Quester GWE tractor


A perfect business partner

The latest addition to Panthip’s 10-strong fleet, UD Quester, chalks up an average 100,000 kilometers every month. It’s the first UD truck produced outside of Japan catering specifically to growth markets. Jariya Khampakdee’s vehicle, driver at Panthip Transportation Service, has an 11-liter engine with horsepower that ranges from 220 to 420. The state-of-the-art design is complemented by an expansive interior and innovative fittings such as ergonomic seats and a cutting-edge dashboard. Long a fan of Japanese vehicles, Panthip’s founder Sitthikorn Sornsuchittra didn’t need much convincing when he switched to Quester in early 2014. “They are a mix between European and Japanese technology – it’s the best of both worlds.” The efficiency of the trucks and superior torque means the fleet consumes less fuel, helping to cut costs and save energy. That’s a major plus in keeping up with the competition, he says.

Competition has been fierce with many rivals switching from diesel vehicles to those fuelled by cheaper liquefied petroleum gas or natural gas, then slashing their route rates to undercut Panthip’s prices. “I sold two of my trucks due to the increase in competition and really started to worry,” he says. “But then I discovered UD trucks, and while the UD trucks run on diesel, they consume much less fuel, and have torque specifications that few other trucks have. I’m saving a lot more money now, and I’m back in the game.”

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Lady on a quest

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The pride of a trucker

Jariya works about 60 hours a week and averages more than 500 kilometers per day. The long hours don’t bother her and the loneliness is apparently easy to stave off. “Every time I get into my truck, I leave all my stress, problems and worries behind. I have a passion for my job.” She loves her Quester and praises its amenities and Quester excellent ergonomics. “Driving Quester is not too difficult for a woman. When I drove it for the first time it immediately felt comfortable, giving me great confidence.” 

The demanding hours and distance from her hometown mean she doesn’t often see her family, who still worry about the road she has chosen. “It shocks them that I work in this sector because they all think it’s a dangerous career. But my truck is my life. If it is safe, my life is safe too. Every time I get into this truck I feel secure,” she says. 

Having Jariya on board has boosted the morale of the team, says Sitthikorn Sornsuchittra, the founder and owner of Panthip. “The other male drivers say, ‘if a female driver can do it, I can too!’ In fact, the overall performance of the company has improved as a result,” he says. He also believes the emergence of female drivers is improving discipline among the men and making them more competitive.