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Heavy haulage twins still going strong after 45 years in transport

Every so often, you come across some real characters in trucking – and David and Kevin Murada are prime examples.

The 66-year-old twin brothers, who have run Wollongong-based operation Metal Transport Industries for the past 45 years, were named this year’s Kenworth Legends at the ATA’s national conference in Canberra.

They started out carting scrap metal for BHP, which is now BlueScope, but as time went on, they moved into heavy haulage – carting up to 90-tonne loads.

Although David and Kevin are well-known and respected in the transport industry, they don’t take themselves too seriously.

“The heavy haulage side gives you challenges, and I still love the challenge,” Kevin said.

“When you’re out west and you can’t drive at night with an oversize load you get to go to a lot of hotels.”

His brother added, laughing: “Kev could write a book on the pubs.”

The Muradas said you have to have your wits about you when the loads get heavy and wide and high.

“There’s a bit of pressure on you when you’re up and down the highway, especially with narrow bridges,” Kevin explained.

“There are so many damned if you do, damned if you don’t decisions that you have to make.” 

David chimed in: “We dodge a lot of power lines. We wouldn’t have pulled any down, of course…”

David and Kevin’s brother Peter Murada passed away in 1992. Image: Metal Transport Industries

David and Kevin originally set up their business with their brother Peter, who sadly died in the early 1990s.

“We were triplets, and Pete was with us in the business for about five years,” David said.

“Then he moved to Sydney, and he was into a few things, trying to make some money.

“He passed away in ‘92, which was pretty sad.

“We were always hoping he would come back to work with us, but that wasn’t to be.”

The heavy haulage side of Metal Transport Industries came about organically, as word got out that they knew how to move big machines.

“At one stage with the scrap, we were hiring our dad’s machines to do our jobs,” said David.

“He had excavators with shears on them to cut scrap, and a loader machine that you put a magnet on, to lift the scrap. 

“Because we moved machinery, we had people ringing us up to come and move their machinery, so the heavy haulage side slowly grew.” 

David (left) and Kevin (right) Murada with David’s son Jarrod (middle). Image: Metal Transport Industries

BlueScope was one of the company’s very first customers, and they still work at their Port Kembla steelworks – though not directly for them.

“We still do one job inside BlueScope and we move 3500 to 4000 tonne a day, 365 days a year, 12-hour shift, carting slag, which is a by-product of making iron and steel,” David said.

“We don’t work for BlueScope anymore, we work for Australian Steel Mill Services, who look after the slag material.

“That’s a hard job. We cart 70-tonne, 80-tonne loads, going around and around in circles with off-road, mine-spec Kenworth trucks.”

David and Kevin have sworn by Kenworth trucks since 1979 and are delighted to be honoured as Kenworth Legends.

“We’re both very passionate about the Kenworth product,” David said.

“It has proved itself over and over again.

“It’s built here in Australia, and you get to pick what you want on the trucks – you can have one fuel tank, two fuel tanks – you can have six fuel tanks if you like.”

When it comes to moving the heavy loads, nothing beats a Kenworth for the Murada twins. Image: Metal Transport Industries

Although the brothers had 40 trucks in their fleet at one stage, they are now back down to 23.

“The more trucks you get, the more problems come with it all,” David said.

“We had 40 trucks but after we got out of a big contract, we sold 20 of them.

“Like most companies, our fleet goes up and down, but we’re pretty comfortable.”

David and Kevin have recently collected two brand new Kenworths – a C510 and a K200. 

The K200 has hit the road, while the 510 has been sent to the BlueScope steelworks, joining the five 509s they already had there.

“The 510 has a Cummins engine, 600 horsepower, with 1400 tyres,” David said.

“In the 509s we would break springs and new bolts because we were pushing the six rod with what we were carting.

“In the 510 there’s a different suspension, you can put 50-tonne on the drive and it can handle the weight.”

Kevin (left) and David (right) Murada are this year’s Kenworth Legends. Image: Kenworth

Kevin still gets out and about in a truck most days, and said he is definitely not an “office person”.

“I think I did a little bit in the office in the ‘90s and then we employed another bloke and I’ve mostly stayed out since then,” he said.

“Dave will answer the phone and I’ll quote jobs and we’ve got a good system going.

“I don’t mind jumping in and helping the mechanics or whatever. I just do what needs doing.”

David joked: “You can probably guess how well Kev’s little office stint went.”

The twins have seen a lot of changes in their four decades in transport, but they think most of them are for the better.

“In NSW, the RTA makes us put the trucks over the pit every 12 months,” David said.

“We struggled to get used to that idea at first, but now we think it’s for the better.

“It evens the playing field and makes sure everyone’s truck is roadworthy.”

L to R: Kevin’s son Alex, Kevin, David and David’s son Jarrod pose in front of Jarrod’s C509. Image: Metal Transport Industries

Though they are as passionate about trucking now as they were when they started out, they have concerns about the current driver shortage and the future of the industry. 

“It is a sad indictment that we can’t get the young guys to come through,” David said.

“If you drove around in the 80s, trucks were going pretty damn quick. 

“Now we’re driving 100km/h and we think that’s fast, but insurance companies are still making it so expensive to employ someone under 25.

“I think they could let that rule go and make it easier to hire young people.”

They may be coming up on retirement age, but the twins don’t think they’ll be hanging up the keys to their Kenworths any time soon.

“Our wives bring it up quite a bit,” David laughed.

“But no. In saying that, we do take our holidays.”

“If I had to pass on one message to anyone in the trucking game, it’s that you should always take your holidays!”

Despite seeing each other almost every day at work, David and Kevin’s holidays are almost always spent together too.

“We work together, and we play together,” Kevin said.

“We’ve got a good connection between us.”

After leaving his brother hanging for a moment, David agreed: “…Ah no, we do.

“We live in the same suburb, and we have the same mates. We’re always together.”

He added: “We’ve been around for a long time, we’ve survived, and our Kenworth trucks are here to stay.”


The post Heavy haulage twins still going strong after 45 years in transport appeared first on Big Rigs.

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