Rio Tinto places order for 20 autonomous trucks

Caterpillar is to supply machinery and autonomous technology for Rio Tinto’s Koodaideri iron ore project in the Pilbara, Western Australia.
The scope of the equipment includes 20 autonomous 793F trucks and four autonomous blast drills, in addition to automation technologies and enterprise systems.
Caterpillar will complement Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future program by integrating data analytics technologies to boost production and safety.
“The Caterpillar team is looking forward to working with Rio Tinto to apply our proven mining equipment and technology and to implement additional MineStar autonomy solutions at Koodaideri — a new mine designed to capitalise on leading-edge technology,” Caterpillar group president Resource Industries Denise Johnson said.
“We are excited to work together to advance Rio Tinto’s mine automation and digitalisation program.”
Rio Tinto’s $3.8 billion Koodaideri development is the company’s next major project in the Pilbara region. It is expected to create 600 permanent jobs over a 30-year mine life.
The project is pencilled for a production start date of late 2021 and will produce up to 43 million tonnes of iron ore a year.
Western Australian Cat dealer WesTrac will organise the supply of the equipment to Koodaideri. The agreement between the two companies will create 50 new Western Australia-based roles.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said the partnership would build “the most technology-enabled and innovative mine” in the company’s Pilbara iron ore network.
“Technology is rapidly changing our mining operations as we harness innovation to make our operations safer, smarter and more productive. This extension of our partnership with Caterpillar and WesTrac represents an exciting step for our business,” Salisbury said.

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.”

NTP Forklifts unveils 15,000sqm NSW facility

NTP Forklifts Australia has officially launched its new facility in Huntingwood, New South Wales.
Customers, suppliers and equipment manufacturers attended the opening of the 14,590sqm site, which is almost double the size of NTP’s previous facility in Granville.
The site features a 7,900sqm under-cover warehouse, a 1,000m parts warehouse, eight-metre high racking and an indoor wash bay.
“A lot of hard work by our staff was required to ensure our new facility would cater to all out customers,” said Greg Sharp, General Manager – Sydney Branch, NTP Forklifts Australia. “The Open Day was a great opportunity for customers, suppliers and our equipment manufacturers to tour our new facility, view our extensive range of equipment and engage in product demonstrations.”
Damien Garvey, Managing Director, NTP Forklifts Australia, added: “We are very proud to officially open our new Sydney premise and to present our extensive range of world-leading material handling equipment to a larger audience.
“This investment demonstrates our company’s future commitment to our staff, the New South Wales market and more importantly to our growing customer base.”

Linde Material Handling realigns product offering

Linde Material Handling Australia has introduced a new approach to categorising and presenting its solutions, with a focus on reaching customers for whom materials handling does not represent a core element of their business.
Nino Pala, Managing Director, Linde Material Handling Australia, noted that a growing number of Linde customers do not fit within the warehousing, logistics or manufacturing space, rather they use materials handling equipment to support other business functions.
As such, the company has moved to simplify its categorisation of products.
“We’ve categorised products to make choices simpler than ever and to help us provide solutions that meet both operational and commercial requirements,” said Pala. “One look at our range will illustrate the scope and differences that [Linde equipment range] Kion is able to offer from a material-handling perspective.
“That’s why we’re now identifying and introducing models for businesses which typically have lower intensity use of their material handling equipment, as a support to their operations. As an example, think of homewares retailers, whose premises combine a showroom and an attached warehouse – a typically lower intensity forklift environment.”
To complement this new approach Linde reviewed its entire range and identified ‘Value’, ‘Performance’ and ‘Performance Plus’ characteristics and abilities.
The Value range encompasses models identified as suitable for lower-demand applications, Performance models are designed for medium-demand applications and Performance Plus models suit businesses with high-demand applications.
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“While other equipment suppliers might correctly identify a customer’s business as being a low-, medium- or high-intensity environment, our specialist consultants are experienced in digging much deeper when it comes to equipment requirements,” said Pala.
“Without doing so it is all too easy to fall into the ‘one-type-fits-all’ mistake, supplying equipment not really suited to individual roles within a fleet. Frankly that doesn’t serve the customer or supplier well in the long run.
“The starting point of our approach is to recognise that there may be a mixture of low, medium and high demand forklift capability requirements within any given fleet or workplace. Our specialists can then specify precisely the appropriate model for every role. And that applies to small businesses as well as large enterprises.”
Pala added that the new approach is possible thanks to the breadth of Linde Australia’s product range.
“Let’s face it, customers in Australia have a wide choice of material handling equipment providers,” he said. “However, from my perspective, Linde stands alone with its full suite of material-handling solutions for all customers, large and small.
“Understanding the difference between price and value is important in any decision that we make, but more so when it comes to material-handling equipment. I believe Linde also gives customers the opportunity to choose a supplier that is a leader in productivity, safety and efficiency, a company committed to providing the best service within the industry.”

Kalmar acquires Australian port service business

Materials handling equipment manufacturer Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has signed an agreement to acquire the port services business of Inver Engineering in Australia.
The investment reportedly supports Kalmar’s strategic aim to grow in services while strengthening and broadening the company’s existing service capabilities throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
The acquisition closed on 29 December, 2017.
Inver Engineering, a privately owned company established in Melbourne in 1981, services ports, and the rail, petrochemical, oil and gas and manufacturing industries, while Inver Port Services, part of Inver Engineering, provides repairs, maintenance and crane refurbishment projects for terminal operators across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
“We are excited to welcome the Inver Port Services team to Kalmar Australia,” said Peter McLean, Senior Vice President, Kalmar Asia-Pacific. “The region is a strategically important market for Kalmar and this acquisition further strengthens our capabilities to serve our customers in ports and terminals across the region.”

Kobot Systems brings unique material handling solutions to the show

With extensive experience in manufacturing engineering and a range of unique solutions for the logistics and material handling sector, Kobot Systems is another key player in the Australian and international supply chain set to have an impact at the upcoming trade show, MEGATRANS2018.
Kobot Systems specialises in a variety of products for the wider logistics sector, including a unique range of ergonomic, flexible and safe collapsible storage solutions, tailored to suit the many needs of material handling businesses in the international market today.
It is the latest business to sign up to exhibit at inaugural supply-chain expo – MEGATRANS2018 – which takes place over the 30,000sqm of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 10–12 May 2018.

Optimistic outlook for Australia's logistics sector

Australia’s industrial and logistics occupiers are generally optimistic about the future and expect their businesses to be better off financially in the next 12 months, an inaugural survey carried out by commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE found.
The Australian Industrial and Logistics Occupier Survey was undertaken to gain a better understanding of decision-making drivers, occupier strategies and how changes in technology and automation are impacting real-estate requirements.
Kate Bailey, Senior Research Manager, CBRE, said the results reflected an engaged and optimistic industrial and logistics market, with 66 per cent of respondents expecting their business to be better off financially and 25 per cent expecting things to stay the same over the next 12 months.
The retailing, warehousing and distribution sector were the most positive, with 86 per cent of respondents expecting their business to be better off.
“Surveys of this kind have rarely been undertaken in the Australian industrial and logistics market, meaning there has been limited benchmarking of what drives occupiers’ decision making,” said Bailey.
Manufacturers were found to be the most likely to want a smaller occupancy, with 21 per cent preferring a smaller footprint. This was possibly reflective of the shift towards high-tech manufacturing, which was less floorspace intensive, Bailey said.
CBRE Senior Managing Director, Industrial & Logistics, Matt Haddon, said the survey also highlighted key trends and attitudes in relation to sustainability, e-commerce, new development practices such as multi-storey warehousing, and the drivers behind occupiers’ site selection criteria.
“It is likely that the drive to incorporate sustainable design elements in industrial and logistics assets will continue to be led by the owner-occupier sector, with this group most likely to amortise initial expenses such as solar panels and wind turbines and see the flow on benefits from sustainable demand first hand,” said Haddon.
When it came to e-commerce, one of the more surprising findings was that the impact was yet to be fully realised in the sector, with 42 per cent of respondents indicating that they had seen no change from the growth of e-commerce in the past five years.
In relation to multi-storey warehousing, the survey found that while there was a high level of awareness from respondents (90 per cent) only 25 per cent of respondents would consider this style of asset.
The level of appeal was higher amongst retail/warehousing and wholesaling occupiers (50 per cent appeal, 50 per cent consideration) and lower amongst manufacturers (20 per cent appeal, 17 per cent consideration) – possibly due to the high cost of specialised machinery and equipment.
Turning to site selection, the survey found that access to road networks, key transport infrastructure and skilled employees had the highest level of perceived importance when selecting an industrial or logistics property.

Investment group to acquire Coates Hire

Investment group Seven Group Holdings (SGH) has announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to pay $517 million to acquire the remaining 53.3 per cent of securities in equipment hire company Coates Hire that it does not already own, from an affiliate of Carlyle Asia Partners II, a fund managed by The Carlyle Group, and minority owners.
SGH said in a media statement that the Coates Hire acquisition reflects its continued focus on becoming “the leading operator of industrial services businesses in Australia” and driving efficient capital allocation across its portfolio.
“The Coates Hire business is led by a strong and experienced management team, with a number of business improvement initiatives in place and already delivering results,” the statement continued.
“Full ownership of Coates Hire will enhance SGH’s portfolio with increased exposure to industrial services.”
Ryan Stokes, Managing Director and CEO, SGH, said: “We are pleased to reach agreement with Carlyle to acquire the shares in Coates Hire we don’t already own.
“We have had a long history with the Coates Hire business and believe with the visible market opportunity associated with East Coast infrastructure activity, along with the current performance of the business and management team, the company is extremely well positioned to create value for all shareholders.
“The move to full ownership of Coates Hire will enhance SGH’s position as a leading operator of industrial services businesses, with a strong macroeconomic environment and a positive outlook providing the potential for significant opportunities to be realised.”
The transaction is subject to satisfactory waivers being obtained from Coates Hire’s existing lending syndicate.

Loscam opens pallet repair facility in Brisbane

Pallet equipment pooling company Loscam has opened its new Brisbane Pallet Repair facility, located in the new Richlands industrial park.
More than 120 dignitaries, customers, suppliers, executive team members and many of the ANZ regional team gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, also celebrating the fact that the opening of the facility has coincided with the company’s 75th anniversary.
“It was a day which signified China Merchants Loscam’s continuous strategic focus on growth in the region,” the company said in a statement. “This new facility allows significant expansion of repair and storage capacity for the state and is complimented with brand new machinery.
“This investment is critical in ensuring Loscam’s continued support to the expanding local customer base and to meet the growing expectations around quality and product diversity.”
Daniel Bunnett, Executive Vice President, Loscam – Australia and New Zealand, stated his appreciation for the team’s contribution and the support of parent company China Merchants Group (CMG).
“There is an enormous amount of work which goes into driving a Greenfield site development,” he said. “The effort from the local team in driving the market-share gain and then leading this development has been first rate. I would also like to acknowledge our parent company in China Merchants Group who continues to invest in the long-term strategic future for the region.”
Linda Tsui, Executive Vice President – Finance, Loscam, delivered a speech on behalf of Zhao Huxiang, Loscam Chairman and Vice Chairman, CMG.
“This new Richlands facility is further strong evidence of China Merchants’ ongoing support to Loscam,” she said.
“Another example of our commitment to take a new lead and give it a new definition to the logistic industry in the Australian market place. It is not only to better serve, but to offer a brand new experience.”
Guests were given a tour of the new repair line and facility and its automation and significant safety initiatives.

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