Lifeline keeps courier on the road

AILING courier business Road Runners will expand with more jobs and volume under a rescue plan by trucking magnate Chas Kelly.

Mr Kelly bought Road Runners for an undisclosed price on Friday, after hearing the day before that the business had gone into administration.

The administrator cut all 80 jobs and was set to close depots in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport on Friday night, before Mr Kelly stepped in.

But yesterday Mr Kelly said it was a ``good business' with underlying strength and had only foundered because it lost a contract last year.

He said it was ``business as usual'' for Road Runners and he was re-employing 50 of the workers who lost their jobs and the doors would be open tomorrow.  

The business will keep its name and be a sister company to Chas Kelly Transport, SeaRoad and other companies in Mr Kelly's transport stable. 

``It will be a stand-alone operation, it is a good operation,'' Mr Kelly said.

``It went into receivership through losing a contract so it needs to be resized and they were unable to do that, the previous owners, but we were able to do it.''

He said that resizing meant cutting jobs and looking for efficiencies, but also looking for medium-term growth through exploiting market opportunities.

He expects to create 15 to 20 jobs within two years, with 10 to 15 in the North and North-West, by increasing freight volumes.

``And I think it has a great future, we will start from a smaller base . . . but still be able to offer the same service,'' Mr Kelly said.

``And we will be able to rebuild it to where it is a substantial business.

``It has good equipment, good people - they do an excellent job with what they do, there is a definite need in Tasmania for the service they offer.

``There will be opportunities from time to time with their service parameters and the routes that they run, that will give them a very good opportunity to grow the business.

``And they will have a good, sound financial footing now.

``There will be more volume, that is the plan - we will just concentrate on picking the pieces we want to do.''

Road Runners has been operating for 25 years and is based at Mornington, Hobart, with depots at Western Junction, near Launceston Airport, and East Devonport. It is mainly a door-to-door courier service but also handles pallet and container work.

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