
Anyway…back to the present, and the new T909s: In the end Brett decided to send the pair of them off to Wrapped Auto Signs at Pyes Pa to have the blue and white livery applied – along, of course, with its intricate dark blue and orange pinstriping and scrollwork and the company logo....which includes an image of Mt Ruapehu and what looks like melting icicles.
He explains the mind-change: "They are the flagships of our fleet, so it seemed appropriate we should do them up."
Do them up, that is, in addition to the treatment the T909s had already been given before they even arrived in New Zealand: They went from the Kenworth factory in Melbourne to Klos Custom Trucks, where chrome exhaust stacks, additional lights, a dropvisor, massive bumper and other shiny stuff was added.
The spectacular end result shows off the Brett Marsh Transport livery to perfection on the unit, driven by Gav Morgie, with a quad-axle refrigerated trailer behind it – running a North Island round trip that takes in Auckland, New Plymouth and Palmerston North.
It's this unit that earns the Marsh fleet the finalist's spot this month in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards, just in time for the 2019 winner to be announced next month.
Appropriately enough, the first to wear the Brett Marsh Transport pale blue and white colour scheme 12 years ago was a 2000 model Kenworth T904 bought secondhand – and still on the fleet.
Such old trucks are a rarity these days, given a change of approach from Brett and Leonie Marsh in terms of their truck buying and truck replacement approach.
For years they pursued a policy of selectively buying secondhand trucks and refurbishing them where necessary – this to avoid the high costs of a large capital outlay, insurance and depreciation on new trucks…even taking into account the higher maintenance costs.
Says Brett Marsh now: "You won't see that any more, I can tell you." It's not only down to looks that the secondhand trucks policy has been dropped – it's also about R&M costs…the expense involved "to keep running them," he says with feeling. 
In the old days they used to keep trucks for up to 10 years – with up to two million kilometres on the odometer. Hand in hand with that approach meant a programme of replacing engines or transmissions when the big distances had been clocked up. While those major costs were budgeted for, it was a drain on the business. Now trucks tend to be turned over every five years.
"We try and keep the running costs in check before anything major occurs," he says. Reliability is improved and the chances of untimely and disruptive breakdowns are reduced. 
Hence the two new T909s are just two of 11 new trucks being added to the fleet this year.
Unfortunately, says Marsh, one hangover of the old secondhand policies stays with them still – in the form of a "1996 ****ing FL Freightliner!" 
The Brett Marsh Transport fleet, which was at 30 trucks until recently, has been cut back a little, to 26. Most of them are employed on refrigerated freight….and most of them are Kenworths. That's been the favoured make for about five years now. As far as Brett can remember, there's also one Freightliner, one MAN and a couple of Western Stars.
Ten years ago he recalls thinking that a couple of dozen trucks was about all that he and Leonie could manage. But, he explains: "With a growing population there is more work out there, particularly in the refrigerated freight area."
Longstanding contracts have grown to service the expanding demand – so the need for more trucks to service that has driven the Marsh fleet's expansion: "We've picked up contracts we never had before," says Brett. Thus some of the trucks are in the colours of Foodstuffs' Pak 'N Save, while others are sub-contracted to Halls Refrigerated Transport to deliver goods to Progressive supermarkets.
But the overwhelming logic for presenting distinctive, good-looking trucks? "It's about retaining good staff at the end of the day. It really is. And it's worked so far."  

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