RTL – sharing the load on the road

RTL - sharing the load on the road
Road Transport Logistics was formed in 2013 through the amalgamation of Becker’s Transport, Clinton Waipahi Holdings, Tuapeka Transport, West Otago Transport and Buchanan Transport. Each of the individual trucking operations has retained its own colours and branding.

Road Transport Logistics Ltd (RTL) was forged from a strong belief in working smarter together.With similar shareholders, Becker’s Transport, Clinton Waipahi Holdings, Tuapeka Transport and West Otago Transport were brought together in early 2013 to form RTL, while a fifth company, Buchanan Transport, was added to the stable later that year.
“We could see changes coming to the industry and wanted to ensure we would be compliant health and safety wise, adapt to new technologies, and be sustainable within our communities,” says CEO Shona Robertson. “We decided the best way to do that was to amalgamate operations and form RTL.”
Operating from depots within the rural Otago communities of Omakau, Oturehua, Heriot, Lawrence, Waipahi and Clinton, along with the township of Cromwell, each of the individual trucking operations has retained its own colours and branding.
“When identifying our core values we wanted to ensure the heartbeat of the five individual trucking businesses continued to beat under the RTLbanner and that’s why we maintained the individual brands,” says Shona.“That was important to us because those brands have been around for a generation and are a large part of their communities.”
Defining its purpose as ‘Working Together sustainably—every solution, every time, every load’, RTL’s core values are all about community, honesty, service, passion, innovation and working smarter.
Shona, who has been in the transport industry all her life and has diesel fl owing through her veins, says prior to the formation of RTL the individual trucking companies would pass each other on the road—one truck heading one direction with a full load while the other headed the other and empty.
“It was just ridiculous. “The only way to work well together was to put all the shareholders in the one place —RTL—so it didn’t matter who was doing the load, it was all going to the same pot.” Working well together is about all aspects of RTL, not just the transportation and delivery of products.
“We have an IT Department and we’ve built our own dispatch system along with other customer systems for ETA and apps. We run our health and safety and compliance processes across the entire business operation. It makes things more efficient so that we can be sustainable as a company.” Shona says RTL is also trying to promote trust within the industry by working-in with other companies.
RTL - sharing the load on the road
“There’s no point in us running up the road with half a load if another company has something as well. So our future is working-in with our industry as well as our clients so that we’re creating efficiencies. With business change comes cultural change and Shona admits that it has not always been an easy ride.
“That cultural change has impacted on staff, community and clients and it has been about trying to change people’s mindsets from how things have been done in the past to how they’re going to be done going forward. We faced those cultural challenges with time, communication and bringing people along on the journey.”
Operating throughout the South Island, RTL offers its clients a diverse range of transport solutions including freight, livestock, bulk cartage and supplies, along with fertiliser spreading.
“Our concept is about working together with everybody and we offer logistical solutions that don’t necessarily involve transport. We can help clients find the best solution that meets their needs and then coordinate that solution, without RTL necessarily doing the carrying if transport is required.”
Passionate about the industry, Shona admits to getting pretty excited when she sees a good-looking truck going past. “The transport industry is challenging and some days you say ‘why are we doing this’. But on those days when you can jump into the cab of a truck with one of the team and go for a ride, you do realize that is what you love doing and why you do it.”
Reflecting upon what underpins RTL’s success, Shona has no hesitation in saying it’s all about people. “If we didn’t have an awesome team of truck drivers, dispatchers and admin staff along with our clients we wouldn’t have a business—it’s that simple really. It is about building the relationships and trust with people so that they trust you to go on your journey.”
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