Fleet Focus

No Ordinary Earth Mover

Story by Dave McLeod , Photos by Gerald Shacklock

Earthmoving companies. They have trucks, sure, but normally just as a backup to the big yellow machines, right?

Normally, yeah. But down in Christchurch there’s a mob that has Earthmoving in its name, but which seems to be able to turn its hand to all sorts of odd and unusual facets of heavy transport.


These include the development and building of rural fire tenders and five-axle tippers, creating custom carting frames for large concrete blocks and making specialised bins for asbestos removal.


Remarkably, they even built their own remote-controlled excavators. And, at the other end of the technology scale, they restore modern classic trucks – some of which are then used in frontline duties.


Protranz Earthmoving was set up around 20 years ago by Gerard Daldry, and reflects its founder’s belief that education’s OK in its place….but thinking outside the box and being prepared to give things a go have a lot to recommend them as well. And that doesn’t demand a huge level of formal education.


The man himself is a perfect expression of that principle in action. Born and raised in the mid-Canterbury township of Rakaia, Gerard, as he puts it “went to Ashburton College for a minimum period.”


Then he started with Burnetts Transport – working in its concrete yard until he was old enough to gain his heavy truck licence. He reckons his choice of the transport industry was partly influenced by the fact that his father worked for Mid-Canterbury Transport for a few years when Gerard was younger.


However, his Dad’s primary vocation was as a seaman with the Union Steam Ship Company. In fact, he was one of the crew that in 1976 sailed the inter-island ferry Rangatira to the United Kingdom after it had been sold to a Scandinavian company...




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