Service Spanning Three Centuries

L. Arthur Transport Services

Founded in 1898 by Louis Dennis Arthur, L. Arthur Transport Services has been at the forefront of transportation development in Australia, starting with the hand-loaded horse-drawn carriages of the 1890s, to now utilising the high tech, high capacity transportation technology of today. It is the company’s long standing commitment to its people and its customers, as well as a dedication to safety, which truly defines L. Arthur Transport.

Today, company assets include over 200 pieces of equipment and two locations to serve customers. The company is now in its fourth generation of family management, with third and fourth generation employees still working for the company. These incredibly strong relationships underpin a stable company that is able to offer the highest level of service in the industry.

Vincent Arthur, Managing Director of the company, identifies the family’s closeness as one of their greatest strengths, and a major contributing factor to the company’s ongoing success. While some family businesses crumble through the generations, L. Arthur Transport has only grown closer and stronger, building a solid reputation for its capabilities across a broad range of services. Of the strength of the company, Vincent says, “We’ve always been a close family and we’ve been able to work together in a respectful and honest and open way. We’ve always felt that there’s a lot of value in the business through the employment that we provide.”

And the value of the company within the transport industry is very much based on the fact that they are known to be reputable, honest and well-managed by the Arthur family. “I have no doubt,” says Vincent, “that the family’s reputation and the age of the business influences the way clients view the organisation.”

The business is based around the Port of Melbourne, occupying a strategic location that allows the company to provide services and utilise equipment that is out of reach for many other transportation companies. Imports and exports through the port account for a great deal of the group’s business, operating as it is in Australia’s busiest port location.

L. Arthur Transport operates several core divisions within and outside of the port location, including a machinery division, which includes heavy machinery relocation, installation and removal, as well as heavy haulage. These services include heavy haulage and floats up to 75 tonnes, Franna and Linmac Cranes up to 16 tonnes, confined space forklifts up to 55 tonnes, as well as free site inspections. Vincent identifies this as one of the smaller markets in which the company is involved, but one in which it has a strong presence. The skills and equipment involved are quite specialised, making the company’s skill and experience invaluable.

The company also plays a great role in protecting Australia’s bio-security, operating one of the nation’s largest quarantine depots. Services offered include fumigation, washing, and inspection, all of which can be offered for all manner of containers and machinery passing through the port. Accommodating permanent AQIS staff on site, the AQIS 1.1 licensed company offers an incredible range of service for clients, including tailgate inspections, steam cleaning employing Melbourne’s largest machinery wash bay, container unpacking and transport deliveries.

The company’s warehousing solutions include over 20 000 square metres of storage, including integrated logistics solutions and quarantine and customs facilities, all on secure premises. Companies may take advantage of stick control and storage solutions, secure in the knowledge that their cargo is in the best of hands. “Warehousing is a service that we need to provide to support our other services,” explains Vincent.

L. Arthur Transport holds a unique position in the industry – a convenient location, an incredible variety of capital equipment, and a full suite of services to meet the needs of the most diverse clients. “We are unique in the range of service we can provide for customers,” says Vincent. “Transport is a very capital heavy business, so you need to be regularly investing in equipment – particularly container handling equipment, which is expensive.” Having a strong and reputable history and the financial strength to be able to fund capital equipment is one of the essential contributing factors to success in the transportation business, qualities which L. Arthur Transport has in spades. “We’ve been able to manage ourselves in a way which has enabled us to keep investing in equipment.”

Another contributing factor to the company’s continuing success is its strategic location at the Port of Melbourne. Vincent emphasises, “The location is critical for our business and we do have a prime location within the Melbourne wharf precinct which means that we can operate equipment that many of our competitors can’t.”

This competitive advantage means that L. Arthur operates vehicles that can move four twenty foot containers weighing in at 109 tonnes while competitors are limited to three containers and 68 tonnes, making the group that much more efficient, while offering saving to clients.

But capital equipment and location will only take a company so far. It is L. Arthur Transport’s history as an excellent employer and contributor to community life which has provided the foundation for its astounding longevity. Around 120 employees currently enjoy employment within the company, and, as Vincent says, “We have a family business culture, with long-standing employees and a low turnover rate.” Long-standing employee relationships in this case may even mean relationships which have endured for three generations within families. “Each employee is individually known and everyone is valued for who they are, and they return the loyalty they are shown.”

L. Arthur’s culture truly is a family business culture, encouraging relationships, communication, and safety above all else. “We help our employees whenever they need it, and they value and appreciate that about the company,” explains Vincent. Employees also appreciate the accessibility of the Director and Managers of the company, with discourse encouraged and valued.

Vincent himself has spent a great deal of time and resources ensuring that the company is second to none when it comes to employee safety, even implementing an external accredited safety system, which has resulted in a growing culture of safety, creating safer, happier employees and strong savings in insurance premiums and lost time. Vincent identifies the safety of employees as a major driving force within the company and a central focus in each decision the company makes.

Speaking of the Transport industry generally, Vincent describes it as “fragmented,” with certain sectors flourishing while others flounder. Those companies too deeply ingrained in one market area have found themselves suffering from some of Australia’s lagging sectors.

L. Arthur Transport’s diversity, then, is one of its major strengths, as it does business across a number of sectors including mining, infrastructure, and the East Coast retail environment. “We have exposure in a number of different areas,” says Vincent. “Being well diversified gives us the ability to weather market changes, whereas other companies may find it very tough at the moment.”

It is this diversity which has spurred the company’s continued growth, enabling it to invest in itself and add new capital equipment to its roster. Vincent sees continued measured growth in the company’s future, with development projects planned for expanded depots and forecasted growth in Melbourne and in work for the nation’s mining sector.

With a history spanning three centuries, L. Arthur Transport has truly seen it all, and has been a leader in Australia’s Transport industry in and around the port of Melbourne. From the days of the horse-drawn cart, to today’s automated solutions, the company has been a true pioneer, providing a record of reliability, service, and safety.

The family that has grown around the company has endured for generations, forging traditions and relationships that are hard to find elsewhere in the industry. Respected by employees for its openness and positive workplace culture, and by clients for its capabilities and integrity, L. Arthur Transport truly is doing it right.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

November 21, 2018, 3:43 AM AEDT