Talent transcends continents

From the July 2015 issue.

Australian Barry Fennell found the ideal equipment for his forestry operation on the other side of the world in Canada – with the help of the Internet.

At some stage, almost everyone in the commercial road transport game will reach a point where they want more out of the equipment they use – more payload, more productivity, or simply more confidence.

For South Australian Barry Fennell, the point came in 2014, when he needed seven new trailers to haul wood chips on a 400 km round trip from forest to port. He knew the job wouldn’t be easy, as the trailers would be moving non-stop from Monday to Friday over some rough ‘council’ roads, but he still didn’t want to trade extra resilience for a loss in payload.

Barry Fennell and his sister Wendy own Fennell Forestry, a family-run harvest and transport company in the vast state of South Australia. Established in 1991, Fennell Forestry has grown from a relatively small business to a market leading operation that is known for having an innovative edge. “We’re always at the ‘pointy’ end of new technologies,” says Fennell – who regularly scouts the Internet and industry media for new trends and developments in his field.

On his virtual search for the latest in trailer technology, Fennell came across Titan Trailers, a family-owned and run trailer manufacturer based in Delhi, Ontario. On trips to Canada, Fennell had seen the aerodynamic, smooth-sided Titan equipment before and now wanted to know if he could get it in Australia too.

Fennell’s search revealed that by using Thinwall, a double-wall extruded aluminium panel, Titan would be able to build equipment that is both strong and lightweight. Without the need for a steel frame, Titan promised a weight reduction of 453 kg compared to a standard trailer – an intriguing figure for a perfectionist like Fennell. The fact that the company also seemed to have experience in building specifically designed forestry equipment – including a 19m B-double which can hold up to 141m3 of wood chips in a single run – finally sold Fennell on the concept. But there was still one problem...

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