Original first Freighter Drop Deck EziLiner gets new lease on life
After fifteen years loyal service, the first Freighter Drop Deck EziLiner has received a new lease on life after it was refurbished by MaxiTRANS. Complete with its Peter Brock “King of the Mountain” mural on the curtains, it held centre stage at the Day out for Don car show in Campbelltown, Tasmania, in support of mental health awareness.
Nestled in Tasmania’s Central Highlands, the aptly named Highland Haulage of Mick and Chris Linger rely on old-fashioned values and adopting new technologies to stay ahead.
Mick Linger isn’t one to mince his words. A no-nonsense straight shooter with eyes for the future. Mick has had clear goals in mind for Highland Haulage Pty Ltd, the company he and his wife Chris started over two decades ago. These goals include delivering personalised freight services to all customers, whether it is Mum and Dad who might ship a shoe box once a year, right through to regular clients who consign multiple truckloads each week.
Yet there is one goal Mick holds close to his heart: impeccable equipment maintenance and presentation of his fleet and depots. Regardless of age, Mick is adamant that all his gear must be kept in showroom condition. His meticulous approach to cleanliness and presentation extends through the company’s warehouses, workshops and offices.
Highland Haulage’s head office is located in the historic, picturesque town of Deloraine at the foot of the Great Western Tiers in Tasmania’s central highlands. Highland Haulage has grown from a sole trader, single truck operation that started in the early ’90s to a predominate Tasmanian freight forwarding, shipping and transport operation.
Early on, Mick accepted that growth was inevitable if he wanted to provide superior service to his client base. However, the rapid rate at which expansion occurred was something neither he nor his original business plan could forecast.
Highland Haulage’s impressive fleet of Kenworth and Western Star prime movers and Freighter trailers concentrate on providing general freight and specialised refrigeration services from Tasmania across Bass Straight to all mainland centres. “Our business is not just about trucks. We provide a total transport solution,” Mick said.
Even early in the company’s infancy, Mick was conscious about ensuring his fleet would continually provide efficiency as well as maximum cubic capacity. As a result, he was particularly interested in the Freighter Drop Deck design as it optimised deck lengths to suit standard pallet sizes and maximise load volume. At the same time, he was equally impressed with the EziLiner’s ease of use.
The Freighter EziLiner design replaces the use of multiple buckles and straps with a single high tensile synthetic cable running through a series of arcs along both decks of the trailer. This generates the vertical tension on the trailer curtains, providing significant efficiency gains in respect of time savings per load/unload cycle.
Since its introduction in 2008, the EziLiner has received positive feedback from owners and drivers who say that the simple use of a lever to tighten and loosen the curtain has made it easier to operate and avoid the repetitive nature of opening and closing buckles and straps.
At that time Mick was keen to adopt the new technology to further increase efficiency in load/unload cycles and, just as importantly, further enhance his driver’s satisfaction and enthusiasm. Consequently, he contacted his local Freighter Dealer, MaxiTRANS, with a simple request, “I want my drop deck trailer to have the EziLiner technology built into it.”
Fortunately, Freighter engineers had foreseen this opportunity and were in the final stages of developing a drop deck version of the EziLiner. Whereas a straight deck EziLiner allows for standard parallel mounting points for the EziLiner’s arc cable and tensioning hooks, a drop deck trailer has two horizontal plains that add a bit more engineering challenge to achieve the consistent tension levels required for the curtain.
Freighter engineers overcame this challenge by incorporating two cable guide rollers at the drop point of the trailer that simultaneously ensures the continuity of the cable from the top to the lower deck whilst maintaining the required tension levels.
But after 15 years of loyal service running to all points of mainland Australia, Mick’s EziLiner Drop Deck started showing signs of wear and tear.
“It is too good a trailer to get rid of,” Mick added.
“Around the time I was thinking about refurbishing the trailer, a close friend of mine, Steve Donovan, told me about a car show he was organising to raise awareness for mental health. Sadly, Steve’s son took his own life, and the car show “A Day out for Don” was named in his honour,” Mick informed.
“Steve is a massive Holden and Peter Brock fan, so an idea evolved that I refurbish my old EziLiner Drop Deck as a memento to Steve’s efforts in raising awareness of mental health.”
Mick was adamant that the refurbishment was carried out by a reputable workshop to bring the trailer back into new condition. Consequently, he contacted Freighter trailer manufacturer, MaxiTRANS, to see who they might suggest completing the rebuild.
“The team at MaxiTRANS in Victoria were terrific. They took the time to explain that they offered an in-house refurbishing service,” Mick explained. “I explained to them I intended to use the trailer as a display piece with the Peter Brock mural on the curtains and the deadline for its first public showing at the car show. I also added that I wanted a few extra touches, such as the polished rear door handles.”
MaxiTRANS Service Centres specialise in all kinds of trailer servicing, repairs and restoration work. It is all part MaxiTRANS’ ongoing commitment to servicing the needs of customers, from the time a new trailer is ordered from the Dealership, through to providing support for the life of the product right across Australia.
“Mick was fantastic and easy to deal with. He knew exactly what he wanted to achieve,” said Jason Keddie, MaxiTRANS General Manager Victoria. “He was involved throughout the whole process and got to know our team quite well.”
“We completely overhauled the trailer giving it a new lease on life. The trailer was stripped back, sandblasted, before we gave it a new paint job. New curtains were fitted, air brushing completed and finished off with new LED lighting,” said Jason.
“Along with all kinds of trailer servicing, our team is experienced in full refurbishment including everything from replacing walls, rear frames and floors, that may have been the result of damaged caused from a rollover or burn out.”
“Customers are amazed with what may seem like a right-off, we have the capability to bring it back to life,” added Jason. “Our direct links to manufacturing makes the process much more seamless for our customers.”
“It was great working with Mick on refurbishing his Freighter trailer in time for the Day out for Don show, seeing how happy he is with the end result is what it’s all about,” said Jason.