The Southbank Truck Festival at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show saw the O’Phee ‘London’ Double Stack Container Super B-Double Skel trailer reveal itself to the transport industry, presented by Mick O’Phee.
The term ‘London’ was a code O’Phee Trailers used (based on the famous London double decker buses) during the concept, design, manufacturing and approval process of the Super B-double to keep the project under the radar. Thus, the name was given to the end result – a world-first, 32-metre Super B-double designed for innovation and productivity.
As Mick explained at the show, the combination has the ability to double-stack containers with a fully Australian-compliant load restraint system. According to Mick, it also has a 100 per cent increase of container movements over and above the current standard B-double combinations.
“This unit has the ability to transport four 40’ containers or eight 20’ containers,” he said. “And that’s before you add a third trailer.”
The Super B-double was The Drake Group’s biggest innovation on display at the Brisbane Truck Show. Also attending to represent the business, Director, Sam Drake, said the product was initially instigated through increasing efficiencies for carrying empty containers on the port of Brisbane.
“We’ve worked with the customer, the Port of Brisbane, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and other relevant authorities to come up with an approved Double Stack Container Super B-double Skel trailer combination that can be operated on the port precinct,” he said. “The purpose is to shift as many empty containers as possible in the most efficient way on the port precinct. So, we’re hoping that it’s something people see as a viable solution and get excited.”
Alongside ‘London’ were some of the best offerings by Drake and O’Phee, such as the Drake 4×4 Full Widener, 4×4 Deck Widener, 5×8 Swingwing, and the O’Phee Flat Top 3×4, Swinglift, Skel 2×4 and 2×8 Dolly.
“The individual models on the stand have all of the latest technology and offerings that we have, but they’re still at the core of what we do,” Sam said. “They’re proven and tested products that have matured over many years. The fundamentals of the models themselves haven’t changed too much. Based on a combined effort between sales, engineering product development and customer feedback, our engineering and designing department have made improvements where needed to continually push the boundaries of payload availability whilst ensuring and maintaining the standard of quality that the models represent.”
Upon the Swingwing’s arrival in 1969 it was clear that it was one-of-a-kind. The Swingwing sets itself apart by using hydraulics to open outer decks like a pair of wings, with an increased carrying capacity between 50 and 120 tonnes. And while its standard spec has become one of Drake’s signature lines of trailers, the one on display at Brisbane Truck Show was highly spec’d to give onlookers a taste of what The Drake Group is capable of.
“This trailer was built for Mactrans Heavy Haulage and has everything you can think of on it in terms of options,” Sam said. “It has customised stainless steel pipe work and covers, full radio remote-control, additional tie downs to inner coamings, BPW axles, three beam bi-fold ramps, hydraulic landing legs and gooseneck, additional lighting, a centre spine hydraulic jacking leg double acting suspension rams, and a bespoke paint job customised for Mactrans.”
The Drake Group’s stand itself was bigger from previous years. And with the theme of Australian road transport to highlight the family’s local builds, it was a perfect example of what Drake has stood for since establishing in 1958. Being built on the foundations of local manufacturing with extremely strong and versatile materials for ground-breaking designs, The Drake Group is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year as it continues its legacy with the original values still in place.
“We’re proud to say that we’ve been in business for 65 years, let alone being a part of Australian manufacturing for that long,” Sam said. “All the pressures that come with being in business are real – we’ve seen ebbs and flows but we’re still here after all this time.”
Sam and his sister, Maggie Nilson, were both recently appointed as Directors to lead Drake into its third generation of success. And based on the company’s performance at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show, it’s evident that it will continue to do what it does best.
“I am thoroughly enjoying this year’s truck show, it seems to get bigger every year,” Sam said. “It gives us the perfect platform to showcase a variety of what we do and catch up with our much-loved customers to show them some of our latest innovations.”