PPG Imaging Awards

 
Simply striking striping

Simply striking striping

PPG Imaging Awards

 October 2019   

Fleet colour schemes often derive from a design chosen originally for its visual impact, and subsequently modified in an evolutionary fashion. 

Less frequently, the choice of colours and layout is dictated more by the company's business history – as is the case with Mainfreight-owned Chemcouriers, this month's finalist in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards.

A Mainfreight spokesperson explains how it began: "Chemcouriers was originally a joint venture between five chemical industry clients of Daily Freightways and Daily Freightways itself, set up in the late 1980s to establish a dedicated route service for dangerous goods. 

"At the time, several incidents had dented the DG industry's reputation and the desire of the consortium was to put the cartage of their goods on a safer and more professional basis. 


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Fleet colour schemes often derive from a design chosen originally for its visual impact, and subsequently modified in an evolutionary fashion. 
Less frequently, the choice of colours and layout is dictated more by the company's business history – as is the case with Mainfreight-owned Chemcouriers, this month's finalist in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards.
A Mainfreight spokesperson explains how it began: "Chemcouriers was originally a joint venture between five chemical industry clients of Daily Freightways and Daily Freightways itself, set up in the late 1980s to establish a dedicated route service for dangerous goods. 
"At the time, several incidents had dented the DG industry's reputation and the desire of the consortium was to put the cartage of their goods on a safer and more professional basis. 
"Over time, the business developed and attracted new customers, though it was still running as a loss-making venture. The founding group were reluctant to continue subsidising what in part had become the cartage of their competitors' goods as well, so Daily Freightways took it over completely and ran it as a specialised division.
"The big game-changer came in 1994 when Mainfreight purchased Daily Freightways and realised the potential that lay in Chemcouriers being run as a standalone part of the Mainfreight Group. 
"The existing route-based model was scrapped in favour of setting it up more as a specialised hub and spoke model, with its own linehaul and depot-handling systems. Subsequently Chemcouriers has grown to be a leading player in the handling of hazardous goods in the local environment, which is demanding by world standards – both in terms of our roading network geography and our safety regulations. This expertise has led to a recent successful launch of the brand in Australia."     
A key element of the post-purchase reorganisation was a rebranding of Chemcouriers, whose vehicles had previously used a yellow and black colour scheme. 
Under the remake, Chemcouriers took on a blend of the red of Daily Freight (the renamed Daily Freightways) and Mainfreight blue. This was by way of angled broad stripes of the two colours behind the trucks' cabs. The name was picked out simply, in capitals, in a slightly lighter red – running horizontally across the cab doors – all on a white background. 
This was repeated much larger on the trailer sides, with the slogan "specialists in hazardous goods distribution" underneath.
In an age when several fleets are returning to the past with elaborate scrollwork and striping, the simplicity of the Chemcouriers livery (virtually unchanged for the more than 20 years since) might seem stark when described thus…but it has an off-the-scale recognition factor, a fundamental attribute for a successful colour scheme.
There's another reason as well for keeping it simple: In common with parent Mainfreight, Chemcouriers trucks are operated by owner-drivers, and in the interests of consistent branding, comparatively tight specifications are laid down for the paint jobs. 
However, the operators are given a little latitude in the area of murals on aerofoils, and this concession has been enthusiastically accepted by Nigel and Fiona Mouat, who own the Manukau-based Haz Haulage fleet, which has four Scanias working for Chemcouriers and another for Mainfreight. 
The Mouats own and love rottweilers, and for several years have featured images of the dogs on the cab roof aerofoils on their trucks. The latest addition to the fleet and this month's poster truck, an S620, carries a picture of three of the canines above the cab, the dogs exuding uber-cool, with their mirror shades and neck chains. 
The mural on the truck (which is appropriately nicknamed "Three Dog") is hand painted – the work of Howick airbrush wizard Ron van Dam. The other Haz Haulage Scanias carry, variously, one, two and four-dog murals on their aerofoils – all from van Dam.
Fiona Mouat admits that the artwork is close to the allowable limits of Mainfreight's specifications: "We have to get it signed off by our branch manager, and it is fully approved – but we probably couldn't go much further." 
However, after conversations with Mainfreight and Chemcouriers' execs, NZ Truck & Driver gets the impression that they're proud of the style and professionalism of the Mouats' trucks.
This professionalism has been taken to another level by the signwriting, carried out by Mitch Keys of Auckland's Electric Creative. Instead of individual signwriting elements, the company uses a single-layer vinyl wrap. 
As Fiona Mouat points out, it not only looks beautifully uniform in service, but is easy to remove when a truck's being retired from the fleet.
The flashest paint job in the world will still cop inevitable scrapes and bumps. When that happens, the work is entrusted to Peter Maxwell at Auckland Truck Spray.
The finishing touch on the new Haz Haulage Scania is blue concealed lighting under the aerofoil, behind the grille and under the doors.  

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