The battle of the milk tankers


The battle of Fonterra’s new milk tanker trailers has begun.

Three prototypes are being tested on our roads season to see which one performs best. While two of the trailers were designed and built by transport engineering companies, the third is the brainchild of one of the Co-operative’s own tanker operators, Bill Groves.

The Reporoa-based driver has been dreaming up his trailer for the past seven years and is proud to see it finally on the road.

Bill says Fonterra has supported him all the way throughout the design and build phase, “it has been a really cool journey to be a part of and just being able to be here right now is awesome.”

“Fonterra has treated me like family and supported me the whole way and I am so proud to be a part of this team.”

The other two trailers were designed by outside companies that specialise in trucks and trailers – Domett and joint venture Longveld/TRT. The aim of all three new designs is to get better maneuverability, higher milk collection capacity, economy and efficiency for our tanker fleet.

It’s hoped they’ll increase milk collection productivity by 8-10%, resulting in reduced kilometres, less fuel and fewer tankers on the road – which all helps to improve sustainability.

Originally, the classic tanker could hold up to 15,000 litres of milk, whereas the three new designs are two metres longer and can hold up to 21,000 litres.

Fonterra has treated me like family and supported me the whole way and I am so proud to be a part of this team.

Bill groves, tanker operator

Groves trailer

  • Features a double axle to give it improved maneuverability and safety when entering and exiting a corner.
  • It’s the first of its design – patent pending!
  • The design also draws on Bill’s previous experience driving a logging truck.

Tanker Operator, Bill Groves standing next to his trailer design.

Domett’s Gen 4 trailer

  • Back two wheels steer with the front of the vehicle, making it more maneuverable.
  • The tank is more oval in shape, meaning they could lower it further to the ground – making it more stable.
  • Has three baffles (strengthening beams) landed widthway in the back to protect the milk and the vehicle from flipping.

The Domett team standing next to their trailer.

Longveld/TRT trailer

  • Elliptical in shape, making it look more space-age than the original and easier to clean the inside of the tanks.
  • Strong shape and design to make it safer and more stable on the roads.
  • Five axle design with rear steer for better maneuverability.

Longveld team standing next to their trailer. Barry McColl, GM National Transport & Logistics on the far right.

Over the next 12 months these three trailers will undergo testing to see which trailer performs the best. These tests will also help them to gain data to make an informed decision on which of the trailers has performed the best and will be the safest for our operators and communities.