ALC Forum Communique

The logistics industry will have to attract broad community support if it is to achieve regulatory reform and approval for major infrastructure projects, according to speakers at the Australian Logistics Council Forum 2016, held last week in Sydney.

More than 250 people attended Australia's premier freight logistics and supply chain event, with senior figures from across industry and government emphasising the need for action across a range of fronts to improve the efficiency of Australia's supply chains.

ALC Forum 2016 had a particular focus on improving frieght efficiency in New South Wales, where the state's freight is expected to double by 2030.

During his opening of the Forum, new ALC Chairman, Ian Murray, stressed the need to ensure Australia has the right infrastructure in place, operating efficiently, to underpin the continued growth of the logistics sector and of the Australian economy.

Other major forum points included:

  • Industry and government need to step up their efforts to work together to progress heavy vehicle road reforms to achieve more efficient freight movements 
  • Work needs to be done to convince the public of the benefits of logistics investment and reform, particularly to ports’ landside infrastructure, to underpin continued economic growth and community wellbeing
  • Corridor preservation must feature more prominently in jurisdictions’ long-term planning documents, with a greater buy-in from all levels of government
  • Improving rail access to Australia’s major ports, as well as their linkages to key inland intermodal facilities, is critical to increasing port capacity and decreasing road congestion in our major cities 
  • Industry and government need to work closer together to improve the efficient delivery of parcels in CBD areas brought about by the growth in e-retailing 
  • The inland rail line has to be built, with efficient connections to the ports in Melbourne and Brisbane, to support Australia’s future freight effort and to move north-south freight out of the Sydney basin
  • Practical steps need to be taken to maximise the economic and environmental benefits of an efficient maritime freight sector 
  • ALC to take a leadership role to increase diversity and inclusion in the logistics industry 
  • ALC to consult with regulators on behalf of industry on proposed changes to Chain of Responsibility provisions contained within the Heavy Vehicle National Law 
  • Opportunities exist to increase the efficiency of air freight movements at Sydney Airport

Anticipation builds as program is released for ASMEX 2016

The Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX) has today released the Australian Superyacht and Marine Export Industry Conference (ASMEX) program outlining a high calibre of international and national speakers and covering a broad range of topics to be covered over the two day conference.

The ASMEX program is now available on the AIMEX, Superyacht Australia and ACMG

The ASMEX Conference is the only platform providing opportunities for industry to gain up to date information on the state of the marine export, superyacht and commercial marine industries and where it is believed future business will come from. The conference will be held at the 5 star Intercontinental Hotel at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, running over 2 days, 17 – 18 May and includes a welcome function sponsored by Muir Winches Australia, the prestigious 2016 Australian Marine Industry Awards Gala Dinner, and conference closing drinks sponsored by MedAire.

The conference is conveniently organised to be held immediately prior to the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show and the Gold Coast Marine Expo ensuring maximum opportunity for all key industry exhibitors and stakeholders to attend.

Support of this key industry conference has again been outstanding with industry realising the opportunity for brand profile alongside this event.

Pantaenius Yacht Insurance has maintained their support and return as major sponsors of ASMEX 2016, alongside the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show who return as a key sponsor supporting the industry.

The Gold Coast City Council will again hold an Innovation Showcase for Gold Coast marine industry businesses to showcase their products over the period of the conference.

Supporting sponsors of the conference include Australian Made, Aqualuma LED Lighting, AwlGrip, Gold Coast City Marina, Line 7, MedAire, Muir Winches Australia, Negociants Australia, Palm Products, Penske Power Systems, Pyrotek Noise Control, Sevenstar Yacht Transport, VEEM and Vetus Maxwell. Media partners of ASMEX include Albatross PR, IBI, Ocean Magazine, The Superyacht Group and Shipmate Marine Directory.

The ASMEX social programme provides significant opportunities for delegates to network with like-minded industry players.

The pinnacle of the conference is the announcement of the 2016 Australian Marine Industry Awards which will occur during the conference Gala Dinner on Tuesday 17th May. This year additional networking opportunities have been added to the social program through conference closing drinks giving delegate’s ample opportunity to meet and greet with key industry stakeholders throughout the duration of the conference.

Tempo wins Rio Tinto Cape Lambert port expansion contract

Tempo has won an SMP contract for Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port expansion project.

The $13.4 million contract will see Tempo Australia, through its subsidiary Tempo Construction and Maintenance, provide structural, mechanical, and piping miscellaneous works as well as commissioning support for Rio Tinto's expansion works at the port.

Tempo general manager Daniel Hibbs said the company is "pleased to have been given the opportunity to execute the miscellaneous SMP and commissioning support works at Cape Lambert".

This win is Tempo's first major contract directly with Rio Tinto.

Xenophon says end of auto scheme will accelerate industry’s collapse

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon has criticised the federal government’s decision to end the Automotive Transformation Scheme in 2018, saying it will speed up the demise of the sector.

Treasurer Joe Hockey, who delivered his first budget yesterday, said the scheme will end due to the decision by Ford, Holden and Toyota to end car manufacturing. They will all have shut their factories by the end of 2017.

The predicted savings from ending the ATS are $176.7 million in 2018-19, followed by $95.2 million and $28.6 million in the two years following.

Xenophon said there would be a “manifestly inadequate” $400 million remaining in funding from 2015 in the scheme, which has been running since 2011 and assists those involved in the automotive industry to diversify.

"They have simply chopped the scheme off at 2018 without bringing that funding forward to the years in which it could make a real difference to the automotive supply chain,” he told the ABC.

"The consequence of that is that there won't be a chance for the industry to restructure and transition for the 10,000-plus jobs that are involved in the automotive products sector."

Richard Reilly from the Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers said it would harm research and development in the sector.

The task of transitioning away from automotive for suppliers in the industry is generally seen as a difficult task. Industry expert Professor Goran Roos has predicted that around 20 – 25 per cent of auto suppliers who have not yet diversified will survive.

Image: News Corp

Sandvik launches new high productivity centre in Orange

Sandvik has officially opened a new repair and remanufacturing centre in Orange.

The $5.5 million centre, which will focus on hard rock mining equipment, incorporates a high tech repair and rebuild facility as well as a paint booth and parts warehouse.

When asked why it was opening a new support facility in midst of a mining slowdown, Sandvik Mining’s vice president Jim Tolley stated “mining is always cyclical, and this is a time where we have breathing space to regroup for the future”.

According to Sandvik the Orange facility “has been purpose-built to help it better serve the needs of the mines in the region, and improve safety performance in line with its customer requirements”.

Speaking at the opening, Sandvik’s Jim Tolley said the site is focused on “raising the standards for equipment turnaround and efficiency”.

Tolley went on to say “it incorporates a state-of-the-art workshop and a warehouse, each of which are larger than our entire previous facility in Orange – and because of our standardised processes and readily available spare parts, we can provide rapid and cost-efficient repairs”.

“This includes the ability to rebuild equipment to as-new condition, to Sandvik’s OEM specifications and standards, and with full factory warranty.”

He explained that there is a major focus on aftermarket service for the company, with around 75% of Sandvik’s staff worldwide dedicated to customer support, and an aim to increase efficiency in the area.

“In the aftermarket we haven’t see very high productivity gain, which is why we’re introducing the high productivity methodology in to the aftermarket business. We’re focusing on driving out waste in aftermarket and support.”

Sandvik are doing this by “looking at the process in a holistic way and investigating lean systems and six sigma”.

In doing this, Tolley said the company has cut the average remanufacture time from 15 000 hours down to 10 000 hours, and is looking at driving it even further down”.

Sandvik’s productivity manager Drew Zammitt explained that has been done b “applying different rebuild techniques over traditional technical, and creating lean rebuild bays to limit excessive movement”.

The facility will also house field service technicians.

Our field service technicians can also carry out machine inspections, advise on operational and maintenance practices, and assist customer technicians,” Tolley said.

“Whether it’s scheduled or unscheduled maintenance calls, our field service technicians have the in-depth product knowledge and rapid support response to get customers’ equipment up-and-running as soon as possible.

According to workers on the site, the technicians can get as many as three to four call-outs a day over the weekend.

The facility will employ approximately 40 people on site, but may expand as more nearby mines come online, and major expansions such as East Cadia, occur.

“We can currently do about four times the current level of work at this facility,” Tolley said, “without expanding the site, but we do expect more work once Cadia expands and East Cadia comes online.”

The centre is one of four nationally, with the others located in Perth – focusing on hard rock mining; Heatherbrae – focusing on coal mining for NSW; and Mackay, which focuses on coal and hard rock mining.

During the launch the company also announced that it will be releasing an automated production and development drill next year, with Sandvik explaining that “we’re looking to take more information from the face during operation and bring in more mining planning software, and automation will allow us to do this”.

Schweppes Archerfield replaces paper with voice

Schweppes Archerfield Distribution Centre (DC) has called upon integrations systems supplier Dexion and Vocollect by Honeywell to deliver automated voice-directed picking.

Prior to automated voice‐directed picking, Schweppes Archerfield used manual paper processes. This system relies on workers planning their picking routes based on paper picking sheets, which led to inefficiencies and also allowed for human error.

Schweppes Australia’s Archerfield DC operates five days a week, 24 hours a day and can pick up to 16,000 cases every day.

Under the new automated system, workers are directed via the Vocollect SRX2 wireless headset to a specific location in the warehouse to pick a specific type of product, eliminating the chance of manual intervention.

Queensland distribution manager of Schweppes Australia, Mike Heide said that in the first week of using the voice system, picking errors were reduced by 90 percent. “Our employees now have greater freedom, mobility and safety,” he said.

Paul Phillips, regional manager of Australia and New Zealand for Vocollect said the system helps enhance the facility’s customer service levels.

“The Vocollect Voice solution directs workers to their correct location, tells them how many cartons or products they need to pick, gets them to confirm this back to the system – taking a carton count, all of which helps ensure correct products are picked and go right to the customer,” Phillips said.

Image: pca.org.au

Ford may leave before 2016: union

Ford could cease manufacturing cars in Victoria before 2016 if the government cuts assistance to the car industry, according to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).

As the ABC reports, Ford intends to continue making cars at Broadmeadows and Geelong until 2016. However, the AMWU said that any changes to the Federal Government’s Automotive Transition Scheme could jeopardise that plan.

Dave Smith, the head of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union vehicle division told the Herald Sun that, of the three car makers, Ford’s position is the most uncertain.

“While Toyota and Holden seem to be quite genuine that they want to stay in Australia until 2017 and build cars, Ford’s position is not as clear,” he said.

“The component industry is very fragile, it can fall over at any moment.”

Referring to the possibility that the Automotive Transition Scheme could be altered in the May budget, Smith said, “If they decide to drop off on that, then it (the car industry) will be over very quickly.”

However, Ford spokesman Neil McDonald told the Herald Sun the company remains committed to an October 2016 departure date.

“Our aim is to continue manufacturing until October 2016. We are committed to the new Falcon and Territory models and those cars will be on sale at the end of the year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Herald Sun reports that there have been calls for the announcement of successful recipients of funds from the Melbourne North and Geelong investment funds to be sped up.

The schemes, funded by Ford as well as the federal and state governments, are intended to boost employment in the manufacturing sector in the wake of the decisions by all car makers to pull the plug on their Australian manufacturing operations.

Broadmeadows state Labor MP Frank McGuire has called for successful recipients to be announced all in one go to give councils the chance to co-ordinate necessary training needs of workers.

McGuire claimed the government is “drip feeding” the announcements for political reasons.

However, according to a spokesman for State Manufacturing Minister David Hodgett, they are being drip fed not only so the companies are publicised but also because some of them haven’t signed contracts yet.

Flexcube caters to the ‘new world’ wine market with polymer barrels

Melbourne based wine barrel innovator, Flexcube is looking to capitalise on an increase in demand for its products in the ‘new world’ wine regions of the United States and South America.

Flexcube manufactures patented oxygen-breathing polymer and oenological oak wine barrels which despite often being shunned by traditionalist wine makers, claim to last up to four times longer than the expensive traditional oak varieties, resulting in a significant reduction in operating costs, The Age reports.

The company’s chief executive, Peter Steer says that the increase in international demand could see foreign sales account for up to half of the company’s annual turnover. Flexcube has forecast growth of up to 40 percent for the 2014-15 financial year, representing a total of $5.2 million after tax providing that the company remains on target.

Steer says that although international demand for his patented barrels is highly encouraging, the fact that Flexcube manufactures its product in Australia means that the company has exceptionally high overheads.

"Our cost base is way too high," Steer told The Australian Financial Review. "I look at our industry and sometimes despair at the competition at global level."

Steer believes that it is these high overheads that often discourage Australian companies from entering the international marketplace.

Despite this, Steer says that together with the North American and South American markets, the company is also looking to expand to the more traditional wine regions of Europe.

"We always intended the company to service the international market, as Australia represents merely five per cent of the global barrel market," said Steer.

Over the past five years, Fexicube’s sales have grown by 20 percent annually. Annual sales for the company hit $2.45 million after tax in 2012-2013, and current sales are on track to reach $3.6 million after tax for the 2013-2014 financial year.

Padbury’s Oakajee plan ‘unrealistic’: WA Premier

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said there is “very little prospect” Padbury Mining’s $6 billion plan to develop the Oakajee rail and port project would gain his government’s backing.

In what comes as a blow to the seemingly shaky deal, Barnett told reporters “there is little substance behind Padbury.”

He said he had not meet with representatives of the junior mining company and did not intend to, The Australian reports.

The strongly worded comments come as Padbury is today preparing to announce to the market the funding arrangements for the deal.

Yesterday, Padbury revealed Sydney businessman Ronald Breyer was tied to the two companies involved the development, Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings.

Bleyer this week told the media he was ''chairman of the finance committee” for the companies.

Asked if he would support a ­realistic proposal put forward by Padbury, Barnett said:

“I don’t believe it’s realistic — simple as that.”

Padbury Mining first announced it had backing for the Oakajee project on April 11.

ABC reports the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is looking into Padbury's disclosure and share trading in relation to the deal.

Bleyer has been involved in a number of failed business ventures of late.

Last month the NSW Supreme Court ordered Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings repay money to aged care company Craigcare after a $500 million funding deal failed.

While last year, a $260 million deal with junior mining company Fairstar Resources also fell through.

Padbury is expected to announce the funding deal rests on the support of a Korean construction company fronting up 20 per cent of the project costs.

The company’s shares remain suspended.

$6 billion Oakajee port and rail deal funding partner revealed

Padbury Mining has again failed to reveal the identity of its $6 billion funding partner for the Oakajee port and rail project, but Sydney business man Roland Bleyer has claimed responsibility for the deal.

Following days of speculation as to who the mystery backer was, Bleyer reportedly revealed limited details to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper reports Bleyer said a number of private companies including Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings were working on a deal to fund the project.

Bleyer said he was a ''chairman of the finance committee'' for the companies.

The revelation comes as Padbury Mining, which first announced it had backing for the project on April 11, again failed to reveal details of the funding partners’ identity as ordered by the ASX.

Padbury first said it would update the market last Tuesday, but then extended the trading halt to Thursday stating it was seeking information from the backers of the deal “in respect of their capacity to meet their funding obligations.”

It also said it was seeking consent to disclose the agreement in its entirety with the announcement.

However the company had sought an extension again, this time promising to make an announcement tomorrow.

The delay has fuelled industry chatter that the deal won’t go ahead amid concerns over its viability.

Managing director Gary Stokes said the announcement was legitimate.

Stokes said the project would open up the Midwest region to the 21 companies operating in it.

The original announcement said funding for the project will come in three tranches with the first delivering $US470 million ($501.2 million) to complete design and construction plans.

Bleyer said further details would be made available shortly after lawyers for Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings had given the go ahead for Padbury to release a copy of the ''counter-signed shareholders agreement''.

Bleyer has been involved in a number of failed business ventures of late.

Last month the NSW Supreme Court ordered Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings repay money to aged care company Craigcare after a $500 million funding deal failed.

While last year, a $260 million deal with junior mining company Fairstar Resources also fell through.

An online blog claims Bleyer started his career in New Zealand as a hair and skin treatment specialist while also developing interests in fashion and manufacturing.

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