Townsville Port opens to shipping after $40.7 million upgrade

The Port of Townsville’s Berth 4 container and general cargo facility has officially opened upon completion of a $40.7 million upgrade.
The two-year project has resulted in a full upgrade of the inner harbour berth so larger vessels can be accommodated and efficiency improved.
The project has doubled the capacity of Berth 4, allowing an additional 2 million tonnes of product per annum, delivering a 20% increase on current total port tonnage throughput capacity.
The upgrade will lead to more jobs in North Queensland due to the economic boost it would provide the region. Member for Townsville Scott Steware said: “The upgrade itself generated 100 local jobs, and the next phase, which involces crane investment and cargo infrastructure, will generate 35 direct jobs during construction. Berth 4 operations will also support ongoing jobs once the project is complete.”
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said that the successful completion of the project by local company CivilPlus Constructions demonstrated the capacity for large projects to be carried out by local companies.

Newly-launched uTenant portal the Airbnb of commercial leasing industry

A new online platform called uTenant offers a cost-effective alternative to commercial agents for Australia’s freight, logistics and warehousing industry – drawing comparisons to services such as Uber and Airbnb.
“uTenant is intended to disrupt the commercial leasing industry like Uber has for taxis and Airbnb has for holiday accommodation. For tenants, the web-based portal will curate a list of available properties based on their specific size, location and preferred term of lease amongst other things, and connect them with landlords to arrange inspections, negotiate terms and sign a lease,” explains uTenant founder and director, Matt Sampson.
uTenant is an online commercial property portal that streamlines finding, inspecting and leasing warehouse space for tenants, whilst amplifying property visibility for landlords, helping them to source tenants and lease space cheaper and faster.
The brainchild of entrepreneur and former commercial leasing agent Matt Sampson, uTenant puts tenants and landlords in direct contact and provides a confidential, transparent, cost- and time-effective alternative to the old way of leasing space.
“With uTenant, we have reimagined how industrial warehouse space is leased, providing significant advantages and savings for the two most important parties to the transaction – the tenant and the landlord,” says Sampson.
How uTenant works

  1. Tenants enter their specific requirements into the uTenant portal
  2. uTenant curates a tailored list of suitable properties, which have already been validated as legitimate
  3. Tenants shortlist preferred properties and arranges inspections directly with the landlord or through uTenant
  4. Inspections take place and direct tenant-landlord negotiations commence
  5. On conclusion of a lease, standard fee payable to uTenant by landlord, with uTenant sharing a percentage of this with the tenant (fee sharing n/a in NSW)


ALC welcomes Infrastructure Priority List

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has praised the Infrastructure Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) last week. The list confirms an ongoing need for investment in freight infrastructure projects that will enhance supply chain efficiency and safety, ensuring Australia remains internationally competitive.
“As an industry leader, ALC has always been among IA’s most enthusiastic supporters, because we have long believed that the best way to ensure effective infrastructure investment is for an independent umpire to make evidence-based assessments of projects, which can then be used by governments to inform decision-making,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.
“The release of the 2018 Infrastructure Priority List comes at a crucial moment, as the Commonwealth continues to develop the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy – an initiative which is again included as a high priority initiative on this year’s list,” continued Michael.
The key freight initiatives identified in the list are:

  • the Sydney Gateway connecting WestConnex to Port Botany & Sydney Airport;
  • the Port Botany Freight Rail Duplication to boost port efficiency;
  • the Chullora Junction upgrade to enhance Sydney’s freight rail network;
  • Preserving the corridor for the Western Sydney Airport fuel pipeline;
  • Preserving the corridor for Western Sydney Freight Line and Intermodal Terminal access;
  • Improving connection between Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway and CityLink;
  • Inland Rail and a dedicated freight rail connection to the Port of Brisbane; and
  • Implementation of the Advanced Train Management System on the ARTC network.

WWL cancels PrixCar deal for Australian logistics business

Shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA (WWL) – also known as Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions (WW Solutions) – has terminated its November 2017 plan to sell its inland transportation and technical service business in Australia to Australian vehicle storage and transportation company Prixcar, in exchange for a 20 per cent ownership share in Prixcar.
In a statement, WWL noted that the company is “well positioned for further growth in the Australian market” and now wishes to pursue new opportunities.
WWL has been working to find a partner to be able to grow in the land-based logistics market in Australia. The company has noted that is has been “fully committed” to a partnership, but due to a number of delays to the process and significant changes, has made the decision to withdraw from the transaction.
“The company is now well positioned for further growth in the high and heavy equipment space, especially in light of the capabilities added to the group with the recent acquisition of Keen Transport in North America,” the company stated.
Ray Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer, WW Solutions, added: “Our fundamentals are good and our ambition within the Australian market matches our global strategic objective to build unrivalled capability to serve the high & heavy equipment industry.”

Materials handling and conveying specialist ICA joins MEGATRANS2018

Industrial Conveying (Aust) (ICA) has signed on to exhibit at MEGATRANS2018 – a new supply chain and logistics trade show taking place in Melbourne, 10–12 May.
ICA offers a range of tailored engineered solutions to help manufacturers move materials and products around production facilities and around the world.
The business joins the growing list of material handling leaders signing on to showcase their wares at MEGATRANS2018.
Find out more.

"Census shows need for logistics employment focus": Isuzu chief

Following an in-depth review of the latest Census employment data, Phil Taylor, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Isuzu Australia, has called for transport and logistics stakeholders to consider the future prosperity of the industry.
Taylor noted that the Census revealed that the logistics workforce is ageing, while demand for freight is growing rapidly.
“The release of more detailed Census data in October last year provides even more compelling insights into the transport and logistics sector, and the picture it paints is cause for reflection,” he said. “In the 2001 Census, the average age of transport and storage workers was 35 to 44 years. In last year’s Census, the average transport, portal and warehousing employee had ages to be between 45 and 54 years old.
“We need to ensure that the operations knowledge of the current generation of transport and logistics professionals isn’t lost forever – the industry needs to start having the tough conversations about what can be done so a younger crop of professionals can inherit the wisdom of the industry’s current employees.”
He noted that employment in the sector grew 28 per cent in the previous 15 years, while freight grew by 40 per cent.
“Worker shortages in the transport and logistics sector will impact on all Australians,” he said. “An issue this broad needs a collaborative effort to generate innovative and meaningful solutions.”
Taylor praised the Federal Government’s $760 million Youth Jobs PaTH program, announced in the FY16/17 budget. “[The program] has created a circumstance where transport companies can partner with the Department of Employment to establish trial programs within the industry that aim to deliver tangible solutions in response to one of the most significant issues out industry is presently facing.
“The reality is that hiring employees is an expense for companies, and that many small-to-medium operators in the transport and logistics sector aren’t willing to take it on, especially if the feel any new employee might not be equipped with the skills necessary to hit the ground running.”

Ron Finemore Transport awarded Woolworths contract

Wodonga-based transport company, Ron Finemore Transport (RFT) has been awarded the Woolworths Refrigerated Meat Co Melbourne – Sydney – Melbourne looping service contract for the next three years.
RFT said in a statement that the freight task aligns with its continued investment in its driver and operational skill sets, market leading technology platforms, advanced temperature control safety features and its desire to increase its refrigeration footprint.
“RFT’s ability to provide live temperature GPS tracking data and set point temperature alert messaging configurations were highly valued by the Woolworths team, as is our proven ability within the NDC Melbourne – Sydney Linehaul shuttle contracts,” the company added.
“RFT’s continued investment in Blue Tree IT platforms enables our business to lead the market in real time location and temperature monitoring of product ranges.
“This new contract allows the opportunity for professional refrigeration drivers to join our RFT team to safely optimise our performance in this new business opportunity. It will also be important to continue to service the existing Woolworths contracts safely and reliably as well as deliver on the requirements of this new contract.
“Our performance, reputation and capability to retain and win work is determined by our continued ability to provide safe and reliable service and delivery to promise.”
The contract will commence on 16 April 2018, with four single 26-pallet refrigeration vehicles operating daily with an extra vehicle for Thursday service. RFT reportedly moves to B-double 36-pallet refrigeration vehicles in September/October 2018.

eStore Logistics commits to 12,500sqm NSW warehouse

Australian e-commerce fulfilment company eStore Logistics has committed to a 12,515sqm warehouse in LOGOS Property’s Marsden Park in New South Wales.
The company’s current clients include, Temple and Webster, Hairhouse Warehouse, Patagonia, Dick Smith and Essendon Football Club.
“This expansion highlights our rapid growth, driven by our market leading proprietary IT and omnichannel fulfilment service and solutions,” said Leigh Williams, Managing Director, eStore Logistics.
“Our new facility in Marsden Park will feature world-leading logistics systems that support robust e-commerce fulfilment processes. We have complex algorithms which minimise manual handling and human decision making while maximising accuracy. We’re excited to be expanding our business and making our services available to more online retailers and enabling them to get orders to their customers super-fast at low cost.”
Supply chain consultancy TM Insight carried out design work for the facility.
“We partnered with eStore Logistics to design a facility that maximised storage density, but also allowed for approximately 30 per cent of the warehouse footprint to be allocated for product staging and returns,” said Travis Erridge, Director, TM Insight. “It is pivotal that sufficient footprint is designated to product staging and returns, as it is an inherent challenge in the e-commerce landscape.
“Despite the allowance for a significant percentage of floor area being allocated to product staging and returns, the TM Insight design enabled eStore Logistics to achieve 1.5 pallets per square metre of floor area, well above the ratio that most 3PLs (third-party logistics operators) adopt in their operations.”
The facility will be operational in November 2018 and will have an end value of approximately $25 million.

Your latest MHD article: Auto challenges solved

The automotive industry is a powerhouse
The automotive manufacturing industry is one of the most important global economic sectors. Having grown from a nil base at the start of the 20th century to an industry that produced 72.11 million passenger cars in 2016, plus 22.5 million commercial vehicles(1) is remarkable. In revenue this is a global turnover of over €2 trillion(2), which equates to the 6th largest economy in the world, if it were a country. The industry globally employs over 9 million people(2) directly in making vehicles and parts, with each direct auto job supporting another 5 indirect jobs.
But the automotive industry can also top lists in relation to customer quality expectations, variety of products available, and process complexity. It is also an industry that continually must manage change. Since the invention of the modern car in 1886 by Karl Benz, personal vehicles have enabled people to live, work and spend their spare time in ways not possible before.
… and it is here to stay
Today, according to the NRMA(3), private car-based mobility is the preferred form of transport for most Australians. Owning and using your own car is primarily seen as safe, comfortable and peaceful, compared to public transport. This ‘auto mobility’ is so entrenched in the Australian mindset that it can be difficult to see a time where you may not own a vehicle.
The overall vehicle population continues to grow. Registration in Australia has seen steady growth from 14 million vehicles in 2006 to 18.8million in 2017(4).
Even considering some predictions of a tapering off of private car ownership, car sales are not expected to decline in the foreseeable future, with fleet ownership, including car sharing, anticipated to fill any deficit. In a 2017 NRMA report, Matthias Mueller, CEO Volkswagen outlined: “In the future, many people won’t own a car. But they can all be a customer in one way or another, because we will serve a much broader concept of mobility than today.” (3)

The future of automotive aftermarket looks bright
Within the general automotive industry, the aftermarket and spare parts sector can be identified separately and treated differently, and currently it is experiencing steady growth.
Revenue for this sector in Australia stands at $5.2 billion with annual growth of 2.5% in the five years to 2018, and the industry is expected to outperform the overall economy over the ten years to 2023. 5. The global aftermarket industry should reach $722.8 billion by 2020. (6)
One contributor is the increase in the average age of cars on the road. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017 car census(4), in Australia the average age is 10.1 years, with campervans the only category to record a decrease since 2010. In the USA, the average age of passenger vehicles is 11.6 years, which has continually risen. As people keep their vehicles longer and are placing more importance on preventative maintenance to maximise vehicle life, demand for aftermarket parts is increasing, making it important for spare parts suppliers to become smarter and more efficient with their supply chain and stock management. (7)
Why the automotive aftermarket logistics is unique
The automotive aftermarket sector is a very different industry, with unique logistical and stock management characteristics.
One such characteristic is the massive variety of items that are stocked. Parts can vary from replacement parts, lubricants, accessories, cosmetic improvement items, tyres, tools and repair equipment. The required SKU can be both small and large, from a bolt to a door panel; can be both simple and complex, from a floor mat to a clutch assembly; and can be heavy or light, from a short motor to a headlight bulb. This is supplemented by the larger range of vehicle models and options now available, especially with new technologies such as gas/electric hybrids. One single model series of a premium German automobile brand can reach over 1,000 possible automobile variations. (8) The number of distinct SKU handled by the automotive aftermarket has grown enormously: operators can have anywhere from 60,000 to 125,000 SKU in their supply chains. (7)
As well as a massive number of SKU on hand, each can have different stock turnover rates. Some SKU turn over fast, while others might only be ordered annually. Not only is keeping the right parts in stock an issue for the automotive aftermarket DC, but they also need to consider storage options, which make fast-moving SKU easier to access and handle.
Automotive aftermarket industry members have also recently managed the introduction of fast, easy delivery options for ordered parts, and the growth of the online retail market for parts and accessories. All this paints a picture of the automotive aftermarket industry as being one dealing with significant growth and change, and one that needs to be nimble, adaptive and have flexibility built into their DC and logistics management practices. Automotive supply chains need to become more responsive and flexible to remain competitive.
Solutions from an industry specialist
SSI SCHAEFER is recognised worldwide for delivering customised solutions that offer maximum efficiency, no matter the complexity. SSI SCHAEFER has been a partner to the automotive industry for many years and has delivered countless world-class solutions for some of the biggest industry names both in Australia and globally. The comprehensive range of its industry-focused products and solutions provides total logistics systems for automotive spare parts DC operations, which can be tailored precisely to each site’s requirements and focused on those attributes of particular industry importance.
For flexibility to cope with growing demand and changing SKU ranges, SSI SCHAEFER offers an extensive and diverse range of racking, shelving and mezzanine systems for all storage tasks for automotive SKU; from small parts storage to tyre, bumper bar, glass, and exhaust systems to name a few. Every solution is optimally and individually configured to meet specific requirements and can include a large variety of accessories to meet all storage needs. Highest quality, modular configuration, diverse combination options and the greatest flexibility are key features of SSI SCHAEFER solutions.
The R3000 shelving system developed by SSI SCHAEFER is ideally suited to small parts storage. It is a boltless shelving system that can also be used to build multi-tier mezzanines up to four levels high. This fully integrated and customisable product is complemented with a full range of accessories designed to provide almost unlimited options for the automotive industry.
SSI SCHAEFER’s plastic shelf containers are designed with the R3000 shelving system in mind. They create order, no matter the size and complexity of the operation and product range, and the RK series shelf containers achieve maximum cube utilisation within the shelf. Each container can also be separated into multiple compartments with dividers, which can be individually labelled for improved classification of small items. A rear lip is incorporated allowing the container to hang off the shelf for hands-free picking and replenishing.
For the larger items that are a natural part of the auto-parts product range, SSI SCHAEFER offers a variety of sturdy, robust, safe, and expandable pallet rack systems that include pallet racking, cantilever racking and drive-in racking storage as a starting point.

Improving picking productivity
Picking is central to warehouse logistics. SSI SCHAEFER has developed a range of picking systems that incorporate conveyor and software solutions. SSI SCHAEFER’s WAMAS software manages and controls all the intralogistics processes and encompasses efficient and flexible order processing functions. WAMAS is configured and implemented on customer sites by our 1,200-strong global software team, and a highly experienced contingent of Australian-based software engineers.
For more information call +61 2 8799 3600 or visit

  • The future of car ownership August 2017 report by NRMA and
  • IBIS World Motor vehicle Parts retailing in Australia Aug 2017.
  • ‘The Nuts and Bolts of the Automative Aftermarket Supply Chain – Merrill Douglas 20 September 2013.
  • “Supply Chain Management in the Automotive Industry” from

A few case studies

PM Automotive Group (formerly Preston Motors)
The PM Automotive Group is one of Australia‘s leading automotive and spare parts suppliers, trading since 1912. It operates two DC sites in Melbourne to provide better geographical coverage and customer service, and the new Campbellfield DC was commissioned in 2015.
The new system needed to be designed to grow and still has the capacity to accommodate up to a 30% increase in order output. At this DC, Preston Motors holds 50,000 SKU and handles 2,500 picks per day, including accommodating 200-300 emergency orders per day. Orders are despatched three times daily, with guaranteed same-day Melbourne delivery.
Warehouse manager Lou Micevski explains how the SSI SCHAEFER system caters well for the ebbs and flows of the automotive spare parts industry.
“Winter is a busier time, with more crash orders in the bad weather. One of the appealing aspects is that this new high-end system is efficient and quick, and it delivers significant noise reduction and power savings on the previous system.”
Slotting of items is performed on a dynamic basis. Incoming stock is automatically assigned a storage location based on its dimensions, movement and available storage locations. The system, designed and installed by SSI SCHAEFER includes VNA and selective pallet racking, special parts storage racking and shelving, R3000 shelving and mezzanine, plastic containers, and zone divert conveying and sortation system.

Multispares is the largest independent supplier of aftermarket truck and bus parts in Australia and New Zealand. Its products are sourced worldwide from leading manufacturers and specialist suppliers. At its 7,000+ m2 facility in Greystanes, NSW, more than 20,000 pick lines and 500 pallets of truck and bus parts are distributed monthly.
The system installed by SSI SCHAEFER was purpose-built for Multispares national and local branch demands. It maximises pick efficiency and was configured to current requirements but allows expansion to support future growth. It also delivers improved operating efficiency and employee safety.
“Our warehouse operations are critical to customer service delivery. SSI SCHAEFER’s broad range of high-quality storage solutions improved our warehousing efficiency and accuracy, giving us the opportunity to allow for expansion in the future,” said managing director of Multispares Geoff Stewart.
Volkswagen Group Australia

Facing strong automotive parts and accessories growth for the Volkswagen, AUDI and SKODA brands, the NSW-based NDC for Volkswagen Group Australia constantly reviews its in-house storage capacities to manage the orders for its dealer network of commercial and passenger vehicles.
In 2009, SSI SCHAEFER installed an automated two-storey small-parts shelving system in a new Melbourne DC to manage the Southern dealer network in Australia. This incorporates a conveyor system on both floors, narrow and wide aisle racking, and storage areas. An integral part of the fit-out is the R3000 shelving system that has been built as a two-tier mezzanine for the storage of awkward products and medium volume SKU. The system is designed to optimise storage options while minimising the space required to handle these specialist automotive parts.
With the success of this project, Volkswagen Group Australia has this year chosen SSI SCHAEFER to manage further expansion and development of both the Sydney and Melbourne DC. Both these projects are due for completion by the end of the year.

In the first decade of this century, BMW Group Australia had seen its sales increase by 85% with vehicle numbers nearly doubling. To ensure good customer service, BMW built a new 12,600m2 PDC in Moorebank, Sydney, while retaining its Melbourne Parts Distribution Centre.
SSI SCHAEFER installed selective pallet racking and R3000 modular shelving, configured as a three-tier mezzanine system with integrated lighting, goods hoist and sprinkler systems.
This twin-warehouse strategy with the introduction of the Sydney PDC is a demonstration of the commitment that BMW Group Australia has to its business partners, the dealer network and to vehicle owners. It means that BMW dealers across the country now receive optimum speed of delivery and customer service.
With the success of this project, BMW Australia has this year chosen SSI SCHAEFER to manage further expansion and development of the Sydney PDC. This project is due for completion by the middle of this year.

Livinia Nixon to host 2018 Mercury Awards

The votes are coming in, the judges are preparing to deliberate and it’s time to secure your tickets for the 2018 Mercury Awards.

Australian television presenter and actress Livinia Nixon will lead the proceedings, presiding over a night celebrating the very best people, companies, and initiatives Australia’s supply chain industry has to offer.

Theres still time left to submit your nominations – put forward the name of an exceptional individual, company or solution here until voting closes on 12 April.

Livinia Nixon.
Livinia Nixon.

The Awards ceremony, sponsored by the Victorian Government, the Port of Melbourne, Sick Australia and SEW Eurodrive, will take place on Saturday, 12 May, at Peninsula, on Central Pier in Melbourne’s Docklands.

The Mercury Awards is the official awards program of MEGATRANS2018, the business-to-business trade event focusing on the freight and logistics supply chain, which takes place 10–12 May at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Head to the Mercury Awards website to purchase tickets for individuals and tables.

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