WARRNAMBOOL-BASED trucking company Ryans is reportedly negotiating the purchase of Kalari’s general freight branch at Hamilton to expand its reach.
If approved, the deal would add seven trucks and drivers to Ryans’ existing fleet of 100 vehicles and about 200 staff.
Neither Ryans nor Kalari would yesterday confirm a story in the Hamilton Spectator which suggested the sale had been finalised.
The only comment was from Kalari’s corporate communications manager Emmy McKenzie, who said no sale agreement was in place yet.
“We are in the process of transitioning our general freight out of Hamilton to another operator,” she said.
“Until we have an agreement in place it’s pure speculation.
“We hope to confirm a sale by the end of the week.
“No jobs will be affected.”
The Standard understands Ryans has a five-year expansion plan which includes opening a Portland branch next month and a new metropolitan warehouse base in Derrimut in July, adding to its Warrnambool headquarters.
It would make the company one of the largest trucking operators in regional Victoria.
Ryans started 60 years ago and its clients include the Alcoa smelter in Portland, Woolworths, IGA and other major retailers.
Its general freight work covers the south-west, as well as regular runs to Adelaide, while its removals division operates nationally.
An international division has been added to the Warrnambool base, linked to overseas networks for delivery and pick-ups.
Two years ago the company took a bold step by limiting its fleet speed to 90 kilometres an hour to reduce operating and maintenance costs.
Kalari, which started in Portland in 1976, has expanded into bulk freight and holds contracts with Iluka Resources for transporting mineral sand from as far as Balranald to a processing plant at Hamilton.