The real deal with Tabeel

Posted: June 30, 2011 in Heavy Duty Trucks

Powerstars are moving 400 tonnes of woodchip a day to Portland for export.

Tabeel Trading is a prominent name in the ‘Green Triangle’ forests of South Australia and Victoria.

Tabeel Trading was formed in 1983 by Steve Witherow following the devastation of the Ash Wednesday fires in Victoria and South Australia.

Witherow, from the Gippsland region of Victoria and a plumber by trade, was looking for business opportunities at the time of the fires.

When the call went out for contractors for salvage timber harvesting in South Australia following Ash Wednesday, Witherow decided to investigate.

Equipped with a 4×4 tractor and a chain saw, he was soon recovering burnt timber and supplying it to a treatment plant producing fence posts and rails.

Today, Tabeel Trading, based in Mt Gambier, SA, operates around 250 pieces of plant as a logging and woodchip contractor in both softwood and hardwood forests.

The company’s equipment register lists harvesters, forwarders, skidders, excavators, debarkers, chippers and a fleet of trucks hauling logs and woodchip.

The biggest Cummins engines in the operation are a QSK19 and K19 which power a flail debarker and chipper respectively.

The latest trucks in the Tabeel fleet are six Iveco Powerstars which went into service at the beginning of 2011.

Powered by Cummins ISX 550 EGR engines, the Powerstars are hauling 400 tonnes of a woodchip a day to Portland in Victoria for export. The chipping is carried out in-field by Tabeel.

“We bought one of the original Powerstars in 1994 but decided against any more when Iveco switched from the Cummins ISX and Cat C15 to its own Cursor engine,” says Adrian Flowers, transport manager for Tabeel.

“However, our ears pricked up recently when the Cummins ISX was reintroduced in the Powerstar.

“When we needed six trucks for the new woodchip contract, we were given a Powerstar to trial and couldn’t fault it.

“We had doubts about the automated gearbox but couldn’t fault it either.”

He points out that downtime can ruin a business like Tabeel’s, so reliability of the Powerstars is paramount to meeting the customer’s requirements of moving 400 tonnes of woodchip a day.

“We know we’re right from a serviceability point of view. Cummins’ support out of Mt Gambier is exceptional, and J&B Inter (the Iveco dealer) also provides very good     back-up,” he says.

Three of the Powerstars are pulling B-doubles, the other three single trailers.

“It’s early days, but everything is looking promising,” says Adrian Flowers. “The performance of the Powerstars is exceptional, and the drivers appreciate the comfort. We’ve had some teething issues but they’ve been dealt with quickly.”

Apart from the Powerstars, Tabeel’s other frontline trucks include three Kenworths and four Western Stars.

The fleet, with some assistance from sub-contractors, moves big tonnages on mainly short lead work.

Tabeel harvests, extracts and hauls 7,000 tonnes of pine thinnings each week, along with 2,000 tonnes of blue gum logs and 2,000 tonnes of blue gum woodchip.

As any enquiring journalist would do, I asked about the origin of the company name, Tabeel.

“It is Hebrew for God is Good,” says John McGlade, a member of the Tabeel management team. “We’re a Christian family…that’s the fabric that enables us to successfully work together in business”.



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