Features

Connecting South Australia to the World

Shipping container being unloaded

With the recent addition of a Warehousing & Distribution arm, Flinders Port Holdings continues to consolidate its presence as a complete port-based logistics provider. MHD talks to Michelle English, Flinders’ Business Development Manager.

Michelle English, Business Development Manager at Flinders Port Holdings (FPH), says the organisation’s mission is to provide a complete port-centric logistics solution to facilitate trade for South Australia. 

“By combining all the services that our group provides, FPH is able to offer customers an innovative, efficient and competitive solution,” Michelle says.

“FPH is the leading privately owned port operator in South Australia, handling the vast majority of the state’s imports and exports each year.”

FPH was originally established in 2001 through the acquisition of the 99-year land lease and licence for the operation of Port Adelaide and six regional ports across South Australia – Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Thevenard, Port Giles, Wallaroo and Klein Port. It also operates three other commercial ports in South Australia on behalf of third parties at Whyalla, Port Bonython and Ardrossan.

Through the provision of port infrastructure, stevedoring and logistics services, Michelle says FPH is working towards its goal of connecting South Australia to the world. This is achieved through FPH’s four main operating entities: Flinders Ports (FP), Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal (FACT), Flinders Logistics (FL), and its latest addition, Flinders Warehousing & Distribution (FWD). 

“FP is the port operator for our group’s seven ports, and also performs marine operations at other commercial ports, as well as having a hydrographic survey division,” Michelle says. “FACT is South Australia’s only container terminal operator, handling international containerised imports and exports; and FL is our bulk logistics and stevedoring services providers – focusing on the mineral, oil and gas sectors in Australia.”

ADDING VALUE WITH FWD

With FWD in the mix, Michelle says the group can now provide full supply chain storage and handling. “The establishment of Flinders Warehousing & Distribution further strengthens our ability to offer a fully integrated supply chain solution by improving landside logistics,” she adds.

The addition of Flinders Warehousing & Distribution to the group – which operates from two sites, one of which is ambient temperature controlled and both connected to the container terminal and the empty container park. This allows for containers to be transferred quickly and without road transport.

“We can manage import biosecurity risks by doing rural tailgate inspections, fumigation, heat treatment, washing, general inspections, as well as the specialised handling of seasonal hitchhiker biosecurity pests, and the like. On the export biosecurity side, we can manage risk through our storage, packing, and inspection services, as well as the treatment of prescribed exports,” Michelle says.

For 3PL operations, Michelle says FWD offers extensive storage solutions. “We have seven weather protected loading bays, an undercover transport corridor of over 220 metres, and heavy rated hard stands for storage of containers,” she says.

Michelle adds that FWD also has “unrivalled expertise” in managing Out of Gauge cargo, cargo that cannot be loaded into regular containers because of size, in a timely manner. This eliminates the need for permits from the first leg of transport to unpack containers.

Because FWD is integrated with Flinders’ empty container park, equipment can be transferred from the park to FWD for packing or unpacking, thus removing the need for road transportation. “This is another way we remove cost from the supply chain,” Michelle says.

LOOKING AHEAD

In early 2021, Flinders Port Holdings completed its first master plan, which sets out the future of the company’s ports and infrastructure over the next 50 years. 

“This plan builds on the group’s previously released Sustainability Plan,” Michelle says. “It includes numerous provisions to align Flinders Port Holdings’ logistics and port operations with emerging environmental, social, and governance standards.”

FWD was established in 2019, which in retrospect might seem a rocky time to have embarked on such a project given the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the following year. But Michelle says one must always be prepared for the unexpected. 

“The only thing certain in logistics is constant change, and you have to be prepared to adjust to trends and challenges as they present themselves,” she says. “We have just continued to focus on meeting the demands of our customers, whether that be as a result of heightened biosecurity risk, or international trade relations. For us, ensuring that our suite of services reflects industry needs is paramount.”

Given its track record, Michelle has strong grounds to be optimistic for Flinders’ prospects moving ahead. This year, the group celebrates its 20th anniversary. 

“Since our founding as Flinders Ports with a staff of 191, we have expanded into one of the most important private companies in the state,” she says. “Through our operations, we facilitate over $25 billion in international trade annually, employ over 700 people, and indirectly support a further 6000 jobs in South Australia. And the more we grow, the more we connect South Australia with the world at large.”

For more information on Flinders Port Holdings, click here

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