NRC Member Profile

Cavalier Transport – doing things differently

Mike and Peter Webster are not your typical trucking company owner - operators.

There is no long-standing family history in the business. And they did not decide to set up their own business after gaining experience in the industry while working for other companies.

In 2004 Mike had just returned from playing three years of professional rugby in Scotland and father Peter suggested they should set up a transport business.

“He had always wanted to do something himself within the trucking realm, but couldn’t do it by himself,” said Mike.

Previously Peter had been the General Manager of a company selling large printing equipment but had always had the driving lifestyle at heart. He loved getting out on the road.

He had used a light truck on a farm, while Mike had started mechanics apprenticeship training before heading for Scotland. But that was as far as their involvement with trucks had got.

“It had been a bit of a dream of Dad’s to get into heavy transport and the big rigs,” said Mike. “But for me I was still in my early 20s enjoying playing rugby.”

They started with three second hand trucks and now have 12 on the road including nine truck and trailer units, which specialise in carrying palletised loads around the greater Auckland area and all over the North Island.

With their steady expansion, Cavalier acquired its first brand new truck last year, a Volvo unit to sit alongside the other Volvos in their fleet.

The only part of the business that had some history was the company name.

Peter Webster had run a part time business supplying bridles, saddlery and other hardware to the equine community and used the name Cavalier for that business. The company name subsequently transferred across to the transport operation.

Mike believes they have now reached a size where they can respond quickly to customers’ requests, but are still small enough to offer a personalised service.

“We can pick-up at the start point and deliver to the final destination. We don’t need to feed loads through a hub and redistribute them.”

Among the goods they transport regularly are newsprint reels, empty drink bottles, powders, resins, pharmaceuticals and dangerous goods. Essentially, they can handle any bulk palletised loads.

“We have never been afraid to take on a new challenge and are always prepared to gear up for a customer’s needs,” said Mike.

Apart from the greater Auckland area, Cavalier trucks travel regularly to Wellington, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Hastings, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Setting up Cavalier Transport, the Webster’s leaned on National Road Carriers, especially in their early days.

“The cost analysis and who to use for what services really helped,” said Mike. “Getting linked to other companies like Vodafone, Mobil and the insurance companies made getting started a lot easier.”

Cavalier Transport has embraced modern technology as much as possible and runs E Road fleet management and iCOS live – internet cargo operating system – to keep track of all the goods it is handling.

It has a New Zealand Transport Agency five-star operator rating system and the Accident Compensation Commission has awarded Cavalier a fleet saver silver standard. This provides discounts off the standard ACC levies.

“This means the drivers have to perform to a certain standard to get those kickbacks which we are constantly monitoring. It is an easy task with a great team of guys who take our driving culture very seriously.”

Recently the company passed a WorkSafe New Zealand random inspection after only two hours’ notice.

Cavalier Transport operates out of a warehouse based on Auckland’s North Shore