Graphic impact

July 1, 2006
HANUMAN, god-king and leader of the Simian Army, is one of the best-known characters in Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian epic Ramayana. Thais

HANUMAN, god-king and leader of the Simian Army, is one of the best-known characters in Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian epic Ramayana. Thais of all ages recognize the monkey god from the “Khon,” the masked classical dance drama of Thailand.

Toll (Thailand) Ltd, the Bangkok, Thailand-based subsidiary of Australia's largest transport and logistics provider, has capitalized on the popularity of Hanuman by incorporating his image into the graphics on 11 Heil petroleum trailers used in the Thai market. The colorful design covers the tank mid-section on both sides, as well as the rear head.

These petroleum trailers are seen across a large part of Thailand and are an indication of the commitment Toll is making to the entire Southeast Asia region. Management's focus is on giving customers world-class service with the safest, most productive equipment available.

“We want to be the best at transporting fuels throughout the region,” says Eugene Cody, general manager of Toll (Thailand). “That includes understanding the culture and bringing innovative distribution solutions to our customers. We were the first to run 20,000-liter (5,283-gallon) tank trucks and tri-axle petroleum trailers in this market and one of the first to implement on-board computers with GPS tracking.

“We try to run the most efficient and productive operation in the region. We use key performance indicators to measure driver and vehicle utilization. We have a system-wide training program for all levels of our organization, including managers, operations personnel, and drivers. Every employee knows that he contributes to the success of this company.”

Toll (Thailand), formerly Finemores Logistics Thailand, commenced operations in Thailand in 1998. It is a division of The Toll Group, an $8-billion integrated transport and logistics provider headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The Toll Group serves customers in 16 countries across the Asian region.

Petroleum focus

The Thailand entity has focused on distribution of refined petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel. Among other cargoes are LP-gas, heating oil, lubricants, and some chemicals. The Toll (Thailand) fleet transports in excess of 170 million liters (44.9 million gallons) of product each month.

Primary operations for Toll (Thailand) are in Thailand and Malaysia, with an increasing number of shipments going into Cambodia and Laos. In addition, the company expanded into Vietnam during the past year.

Major customers in Thailand are Esso (Exxon Mobil) and Royal Dutch Shell. The carrier serves Petronas, BlueScope Steel, and several automobile manufacturers in Malaysia. BlueScope Steel is the primary customer in Vietnam.

“Our customers are our partners,” Cody says. “We work closely with them, which is important in a business as competitive as the Thai petroleum market. Our objective is to build long-term relationships by providing outstanding service.

“Our activities in Thailand are focused along the eastern seaboard and in the central region, where there is a vigorous economy. We see good long-term growth potential in Vietnam even though the petroleum market is still regulated. We're concentrating on lubricants and chemicals at this time.”

Competitive factors

Several key competitive factors have contributed to the carrier's expansion across the region. Most importantly, Toll (Thailand) has shown the ability to adapt and change with the market. It also has the financial strength through its parent company to expand capacity.

In Thailand alone, the carrier currently employs 380 drivers and operates 91 tank trucks, 76 tractors, and 70 tank trailers. Additional tractor-trailer rigs are stationed in Malaysia and Vietnam. The Thai fleet operates out of three major terminals in Sriracha, Smutsakorn, and Lumlukka.

Trips within Thailand average 204 kilometers (126 miles). However, shipments into Laos and Cambodia result in roundtrips of up to 2,000 kilometers (1240 miles).

Fleet equipment consists of Volvo cabover trucks and tractors. Heil petroleum trailers typically have an 8500-gallon capacity. Vehicles are spec'd for reliability, productivity, and safety.

Tractors have been outfitted with GPS tracking. Safety systems include roll stability technology and electronic braking. Trailers also have fold-down handrails with cable attachments for fall protection.

Trailer components include Civacon overfill protection, internal valves, and API adapters; Truck-Lite LED lighting; Hendrickson Intraax suspension and axle assembly; Alcoa aluminum wheels, and Michelin tires.

Driver focus

The drivers who operate the tractors and trailers are the key factor in maximizing fleet productivity and ensuring safe operations, according to Cody. The carrier believes it employs the best tanker drivers in the industry. Finding the best drivers starts with the employment process.

Basic requirements consist of the following: Drivers must be between 25 and 40 years old, have a primary school education, and possess a valid Category 4 driver license. Toll (Thailand) wants a minimum of two years truck driving experience.

Applicant screening continues with a written exam to evaluate knowledge and skills. Candidates are asked to perform simple calculations related to the job. Managers also conduct an in-depth interview with the applicant and a driving test.

The physical exam includes a check for color blindness. While the rest of the applicant qualification process is underway, the company requests a criminal record check from the local police authorities.

Newly hired drivers attend a five-day orientation, followed by at least 30 days on-the-job supervision with a driver trainer. New-hire instruction is in the hands of a skilled group of safety and training managers and a team of fulltime professional driver trainers.

“We have a team commitment to safety,” Cody says. “The Toll Group is fully committed to protecting the health and safety of employees, suppliers, customers, and anyone else who might be affected by our activities.

“Along with the rest of The Toll Group, Toll (Thailand) works hard to be an environmentally responsible company. Particular attention is paid to the storage and transport of dangerous goods.”

Safety, health, environment

Instruction in the company's safety, heath, and environmental policy is a key part of the classroom-training program. Also covered: Drug and alcohol policy, safety and safety awareness, emergency response, fire extinguisher use and basic fire fighting, fall protection, personal protective equipment use, first-aid, material safety data sheets, and loading and unloading procedures.

Safe performance is constantly reinforced throughout the time a driver is employed by Toll (Thailand). Elements of the safety program include use of the Smith System with its five keys to safe driving. Drivers receive regular reminders on pre-trip inspections and rollover awareness. Trainers address various driving skills, such as negotiating steep grades and sharp curves. Regular updates are provided on traffic regulations.

It's all part of the Toll (Thailand) effort to be a good neighbor with the people of Southeast Asia. This is also why the tank truck carrier chose trailer graphics that celebrate the Thai cultural heritage.