Transport firm's $11m headache



LISMORE businessman Reg Mills is adopting a wait-and-see attitude over $11 million worth of transportation equipment suddenly surplus to requirements.

After 32 years, his familyrun Mills Transport business has lost the contract to haul sugar cane for the North Coast's three sugar mills.

Now 35 specialised multi-lift truck and trailer systems will no longer be needed.

Meanwhile, the Melbournebased company awarded the contract, effective from the start of the 2005 crushing season, doesn't have the equipment.

Mr Mills said the transport system, which had been spe- cially modified for hauling sugar, was an integrated part of current New South Wales harvest operations.

"They haven't got it," he said.

"They will either have to purchase ours, or buy new stuff."

Mr Mills said the Melbourne company had so far not approached him with an offer for the equipment.

Mr Mills said the replacement cost of the 35 new units would be about $11 million.

According to Mr Mills, the new contractors have stated they are looking to take on the 110 permanent seasonal drivers currently employed by Mills' on its sugar operations.



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