Remote dream that became a reality

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Heavy Duty Trucks

Ostojic has standardised on Cummins engines in its predominantly Mack fleet.

When Tomo Ostojic left Yugoslavia in the late 1960s and started work in Darwin in 1972 with a Flintstone Mack, his vision probably didn’t include the enterprise that bears his name today.

The Ostojic Group’s 2012 fleet register lists some 90 trucks – spanning concrete agitators to quad-trailer roadtrains – 350 trailers, 150 dollies, and over 100 pieces of earthmoving equipment.

A hard rock quarry is another Ostojic asset as is Darwin-based trailer manufacturer Tristar Industries.

Civil contracting is the biggest portion of the Ostojic business today, while other key contributors are bulk haulage, quarrying, construction materials, concrete production and plant hire.

Tomo Ostojic still has involvement in the business, although his sons look after the day to day running of the operation – Simon (general manager), Stefan (quarry manager), and Stojan (Alice Springs manager). Marcus pilots one of the company’s roadtrains.

Ostojic’s large roadtrain fleet operates throughout the Northern Territory and in parts of Queensland and Western Australia and is involved in the haulage of up to 600,000 tonnes of construction materials a year as well as mountains of product for mines.

Simon Ostojic… “Cummins is very proactive…”

Five years ago the company made the decision to standardise on Cummins engines in its predominantly Mack fleet.

Simon Ostojic says that “strategic support” is the key reason Cummins is the preferred engine supplier.

“Cummins is very proactive…nothing is too difficult for them,” he says.

“Cummins’ support in remote areas such as Cloncurry in Queensland is critical. We wouldn’t buy anything but Cummins for our Cloncurry operation.

“We have had some issues with our EGR engines but downtime has been kept to a minimum. Cummins has been very cooperative in this regard.”

Ostojic has also repowered 15 Cat-powered trucks with Gen II Signature engines to take advantage of Cummins’ support as well as the better fuel economy, reliability and performance of the Signature.

“We don’t have low power issues with Cummins…the Signatures deliver what they’re supposed to,” he says.

The importance of service support is no more evident than in outback Cloncurry in   north-west Queensland where Cummins has a team of five technicians servicing one of the biggest concentrations of ISX and Signature engines in Australia.

It’s a tough environment in which man and machine sometimes have to work in fierce heat: Cloncurry is reportedly the location of Australia’s highest ever official recorded temperature – 53.1oC (127.5oF).

Ostojic has 25 quad-trailer roadtrains operating out of Cloncurry, hauling copper concentrate and a number of other mining products. These roadtrains run at 147 tonnes gross, carrying payloads of 90 tonnes.

Cummins power isn’t confined to roadtrains in the Ostojic operation. The company’s earthmoving inventory of over 100 pieces of equipment includes Cummins engines in brands such as Komatsu, Hitachi and Kawasaki.

Again, the remoteness of some of the Ostojic work – it is currently carrying out 20 km of reconstruction of the Barkly Highway in the Northern Territory – demands the highest standards of service support.

The Ostojic business is a classic ‘from humble beginnings’ story, starting with Tomo’s early days in Australia, working for the railways in Perth and then the meatworks in Wyndham, before moving to Darwin to buy his Flintstone Mack.

The story’s about a remote dream that has become a self-built reality – a family company built on sensible goals along with inspiration and innovation and, above all, a reputation for customer service.

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