Ross Murrell started his refrigerated transport business as an owner operator in 1976, growing the business to a fleet of 13 (four B-doubles and nine single combinations). After many years in the industry Ross hung up his keys and retired in November 2007.
Murrell Refrigerated Road Transport primarily carted produce for Coles via Carter & Spencer from Brisbane to North Queensland as well as spending time in the Gulf and Mt Isa. In order to provide quality and reliable continuity of service, Ross also owned a distribution centre in Bowen, Bootooloo Produce. This was so produce from Bowen and Ayr could then be moved on to the Brisbane Markets where a large percentage of this produce was shipped to southern capitals.
Ross' contract with Coles, Carter & Spencer continued throughout his 31 years in the industry, never went to tender and was merely a handshake agreement built on trust and reputation. Over the years, Ross employed between 60 and 70 drivers, five sub-contractors and maintenance and office staff. Many were long term employees who have become part of the Murrell family.
One of the many challenges faced travelling north was the rise and fall of water. When there was talk of floods, Ross would use his local knowledge and tell his drivers to drive to the floodwaters and ring me. A lot of the rivers and creeks were tidal, therefore as soon as the trucks were able they would get through and would not be held up waiting for information on roads being re-opened.
Within the Carter & Spencer / Coles association, Ross had a reputation that Murrell always seems to get through with a minimum of delay. With Ross' commitment to getting through, both businesses were consistently growing. As demand required, ensured prompt acquisition of additional equipment to ensure the tradition and reputation was maintained. This was backed up by the drivers and staff who always had the customers and companies interest at heart.
When asking Ross what his most pivotal moment in transport was he answered the running of B-doubles. Whilst Ross faced the many challenges of the industry, his persistence, strong work ethic and commitment to getting the job done combined with hard work and long hours, contributed to the success of the business. Ross earnt the respect of many people within the industry and people still seek his advice.