Gerard Malone was born into a Suckler farming household in the townland of Leitrim, near Castlewellan, Co. Down.
It was here that the Down-native first developed a taste for the haulage industry and also helped out on the family’s farm, whether it was on his father’s Suckler enterprise or on any of his uncles’ various different farms.
“We have a small farm. Dad would be at it part-time and basically, all of my uncles have farms.” Gerard explained to Kevin of That’sFarming.
The family focus is on beef, with the Malone’s keeping a variety of continental crossbreeds, while one of Gerard’s uncles keeps some Purebred Limousin cattle on his farm. Gerard says he still helps out on his father, Brian’s, farm on occasion, though admits this is only the odd time due to time constraints.
“My uncle would be big into the Limousins. He would have a fair few purebred bulls.” Gerard stated.
Gerard’s journey into the industry -
For Gerard, the love of trucks was first developed at a young age through work carried out by his uncle. This meant many childhood days were spent in the cab alongside one of his family members, accompanying them on some of their many haulage trips.
“I grew up with an uncle who ran a fleet of rigid lorries.” Gerard said.
“I would have always been kicking about at the weekends and summer holidays whenever they were about.” He continued.
This is what began an addiction to machinery and engines for Down native, Gerard, though originally the haulier had intended on becoming a car mechanic. This dream of becoming a car mechanic was not too last long, however, with the roar of the trucks proving too strong and Gerard eventually taking on his rigid and articulated lorry driving tests.
“I always wanted to be a car mechanic. But when I was about 22 I got fed up of it (mechanics) and got the lorry licence.” Gerard told Kevin.
“I was 22 when I got the rigid licence and I was 23 when I got the artic.” He adds.
This is what truly marked the beginning of Gerard’s first foray into the haulage sector and following the receipt and completion of both licences, he began his career behind the wheel, first for some local hauliers.
“I did a lot of local and rigid, eight-wheeler tipper work. Then that went quiet and I ended up going doing local fridge work for Crossgar Food Service.” Gerard explained.
From here, Gerard soon took on a role working behind the wheel of articulated lorries with Morgan McLernon Transport, mainly hauling in the UK.
“I think I was there for maybe under a year and after that, I wanted European work,” Gerard said.
This led to the Castlewellan man driving across the continent, traveling through countries such as Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden.
“It was all continental work…That was brilliant. I loved that. I was doing it when I was 23 or 24.” Gerard noted.
Although Gerard thoroughly enjoyed the experience of cross-continental haulage, with a young family at home the decision was made to retire from the position and return home where he worked for various other local hauliers. This saw Gerard driving throughout Ireland and the UK and although he again enjoyed the work, his young family at home made him reassess his working arrangements.
“I was working, back and forth to the UK for a while, for Sloan Transport in Armagh.” Gerard stated.
“There was a lot of English work, being away all week. I like that, but I was always planning on buying my own lorry.” He added.
This urge to drive under his own name is what pushed Gerard on and he eventually went one step closer to fulfilling his dream, with the completion of a Transport Manager CPC course. This, however, led to another role within the industry for Gerard, with the Down man taking on a role as a transport planner for a two-year period with another haulage company.
This experience, Gerard says, helped prepare him sufficiently for running a company of his own and then subsequently led to the founding of Malone Freight Ltd, which was originally set up over three years ago, helping Gerard fulfil what had become a lifetime goal.
Malone Freight LTD originally began with one lorry, Gerard’s maiden purchase, carrying out contract haulage work for a local haulier to the UK, before things quickly got busier for Gerard.
“I started with one lorry, on local work…I then started doing wee bits on my own and UK trips.” He said.
“I then went onto working with McBurney’s. McBurney’s were busy and I then ended up getting the second lorry.” Gerard added.
From here, things progressed quickly and not long after, Gerard added another two lorries to the fleet. The team behind Malone Freight Ltd were predominantly responsible for traction haulage work up until recently when they also began carrying out dry freight haulage throughout Europe, as well as refrigerated haulage.
Gerard admits to being involved in “everything” to do with the business, whether it be office work or behind the wheel, something he still enjoys to this day. Malone Freight LTD currently carry out UK fridge and International Curtainside work for Maxi and traction work with McBurney Transport in quieter periods.
Currently within the Malone Freight Ltd fleet, is a team of three lorries. This consists of a Scania 560 and two Volvo lorries, two FH13’s (2013). Gerard admits, that the Scania 560 is the pride and joy of the fleet.
The team had previously ran four lorries up until recently, with Gerard noticing there is a vast difference in difficulty in running a fleet bigger by one truck. When behind the wheel, Gerard tends to stick to the Volvo’s.
“I tend to stick with the Volvo’s myself…I then generally stick to the messy work out in England, which suits me.” Gerard said.
“At the minute, I am finding it comfortable running with the three lorries. For reasons you just cannot control, things just don’t fall into place and It’s hard to get a fourth one out.” He added.
The fourth lorry in the fleet was sold in recent years to allow for the expansion of haulage services offered and for the purchase of a refrigerated trailer.
Future of Malone Freight Ltd -
In terms of the future, Gerard admits he is happy with how things are going with no major plans to change things in the short term.
The main aim for the coming years is the consolidation of the progress made in the company’s three short years of business to date. The fleet was only recently updated last year, so Gerard doesn’t envisage adding to the ranks any time soon. One purchase that may arrive in the coming twelve months is another refrigerated trailer.
“I don’t know I might go for another fridge trailer.” He stated.
Gerard’s main dream growing up was to run with a fleet of five lorries and although he admits this is a possibility at some stage, he is not rushing into any decision.
“Ideally I always wanted five lorries, but I don’t know, I wouldn’t be rushing to go that way at the minute.” the haulier said.
In the longer term, Gerard admits he may be joined behind the wheel by one of his children at some stage, with his stepson and youngest daughter retaining a strong interest in the industry and trucks.
“The wee girl is only two and a half and she is lorry mad.” Gerard laughs.
One thing is certain for the future of Malone Freight Ltd is that Gerard will not vacate his driving seat just yet.
“It is getting worse. I think I am doing more driving now than I did when I started with one lorry.” Gerard laughed.
Why Haulage -
It was the love for lorries that first drew Gerard Malone into a career within the haulage industry and the Down native still retains this ‘grá’ to this day, but also admits he doesn’t know what the cause of his addiction to the road is.
“I suppose it is the love of lorries.” He told Kevin.
“If I gave up, I don’t know what else I would do.” Gerard said.
It may have started off as an addiction to lorries, but it has now become a way of life for Gerard Malone and Co. He may have only begun his haulage journey only three years ago this year, but in doing so, Gerard has achieved something he hoped he would for the majority of his life.
Now flying the flag proudly for Co. Down and the Malone family near Castlewellan in the Mourne County, Gerard Malone will continue doing what he does best, with a smile on his face. He is well and truly living his dream.
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