Transport companies collapse as industry remains under pressure

A suite of transport companies has collapsed, the latest in a series of industry failures as logistics businesses struggle under higher petrol prices and industry consolidation.

The move comes just weeks after the collapse of Victorian trucking group Wettenhalls, which has operated for more than 90 years and turned over about $120 million a year. The company has since been sold, but experts have cited the collapse as evidence of the market’s volatility as businesses face higher transport costs.

The Trailer Corporation of Australia, Macfield Leasing Corporation and Macfield Intermodal Equipment Corporation have all been placed in liquidation.

McGrath Nicol partner Sam Davies has been appointed as receiver and manager of Trailer Corporation, along with his appointment as controller of Macfield Leasing Corporation and Macfield Intermodal Equipment Corporation.

Davies was contacted by SmartCompany this morning, but no reply was available prior to publication.

Macfield is the only company with a web presence. The 20-year-old business leases transport equipment to businesses ranging from SMEs to larger companies, but it also handles managing finance. On its website, the company claims to handle “the residual value and the credit risk in relation to payments”.

Davies is now seeking expressions of interest for TCA, which offers US-made trailers. Assets on offer include over 100 refrigerated and dry trailers, along with vehicles, plant and equipment, and intellectual property. The business is also offering assignment of some customer hire agreements.

While the cause of the collapse isn’t known, IBISWorld analyst Caroline Finch told SmartCompany the transport industry has been put under a significant amount of pressure.

“There are very low barriers to entry at the bottom level, which means there are a lot of small players coming in and out, which keeps price margins pretty low,” she says.

“There is also consolidation happening, with bigger trucks and the productivity gains there, they can squeeze a few operators out.”

Finch also says fuel prices are also a big concern. Not only are prices rising in general, but fuel subsidies are being reduced as well.

“When the GST was introduced, there was an excise benefit. After July 2012 the industry has been paying more for petrol as rebates decrease.”

“The ability of an industry operator to pass on a fuel price increase is common, but it determines the viability of the company to some extent.”



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