Hall of Fame Inductee 2021
Steve started his transport career driving trucks for RR Price Limited back in the late 1960s carting timber products to and from the local sawmills around Christchurch.
Steve Murphy Ltd (SML) started in 1981 with one truck carting logs under contract to Oldins Sawmill in Christchurch. Due to the closure of the sawmill in 1984, Steve became an owner driver for Neil Graham at Mainfreight between 1984/85.
Steve’s true passion was in the logging sector and when an opportunity arose to work alongside Shands Road Sawmill in 1985 he went for it. Steve still carts most of the produce for this customer today.
In 1993 Steve was awarded a contract for the local Pulp Mill in Sefton called Canterbury Timber Products. This contact was then novated to CHHF who managed the local Forest Estate established by New Zealand Forest Services. SML still has a cartage agreement with the estate’s present owner, Rayonier Matariki Forest.
In 1999, SML initiated a “binwood” forest waste recovery process using self-loading trucks to collect a previously under-utilised resource.
In 2000 Steve put on a Log/Woodchip unit between Christchurch and the West Coast and then in 2001 purchased an existing Bulk Cartage business carting all the woodchips from domestic manufacturers into CTP in Sefton. SML continues carting out of all these sawmills under contract to New Zealand Pine Processors.
In 2003 SML joined the regions other large forestry business, McCarthy Wilshire Transport and established a management company called Canterbury Dispatch Limited, which planned, dispatched, and provided data processing of all log deliveries for Carter Holt Harvey in Canterbury.
In 2007 SML purchased McCarthy Wilshire Transport and became the largest forestry logistics business in Canterbury. Focus was put into developing an information technology system for tracking and recording harvesting production, customer orders, vehicle dispatch, vehicle utilization and invoicing. TrakIT was created and is used extensively within SML but also by SML’s forest owner and forest management clients. The system today has logging crews and trucks within cab tablets that enable real time tracking of production and work allocation.
Over the last decade SML has maintained its status as the largest forestry logistics business in Canterbury and the passion, high standards and dedication that drove SML’s success is firmly intrenched in the company’s culture and brand.
SML is renown in Canterbury for the presentation of the company vehicles. If you drive past the yard on the weekend, you will often see truck spotters looking through the fence and taking photos of the trucks all freshly washed and lined up in a perfect line.
SML has also tried to be a market leader in safety systems and performance, and this was recognised in 2017 at the Champion Canterbury Business Awards winning the ACC Workplace Safety Award.
One of Steve’s key strengths is his personality, humour, and ability to work with people regardless of the situation. He has a reputation for being firm but fair and has always shared the success of the business with his staff by rewarding them with above average working conditions, a stable environment and modern equipment.
In the early 2000s Steve’s son Chris became a shareholder giving Steve the assurance that the brand will continue through the generations.
Steve is a Canterbury Forest Industry icon, extremely well respected for his ethics, dedication, innovation, wonderful sense of humour and his success.