Driveline Magazine

Owner/driver Mat Stefan specialises in transporting shop fittings and commercial furniture – items which don’t fit neatly into a box.

It’s his niche and it’s why he spent an extra $50,000 on his trailer.

Forklifts, bobcats and cars are also regular passengers. When Driveline caught up with him, he’d just finished moving a three-tonne forklift from Brisbane to Melbourne after his client bought it on e-bay.

“You have to spend money to make money. You’re investing for four or five years down the track and this trailer gets me the work.”

“It’s a 45inch drop deck tautliner that he had specially designed to be multi-purpose. A mezzanine floor increases capacity, a polished steel floor helps cargo slide easily, the gating is far more adaptable than normal, and the tailgate is rated to lift 2,000 kilograms.”

“That tailgate means I can drive cars or forklifts straight into the trailer because your average car only weighs 1,500 kilograms. I can drive three cars straight in and lock them down,” he said.

For Mat, that’s a dead easy load. He carts a lot of shop fittings – pre-made shelving and cabinets etc – for major manufacturers like Associated Projects and Australasian Retail Projects which have clients nationwide.

“The items are made up in their factories and have to be hand loaded. It can take six hours to load anything from 20-100 cubic metres of cabinets and then another three to five hours to unload at the other end.”
“A lot of times I’m carting glass cabinets which you can’t stack, but then I’ve also done 60 tonnes of tin shelves.”

Mat’s firm called Foo’s Transport (Foo is his lifelong nickname – as a child Mathew was too hard to pronounce and it came out sounding like Ma Foo). He started it about 10 years ago after a spot of creative carpentry.

“I studied woodwork at Tech but I ended up making wishing wells and bird houses out of recycled timber and they were big sellers for a while.”

“It was good business. I’d pick up some pailings from the tip which cost me nothing. Then I’d turn them into something I could sell for $1000.”

Mat got his first small truck to move his woodwork from his home in Emerald, Victoria, into Canberra and Sydney. Then more and more people started asking him to haul their stuff and Mat moved from manufacturing into transport.

“First I had a six tonner, then a 20, then a 38 and now I’ve got a 90 tonne B-double.”

That truck is a new Freightliner CST120 with a Detroit Series 60 power plant.

“I’m really happy with it. I can’t complain at all,” he said. “It’s really comfortable to drive which for me is important because I spend so much time in it.”

Most of Mat’s work is on the eastern seaboard between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane but Townsville and Darwin are also regular stops with Perth “now and then – if it pays”.

A recent run saw him cover about 3,500 kilometres in five days, taking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, and Tenterfield then back to Sydney and Melbourne. Racking up 180,000 kilometres a year is about average.

“I live in this truck five or six days a week so I had to get the big sleeper which I think is great,” Mat said.

“I know a lot of blokes buy trucks because of the badge or the look. I think my truck looks good, but it’s not about looks, it’s about if it’s going to make you money and that is what this Freightliner is doing for me.”

With more and more people buying cars over the internet and the Federal Government’s stimulus package encouraging shop owners to refurbish their stores, business has been strong for Mat with new clients appearing every month.

So if all goes to plan a second Freightliner is not too far away.

“I’m looking at a B-double Argosy Evolution with the 110″ cab and will get it rated for road train work.”

Lots of work for a bloke hauling freight no-one else wants.


Vehicle importation in Australia

Australia is one of the largest markets for those interested in importing vehicles into the country. The country is limited in mass production and as such, it has to depend on the importation for a major part of its automotive requirements.

It is tedious and complicated importing a vehicle into Australia. I could however be very rewarding if you are importing the right car. It is important to have money that will be enough for storage, transportation as well as duties and taxes. There are a lot of ways to make the process easy. This begins with a knowledge of the right legal procedures.

The 1901 Customs Act controls the importation of vehicles into the country. The Act clearly states the kind of cars, motorcycles, trailers and other vehicles that can be brought into the country. Businesses that import vehicles into the country need to get the appropriate permission. Such permission comes in the form of a Vehicle Import Approval document (VIA). Businesses will need to apply for this approval alongside a supporting document issued by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government as stated in the 1989 Motor Vehicle Standards Act.

Before a vehicle can be shipped, a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) from the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government must be obtained. This department can be contacted via

The VIA will then give approval for you to ship your car into Australia. It is very important to get a VIA. Without one, your car could be exported or destroyed at your own loss. You should also ensure that the required duties and taxes are paid. This includes the Goods and Service Tax and the Luxury Car Tax (if applicable to your car). As soon as this step is completed, you can then bring in the vehicle.

In place of a Vehicle Import Approval document (VIA), you could also make use of an Australian or international carnet to bring in vehicles into the country. This carnet gives you the permission to import vehicles into Australia. Duties and taxes need to however be guaranteed by an external party or organization. It is also possible to use the Australian carnet for vehicles that have been exported from Australia before.


Shepp’s Transport

Family owned and operated, we are a small business focused on growth and building a strong reputation in the specialised area of Shopfitting & Commercial Furniture Transport. We care at Shepp’s Transport because your business is important to us. We know that customer satisfaction is the key to our continued success.

With sixteen years of experience in the transport business means you can feel confident knowing that your goods will arrive at their destination in original condition and on time. Your load will be transported using the latest in truck technology. This enables us to provide you with a fast and reliable service that minimises risk.

  • Professional, reliable and at a price you can afford
  • Clean, fast & careful
  • We take pride in delivering your goods on time and in tact
  • Based in Melbourne – providing transport Australia wide
  • All loads and destinations considered

How to import vehicles into Australia

 Send in an application to get your Vehicle Import Approval document(VIA). This is usually acquired for a fee at the Vehicle Standards Branch of Infrastructure.

When you get an approved Vehicle Import Approval document (VIA), ensure to fill a form known as Import Declaration Form (B650). This form can be acquired from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. For those that won’t be importing vehicles into Australia regularly, it would be cheaper to go through a registered car import broker who will take charge of the B650 declaration. You could also register with the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) to submit the declaration on your own or submit it by hand to any Customs and Border Protection counter.

You should also ensure that your customs duties, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Luxury Car Tax (LCT) are fully paid to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

Get the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to come inspect your vehicle. They will give you a date and location. As soon as the vehicle arrives, they will come and inspect it.

Once your vehicle gets to Australia, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) will also inspect your vehicle in a bid to ensure that it is as clean as it should be. They will also check that there is no soil, plant matter as well as any seed in it. If DAFF marks your vehicle as unclean, you be required to pat extra for cleaning. This would of course cause a delay as they will need to ensure 100% cleanliness of your vehicle.

Individuals importing vehicles that are $1,000 or less have the opportunity to use a clearance declaration that is self-assessed. It will however still be necessary to use a Vehicle Import Approval document (VIA).

Vehicle valuations are based on the price of the vehicle for most cases. Other valuation methods could also be used depending on the specifications of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.