Safety front of mind for our tanker drivers


At the peak of the dairy season this year, around 1,600 of our tanker drivers will drive roughly 350,000 kilometres each day, enough to make it around the equator eight and a half times.

As one of the most prolific users of New Zealand roads, safety is paramount for this team – seven days a week, 365 days of the year.

It’s something Barry McColl, our GM National Transport and Logistics, says he is extremely proud to see our Co-op leading the way on.

“Every day we get positive feedback on our tanker drivers from others who have shared the roads with us. We hear from cyclists, farmers, urban road users and travellers from all around the world who are impressed with the way our drivers handle themselves,” says Barry.

“Our tanker drivers are the faces of our Co-op. They can be referred to as the heart of our business; without them there would be nobody to pick up our farmers milk and transport it, making them a fundamental step in our supply chain.”

Tanker Operator Craig Thornley recently encountered an unfamiliar sight on his usual pick-up route when a cow ran across the main road right in front of him.

“The cow somehow managed to make an escape from its paddock and since I have a background in farming, I could tell it was unhappy that it was separated from the rest of the herd.

“I noticed the paddock on the other side of the tanker track had its gates open so I put it in there for the time being and just when I thought I had it under control, I tried to shut the gates and realised there was no chain.

“Using some good old fashioned kiwi ingenuity I found a vest in my truck that could serve a new purpose, so I tied that around the gate to keep it shut. The farmer gave me a phone call the next morning to tell me he appreciated my quick thinking.

“It’s the small actions you take each day that are the most rewarding.”

This example is only one of many, check out some other great feedback that shows our tanker drivers safely arriving to pick up our farmers milk.

1.       Well done to the tanker driver who stopped to let a very nervous horse pass him this morning on Anderson Road Paterangi, Te Awamutu.  Great to watch from my kitchen window.

2.       Thanks to the Fonterra tanker driver who helped put out a car fire on SH1 southern motorway (just after Tip Top corner) at about 7pm till emergency services arrived. Good stuff!

3.       I would like to say a huge thank you to the driver of tanker number 513 just outside Tirau lunchtime Tuesday. He immediately pulled over and stopped when he saw us inspecting our flat tyre. He guided us to a safe spot and proceeded to change the tyre for us. A perfect gentleman.

4.       I had the fortune of following behind one of your tankers. Just wanted to let you know they were a great driver to follow behind, I stuck with him from just north of Sanson until he turned off to Whareroa. Was sad to part ways after staring at the back of the truck for a couple of hours, they made the journey very comfortable. Keep up the great work.