Cover story: Muggeridge Transport Ltd

By: Vivienne Haldane, Photography by: Vivienne Haldane

Deals on Wheels chats with newly-established transport operator Sven Muggeridge

All the signs point to a good year for Sven, who runs his business Muggeridge Transport Ltd from Central Hawke’s Bay. In 2020, he took the plunge and added a low loader transporter to his rig, after deciding on a change of direction from running his business as an owner-operator for other transport companies.

Loads to carry

Thanks to a wet spring, the local agricultural earthmoving contractors are working around the clock to keep up with everything. As the new kid on the block, that’s good news for Sven. The day DOW visited him in Elsthorpe, his Western Star was parked in the yard on a farm where he lives.

Sven was set to go out that afternoon to pick up a bulldozer from Pourerere Beach.
"Lots of the contractors need their gear moved at the moment; they are flat tack.

Sven Muggeridge: open for business with his Western Star and low loader trailer
Sven Muggeridge: open for business with his Western Star and low loader trailer

I’m beginning to get a following here as word catches on that I’ve started my own transport business. I’ll carry anything I can get onto the transporter. So far, I’ve been carrying bulldozers, diggers, and Moxies. I have my ute set up as a piloting vehicle and a mate who has his pilot ticket who helps me when I need him."

The Western Star

Sven is mighty proud of his 2019 Western Star, and he should be; it’s an outstanding rig.  

"I went all out. I figured if I’m going to go bankrupt, I may as well do it in style. Basically, I ticked all the boxes on the wish list. It has 147 lights, 1364-litre capacity long-haul fuel tanks, silverback, and straight eight-inch chrome exhaust pipes from the Y-flange underneath the cab.

"The signwriting was done by Cliff at Truck Signs in Tauranga (see DOW issue #326).

I was very impressed with his work. I kept it to a minimum though.
Having had the tanks painted blue when I was contracted to TIL, I will repaint the tanks black when I can.

"The motor is an X15 Cummins, 14.9-litre with an SCR muffler, which, if I can get away with it, will come off once the warrant has run out.  I’m a big fan of loud trucks and Jake brakes."

Why loud?

"Because I just like sound of it. The gearbox is an 18-speed, manual Road Ranger. I like the gears and am not a fan of automatic transmission.

Sven likes the extra low windscreen visor
Sven likes the extra low windscreen visor

"I had full-height pipes built to go as high as I could, a fridge unit was built into the bunk area, which is all custom-engineered. All the interior panels I had repainted black because I can’t stand wood grain; the front window visor is extra low too. I had it made to sit as low as possible; it not only stops glare but it also adds the cool factor to its appearance. The final touch are the Kiwi and American flags."

When asked why he chose the Western Star brand, Sven says, "I was actually on my way to sign a contract on a Scania because my friend Blair Boyd (DOW issue #267) who I consider a mentor, influenced me on that. But then Paul Bristol, the salesman from Penskse in Tauranga twisted my arm to get this truck. He was awesome to work with and I’m happy with what I’ve got."

The heavy haulage trailer

Sven’s custom-built heavy haulage 2019 low loader on air suspension trailer was built by TMC trailers in Christchurch.

"I got an electronic hydraulics system put on it, so I didn’t have to plumb the truck up with hydraulic pumps; all I do is plug it into the truck and the ramps drop with the press of a button.

The custom-built heavy haulage low-loader was built by TMC trailers
The custom-built heavy haulage low-loader was built by TMC trailers

The trailer’s dimensions: gooseneck (top deck) is 3.5 metres, bottom deck is 9.9 metres, and overall length is 14 metres. It carries 42 tonnes on a VDAM (vehicle dimension and mass). I didn’t get twist locks on the deck but will do eventually. Once I get stanchions on the bottom deck for containers, it will be able to carry two 20-foot containers. I will either add these later or I may build a T-bar where the stanchions would normally go."

So far, Sven is pleased with how the trailer operates and sees the potential to add to it to give him more options.

"My plan in two to three years is to get a three row of eight widener to allow me to carry heavier gear. I’ve been picking up queries from forestry companies who want all their machinery shifted by one transporter. With a widener, I will be able to carry the larger machines."

Independent spirit

One detects an independent spirit in Sven. He’s confident his hunch to set up his own business that he started in 2018 will pay off.

"I guess I’ve jumped off the deep end, but a big part of building a business is about your image and how you get along with people. I think of myself as a likeable chap who goes out of his way to help people out, so it should work out."

He has big dreams and says that in the next five years he’d like to expand and be a competitor with the bigger transporters. Sven’s got the background to do it, having always been interested in machinery and with a natural bent for engineering.

An old family friend, Spencer Golden, was an experienced truck driver and taught him the ropes from a young age. "Any chance I got as a kid, I jumped into a truck. When I left school, I worked in Higgins Contractors workshop and spent a year there, then travelled overseas, came back, and did some engineering and mechanics."

All boxes ticked means Sven has the truck of his dreams
All boxes ticked means Sven has the truck of his dreams

Sven also worked his way through the different licence classes while gaining experience driving for a number of transport companies. But the ups and downs of being an owner-operator didn’t suit him.

During the lockdown in 2020, work flowed in at first and then tailed off. It was then Sven decided he’d follow his passion for heavy haulage, take the risk, and bought his heavy haulage trailer to go with the Western Star he bought in August 2019. He’s set his sights high and why not? As he says, "I’ve never been a fan of doing anything half-arsed; I’m a big seeker of knowledge." We wish him well.

Check out Muggeridge Transport Ltd on Facebook.

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