Leigh Italiano is quietly spoken but there’s no hiding the pride he takes in Northaul, the roadtrain bulk haulage business he set up in Port Hedland in 2006 in Western Australia’s hot and dusty Pilbara.
Born and bred in Collie, Leigh worked in the mining industry in Collie as a boiler maker, mainly on heavy earthmoving machinery.
“A friend asked me to build a couple of tipper trailers… that’s how I got involved in the road transport industry,” he recalls.
The boom’s not without its burdens though. “The 24/7 mentality up here certainly puts pressure on the family,” he confides. “Sometimes you just have to pack the wife and kids into the car and go away for a while.”
There’s no shortage of construction projects. For example, CITIC Pacific’s $5 billion iron ore mine at Cape Preston, south of Karratha, is under development and Northaul roadtrains are carting to two of the four batching plants on site.
Leigh is operating ten roadtrains of his own, and has up to three sub-contractors working for Northaul at any one time.
His biggest roadtrains are quad-trailer units operating at 163.5 tonnes, and all are propelled by Cummins engines – one Signature 600 EGR, four Gen II Signature 620s, and one N14 Plus. A further Signature 600 EGR has recently purchased has now been put to work, powering a T908 Kenworth.
Leigh is a respected business figure in the Pilbara who now calls Port Hedland home. You can even see his smiling face on a billboard in South Hedland, promoting Landcorp’s redevelopment of the town centre