Hino proves up to tough Storah tasks

Hino trucks are proving so successful in a mixed transport operation in KwaZulu-Natal that the operator, Evan Storah, of Storah Farming near Ixopo, has increased the number of Hino trucks in his fleet from one to 12 over the past four years.

The operation – which involves Hino 700-Series 2845 truck tractors in hauling trailers carrying livestock and wood chips and 700-Series 2845 freight carriers and trailers transporting loads of wooden logs – is particularly demanding as a great deal of the transport takes place over rough or unmade roads in forests and on farms.

Storah says the major attributes of the Hino trucks which make them ideal for his operation are reliability, durability, good fuel economy, ease of maintenance and low overall running costs.

“Hino has kept the basic design of its trucks fairly simple, making them well suited for tough off-road use, while also being easy to service,” says Storah. “Hino also has a wide network of dealers and we enjoy a particularly good relationship with our local dealership, Hino Pietermaritzburg, which is headed up by Piet van Romburgh. We know we can call on Piet and his team at any time for assistance.”

Storah was a manager on his father’s farm, near Creighton, when he took over the part-time running of the farm’s vehicle fleet. When he bought the first Hino, a used 700-Series in 2012, there were only five trucks in the fleet. Now there are 15, with 12 of them Hinos, and Storah is involved full time in running the transport operation. In fact, the farm itself is leased out these days.

The first Hino in the fleet, a 700-Series 57-450 model, was bought as a used truck from Hino Pietermaritzburg. It is still operating in the fleet with more than 800 000 km on the odometer and having required little in the way of repairs over the years. For instance brake linings were replaced only at 700 000 km. This first unit performed so well that since its introduction to the Storah Farming fleet Hino is the only brand of truck that Evan has bought and he plans to eventually change the whole fleet to Hino.

There are currently four 700-Series 2845 truck tractors pulling livestock trailers and a bulk woodchip trailer together with eight extended chassis rigid 2845s with drawbar trailers carrying wooden logs and operating at a GCM of 38 tonne.

Most of the wood is transported on round trips of about 80 km to Chep SA for pallets. The Storah Farming fleet currently moves 5 000 tonne of pine and 3 500 tonne of gum annually, together with 60 tonne of wood chips a day. The volume trailer carries 32 tonne or 96 m3 of wood chips on 400 km round trips to and from a pulping plant. Livestock is moved to and from many parts of the country.

Weightech systems are used to ensure maximum legal loads and the best productivity. Sophisticated equipment from Tracker monitors driver behaviour as well as keeping track of the trucks themselves.

Much of the regular maintenance is carried out weekly on the company’s premises on a 20 000 km cycle, with any repairs necessary being carried out by Hino Pietermaritzburg.

There are 18 drivers on the staff, all having accommodation at the depot.

Alec Harris, a commercial vehicle sales consultant at Hino Pietermaritzburg, is responsible for driver training. Harris, who has extensive experience in all aspects of the truck industry as well as being an accomplished co-driver in motor sport, is also the link between this growing Hino fleet and the dealership.

The flourishing Storah Farming operation remains very much a family business, with Storah’s wife Handri responsible for administration and finance, while the longest running transport contract is with his father, Chris, for delivering bulk milk to his cheese factory in Creighton!