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Fueling an Island

Burnie based Caltas is recognised as being one of the largest and most professional Caltex Distributorships throughout Australia and their success story is based on good old fashion service combined with the proven reliability of their DAF and Kenworth trucks.

The company is wholly Tasmanian owned and is the largest independent fuel distributor within the State, supplying a varied range of Caltex products including refined oils and lubricants throughout Northern Tasmania.

Caltas is part of the Bonney Group, who employ 140 people throughout Tasmania and Victoria. The Group was founded by Byron Bonney in 1977 with just nine people, who started out in the Tasmanian woodchip milling business at Long Reach on the eastern side of the Tamar River.

The Caltas reputation is built around customer retention through providing excellence in customer service, competitive pricing and support maintenance services.

Caltas distributes over 220 million litres annually, a task operations manager, Roger Scott, takes immense pride in overseeing.

“Here at Caltas we are really focused on both quality and safety and for that reason we’ve gone down the track of investing in reputable trucks like DAF, Kenworth and tankers like Tieman, all fitted with GPS, ABS and EBS, and we certainly don’t scrimp on the running gear technology because all of our latest trailers are on the BPW high stability axles and air suspension systems. We also take into account any suggestion our drivers may have, after all, they are the ones behind the wheel every day,” Roger said.

“We deliver to over 50 service stations and 21 self-serve outlets, as well as having a wide range of customers in the forestry, transport, farming, fishing and mining industries and a variety of other businesses throughout Northern Tasmania,” Roger explained.

“Having started with Caltas as a driver some 15 years ago and now holding the position of operations manager, I have developed a real affinity with the company, one that nowadays includes the responsibility of managing the entire Caltas fleet,” Roger continued.

Apart from looking after the basic day-to-day operations, which includes the supervision of scheduling the double shifting arrangements, Roger has a big say in both the preventative maintenance programs and the specification of the vehicles.

Their latest DAF XF105 has been in the fleet for a few months now is more than living up to the high expectations placed on it.

“Firstly the drivers love it and that’s important,” Roger revealed. “There is no question that the vision is outstanding with the deep windscreen and an integrated aerodynamic sun-visor keeps the glare down. Each of the four large, electrically adjustable and heated mirrors provides a wide field of vision essential for safe driving and those tight tricky delivery spots.”

“You have to realize that here in Tasmania most service stations were built when fuel was delivered in 44-gallon drums on a five ton truck, not much bigger than today’s Landcrusier utes,” Roger added. “So you can image how tight some of them are to get into and that’s where the vision and maneuverability of the DAF is so important.”

“I like how the smart, wrap-around dashboard places all controls at a driver’s fingertips, with cruise control and auxiliary brake controls all accessible without taking their hands from the wheel,” Roger explained.

The 2500Nm flat torque band of the 12.9 litre PACCAR MX engine from 1000 rpm through 1410rpm is something Roger cites as a contributing factor to the XF105’s excellent fuel economy.

Another feature Roger noted is the savings from the longer service intervals, thanks to the clever engine design combined with a centrifugal filter and use of synthetic oil.

Getting the power through to the ground is task given to the 16-speed ZF AS-Tronic gearbox that is an automated constant-mesh gearbox. It features 16 forward speeds and two reverse ratios. It is suitable for gross train weights up to 70T.

With DAF’s AS-Tronic gearbox, shifting and clutching are electropneumatic - there is no clutch pedal. Normal mode is automated with manual mode available and shifting is via a fingertip lever. It can be driven with the PTO engaged only in second and fourth gears. The ‘M’ setting is for precise low-speed maneuvering in forward & reverse.

The XF105 runs Meritor rear axles with a 3.9 ratio for low average engine speeds and excellent fuel efficiency. The rear axles also boast driver controlled cross locks.

This DAF is also fitted with a Gardner Denver Hydrapak hydraulic
system. The Hydrapak incorporates all the necessary components of a properly designed hydraulic
system into one pre-assembled unit. It includes a small oil reservoir for maximum space and weight savings. There is also a high efficiency, heavy-duty oil cooler, designed to withstand vibration, road shock, and torsional and thermal stress for maximum reliability. The unit is made of stainless steel and includes a return line filter, hydraulically driven fan, and system relief valve. 


Their 45,000-litre tri-axle Tieman fuel tanker boasts some high-tech features as well, including a revolutionary pumping package and the inclusion of the BPW Trailer Electronic Braking System, which offers the Roll Stability Program.

“We’re currently specifying our new trailers now with the EBS and BPW high stability axles and brake technology which I believe has contributed greatly to the elimination of both avoidable accidents and roll-overs over the past five years, Roger explained. “I’d recommend them to any operator who has any high center of gravity or dynamic moving load issues, like the fuel in our tankers, that they investigate the BPW Roll Stability Program, he added.

Other safety features include Tieman’s “industry widest” top walkway, the latest in high visibility reflective tape on the sides and around the rear parameter of the tanker. Also the nozzles are located at shoulder height,
eliminating back bending and the hose reels are positioned away from road grime and potential stone damage.

“Having the right safety programs, employee training and transport equipment in place, allows us all to sleep well at night knowing our drivers have been given all the opportunities to stay safer on the roads,” Roger said.

With safety at the forefront of the company’s on road activities, Roger’s next biggest issue is having the entire fleet in top working order so he and the company drivers can get on with their job, uninterrupted.

“Keeping the fleet well oiled puts smiles on our driver’s faces, lifts productivity and presents a good outlook for our varied clientele,” he revealed. “That’s why we get all our equipment regularly serviced by local PACCAR dealer CJD Equipment in Launceston.”

“In addition, the unit is durable enough to endure the harsh Tasmanian environment, and reliable so it doesn’t let us down on those windy country roads out there,” he adds.

With all the industry accreditation in place, including Truck Safe and Mass Management, the development of load efficiency and compliance processes, transport equipment that’s built to handle some of the country’s toughest to negotiate roadways and a fleet of trucks and tankers that ‘gleam’ no matter where or when they are spotted, it’s no wonder Caltas is in high demand.

“One thing we do well is stick to our plan, which is well supported by the Bonney hierarchy. It’s a good culture, so much so, we all feel proud to come to work,” concluded Roger.

September 12, 2017 | Posted in: Articles



Australian Trucking Quarterly