Finding a solution to transport woes

Eternity Meat, a meat wholesale company based out of Balliang, Victoria, had recently struggled to keep up with customer demand until they sought a non-traditional finance option.
The booming transport business relied on old and outdated trailers, one of which dated back to 1982, forcing the owner to borrow trailers from business associates in order to honour his haulage contracts.
Owner Alistair Sadler said the older model trailers were beginning to negatively impact the company’s current clients; one issue was the meat-hanging rails were incompatible with the rails at the meat processing plant, which made unloading difficult.
“We got by and that, I suppose, is the key to our business: We say ‘yes’ and then we wonder how we’re going to do it!” said Sadler.
When. Sadler heard another transport company, Wickham Freight Lines, was selling used trailers, he knew he had to move fast.
The trailers in question, the 1997 and 2004 model FTE fiberglass meat-hanger trailers are rarely seen on the open market. In a bid to secure finance, Alistair contacted the companies he was already leasing trucks and other equipment from, but they were unreceptive.
“When you grow quickly, you get to a point where your financial exposure is such your lenders don’t want you taking on any more debt,” explains. Sadler.
Sadler approached GoGetta, a specialist equipment funder in the transport sector, after a recommendation from a finance broker: a decision that allowed Sadler to get his business back on the road,.
Sadler said that each week one of his trailers costs him $800 in rent, but it pays for itself over and over from the income it’s generating. “We’ve used GoGetta as a tool to get where we need to be,” Sadler said.  “It allowed us to quickly get the trailers on the road and working. Had we waited six months until we had more equity in the business, we would have missed the opportunity.”
Click here for a guide on how you might be able to finance your business expansion.

Supply chain deal signed by Brambles and GFN

Logistics solutions company Brambles has signed a three-year agreement with the international non-profit organisation The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN).
Brambles will provide supply chain knowledge, in-kind contributions, volunteers and donations to help finance GFN operations, in an effort to reduce hunger, poverty, malnutrition and food waste globally.
The agreement comes as the United Nations FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) reports that the value of food lost or wasted annually around the globe – some one-third of the food produced or 1.3 billion tonnes – amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.[1] At the same time, nearly 800 million people suffer from hunger every day.
“We are honoured to partner with Brambles to leverage its expertise, products, and leadership to help drive efficiency and scale in food banks around the world,” said Lisa Moon, President and CEO of GFN. “We would like to thank Brambles for their commitment to the fight against world hunger while also advancing sustainability.”
Last year, food banks within GFN’s network distributed 421,840 metric tonnes of food to 6.8 million needy people in partnership with 27,000 charitable organisations and social centres. The GFN network consists of a total of 792 food banks located in 32 countries.
“Brambles is highly committed to deliver sustainable value in the communities where we operate,” said Brambles CEO, Tom Gorman. “Food banks are a great example of that. Our new relationship with GFN builds on our multi-year engagement working with our customers to support food banks around the world. In addition, Brambles efforts to expand both the capacity and capabilities of GFN Network to address hunger is an important part of our comprehensive approach to addressing food security.
“We are focused on reducing post-harvest food loss, improving the ability of small holder farmers to access modern packaging that protects the integrity of the product and enhances food safety. Whether we are working with individual food banks, the GFN, The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) or Enactus, our employees are dedicated to improving access to food and economic opportunity and to improving the sustainability of our environment.”
Zero Hunger is goal number two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Food loss and waste are recognised by Organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations FAO, and the CGF as critical challenges in the fight to reduce hunger, protect the environment and grow economic opportunity.
[1] http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

ALC Forum 2017 – Getting the Supply Chain Right

With a national freight task that is predicted to grow by nearly 90 per cent between 2011 and 2031, Australia’s future economic prosperity relies on our ability to move goods around the country efficiently and safely.
To do this, we need to ensure we are on the right track, and industry and governments are working together effectively.
In a new video from the Australian Logistics Council, five leaders from Australia’s logistics industry talk about the need for a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to guide future decision making by industry and government, and to improve planning and investment in key logistics infrastructure.  They are:

  • Marika Calfas, Chief Executive Officer, NSW Ports
  • Maurice James, Managing Director, Qube Holdings
  • David Irwin, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific National
  • John Fullerton, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Rail Track Corporation
  • Ian Murray AM, Chairman, Australian Logistics Council

The development of a national strategy, which has been proposed by Infrastructure Australia in its 15-Year Infrastructure Plan, was the centrepiece of ALC’s 2016 election priorities document, Getting the Supply Chain Right.
With the Federal Government expected to finalise shortly its response to Infrastructure Australia’s 15-Year Plan, the Logistics Industry is encouraging the Government to allocate appropriate resources to develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which needs to build upon the work undertaken by the previous Governments under the Port and Land Freight Strategies.
For Australia to prosper in the future, we need to get our supply chains right.  And to do this, Australia needs a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
ALC Forum 2017, to be held on 7-9 March 2017 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, will therefore identify the issues that need to be addressed in the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
Forum registration and program details will be available in the coming weeks – click here to save the Forum dates in your Outlook calendar.

Why the mining industry needs weighbridges

Having a solid, reliable weighing system in place is essential for operational efficiency, cost control, regulatory compliance, and revenue management of all mines. Visit any quarry or mining site and it is easy to see why weighbridges are indispensable to the industry.
Weighbridges utilise advanced technology to provide accurate and precise weight data. Having more accurate weight data means you can keep closer track of your inventory, obtain precise measurements of incoming and outgoing materials, and minimise wastage onsite. Weighbridges provide legal-for-trade weight readings, helping you record weight data for legislative purposes and any reporting requirements.
Weighbridges can be customised to provide the best solution for your site, no matter how your operation works. They can be installed at ground-level, above-ground or in-ground, with all kinds of sizes and capabilities available on the market. Many manufacturers also offer various accessories such as boom gates, remote displays and traffic control lights.
Weighbridges are heavy duty, able to weigh reliably and accurately, even in tough environments and adverse weather conditions. The provision of accurate weighing data helps you ensure payload accuracy, improving operational efficiency. Weighbridges also enhance worksite safety, as there is no need to unload materials because the weight data is recorded as trucks are directly positioned on the scale.
Weighbridges can improve profitability for operators in the mining industry in multiple ways. Having more accurate weight data enables operators to load vehicles to their maximum capacity – but still avoid overloading fines. One of the biggest benefits weighbridges offer is that drivers can complete weighing transactions at any time without even having to leave their vehicles. Thanks to modern advancements like driver-operated docking stations, automatic number place recognition, and entry and exit barriers, it’s possible to create a completely unattended system. Since the weighbridge can function without a dedicated operator, operating costs are reduced and operating hours are extended.
Weighbridges come with user-friendly software that automatically stores weight data. It’s possible to download the data to analyse site operations, monitor inventory, fulfil batching tasks, vehicle control, and a host of other uses. The software can often be integrated with word processing, spreadsheet and accounting programs, making invoicing and reporting an easier job. Having this wealth of information in real time can help mining operators monitor costs, improve efficiency, control wastage and increase profitability.
Ultrahawke is a provider of weighbridges and truck scales. They supply high-quality, Australian-made weighbridges with both analogue and digital load cells, and digital weight indicators.

EES Shipping celebrates 30 years

EES Shipping recently celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Fremantle Maritime Museum. The freight forwarder opened its doors at 11 Cliff Street Fremantle in 1986 with just two staff cramped into a tiny office. Its business now has more than 20 staff operating from a state-of-the-art warehouse and office facility in Cockburn Central.
Guests included EES’ close-knit overseas agents – from M+R Forwarding Hong Kong, Giovanni Salce and Rocky Chan were present, as well as Urs Guetin from AOT Japan. Clients and service providers also joined in the festivities.
John Park, CBFCA Fellow and Regional Manager spoke about EES’s contribution to the industry. Guests were also treated to an amazing sideshow and speech from Fremantle Ports Deputy Harbour Master, Captain Stuart Davies. Captain Davies spoke about how Fremantle Ports had changed since EES’ introduction into the industry in 1986 along with where Fremantle Ports will be in the future.
As EES Shipping moves into its third decade servicing their clients with their logistics needs, Managing Director Geoff Hack has now begun to pass down his knowledge to his three sons, Brian, Glenn and Shaun. This trio have spent their lives in the many offices of EES and now work full time to manage and run this business.
Value adding services have been the main key to making this business successful, notably with the move to their Cockburn Central office and warehouse location. EES is now able to offer its clientele many services including unpacking and packing of containers, as well as tailored warehouse solutions. Their willingness to introduce new services and expand their business is one of the many reasons why their client base is so loyal, claims the company.

How choosing the right weigh scale can save you money

The importance of weighing scales for logistics companies cannot be overemphasised – while accuracy helps in preventing accidents, it also means companies escape hefty penalties for breaking the law.
Truck scales at weighbridges are made of rugged design and manufactured to high standards. These are usually mounted on concrete platforms to protect the equipment from damage by heavy loads.
The scales come with robust sensors that read and record the weight of trucks on different axles. Thanks to a number of advanced features, scales can make accurate measurements for dependable calculations. The following are examples:

  • Output displays – a large ergonomic screen that displays the reading from the scales
  • Sensors – laid on the truck road to obtain readings of a truck. These prevent damage to the trucks.
  • Processor – collects the information from sensors to calculate accurate weights at all levels of weighing

New technology scales at weighbridges have thin electronic cells. Drivers should drive the trucks over these cells for weighing. Next, a computer takes the output of the cells and calculates the total weight of the truck. For most industrial processes, the new technology weighs vehicles when empty and again when loaded.
If you believe that your current truck scales are not accurate enough, it might be an idea to invest in some new units; ones that can be custom-integrated with professional calibration services to guarantee proper reading of weights.
The new scales are made of steel and concrete construction, and are robust, which is claimed to enhance durability. Two of the most robust designs are the heavy-duty wheel weighing machine and portable axle scale. The latter can even be placed on dirt surface.
Truck scales are customised to integrate professional calibration services and offer accurate results. This ensures that weighbridges consistently deliver accurate and reliable results.
Accuracy is important for the success of logistics and trucking companies. Weighbridge truck scales introduce the efficiency and accuracy of computer technology, which reduces the time needed to weigh trucks and loads.
Additionally, these systems have large internal memories to hold truckload information. The information is vital for owners and managers to make decisions. This way, optimising logistics one load after the other is easier and takes less time. Increased efficiency reduces commonplace delays in weighing and shipment of goods.
Weighbridge truck scales are important parts of any company that deals with movement of loads. While these are valuable in logistics, they are equally useful in agriculture and mining industries. For this reason, companies need to ensure that they settle on the best options that best suit their business.
People in the logistics and shipping industries can benefit. Others that can take advantage include those in the production of electrical equipment, bulk powder, household goods, agricultural produce and mining industries.

Logistics and shipping industries the world over witness the passing of numerous loads through warehouses and ports for measurement. Weighbridges therefore facilitate the accurate recording through a variety of scales.
These are either pit- or surface-mounted scales, depending on the application and location. All scale applications for vehicles can benefit from weighbridge scales that have been tested for performance.
For example, state-of-the-art accessories can be paired with any weighbridge. Additionally, your company can take advantage of software and indicators, effectively increasing the comprehensiveness of data management.
Many truck scale providers and vendors operate from various locations around the world. This in turn guarantees the ideal weighbridge for your company trucks. You can save thousands of dollars since the use of efficient weighbridge scales avoids costly fees. For example, authorities will fine a company for flouting transport and loading regulations.
Individuals and organisations in the mining and farming sectors can also draw huge benefits. While there are few existing weight measurement strategies dedicated to these industries, the only available option is to borrow ideas from the transportation and logistics counterparts.
Even with new technology, choosing the best truck scale providers can prove to be a daunting task. While many exist in the market, it is difficult to tell fraudsters from honest vendors. Let the professionals hook you up with scales that can be placed efficiently on your truck trails to record accurate readings and attain your specific objectives. As you save costs associated with cheating and fines at the weighbridges, your company stays out of trouble with the law.

  • Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California.

Business confidence down but perception of economy good

Confidence among small and medium businesses dropped this quarter, rebalancing from a five-year high last quarter to register a net balance score of +38 (previously +44) according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey.
The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, revealed three times as many SMBs (57 per cent) were confident as those who were worried (19 per cent). Despite the dip, the net balance score of +38 is 11 points higher than this time last year.
While business confidence went down, current perceptions of the economy stayed the same and the 12-month outlook jumped, registering a positive score of +5, eight points higher than last quarter and only the second positive reading since December 2014.
There were confidence gains in Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia, while there were falls in NSW, the ACT, Victoria, the NT and WA. NSW is again the most confident location, despite a five-point fall to +53.
“The national figures tell a positive story overall, but belie the turmoil some locations are experiencing with Western Australia (+10) and the Northern Territory (+9) languishing well below the national average,” says Sensis Chief Executive Officer John Allan.
“Tasmania recorded the most improved score with a 22-point jump thanks to improved business conditions, while Victoria suffered a drop of 15 points to sit below the national average with declining sales and increased cost pressures impacting business confidence,” he said.
“Overall, the businesses feeling positive had strong beliefs in their own business strengths and identified with being an established, solid business while those who are worried cited decreasing sales and an unfavourable business, economic or industrial environment.
“It is pleasing to see sales and profitability performances improve this quarter; the sales result (+5) is particularly encouraging as it is the first time since March 2008 that we have seen consecutive positive quarters.”
With the survey beginning two weeks after the Federal election, it found SMBs were indifferent to the return of Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition Government, with its approval among SMBs the same as last quarter on +2.
“We normally see a jump in positive sentiment towards the incumbent after an election, signifying relief at a return to ‘business as usual’. This time we’ve seen significant variability across the states with Tasmania and the Northern Territory the most supportive, and the other states either dropping back or not changing at all,” said Allan.
Businesses were asked if they thought Malcolm Turnbull would survive a full term as Prime Minister. While nearly half (48 per cent) of all businesses said he would, a third (33 per cent) did not.
Confidence in the policies of state and territory governments displayed similar results to last survey, with the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory registering positive net balances. NSW had the biggest decline while views of the Victorian Government also deteriorated and the South Australian Government retains bottom position.
In other results, business confidence across metropolitan and regional locations was varied. Confidence of SMBs in capital cities fell 15 points to +35, while regional confidence rose by eight points to +43 and is now in front.
Regional NSW, Victoria, WA and the Northern Territory are more positive than their city counterparts, with Hobart and Brisbane the most positive capital cities overall.
“Better sales and profitability performances in regional NSW and the NT and a better view of the Federal election result in regional Victoria and the NT, relative to the cities, are the major influences driving these results,” said Allan.
At an industry level, retail trade has been improving steadily in recent times. It saw the biggest improvement this quarter and is now close to the national average. Hospitality has taken top spot, recording the best result for prices.
“Not surprisingly, as the Australian dollar continues to defy the Reserve Bank’s attempts at depreciation, the Manufacturing sector is struggling and is the least confident sector,” said Allan. “As we head into the crucial Christmas retail period, expectations are very strong for all of the indicators, with sales and profitability particularly positive.”
Small and medium businesses comprise 99 percent of all businesses operating in Australia.
 
 

How to prevent warehouse accidents

Within the logistics arena, there are a myriad of scenarios where safety can be compromised. In a highly controlled environment like a warehouse, accidents are still highly likely to occur and even more so if the cargo stored consists of hazardous goods. In the US alone, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicated that across the United States, there were over 150,000 people working in warehouses across the country. So if one considers the immense amount of cargo movement all across the Asia Pacific region, these numbers would easily surpass the US.
With the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and mining sector growing rapidly, 3PLs have had to increase their agility in terms of turnaround times. The result is a surge in workload in this region, which in turn creates a simultaneous focus on the safety and ergonomics in the warehouses. This then brings about key concerns centring around operations involving lifting actions, vehicular movement and electrical functions, or a combination of all.
Forklifts, electrical and wiring, hazard communication, exits, mechanical power transmission and respiratory protection are just some of the hotspots identified by Safework Australia over the years that can be applicable to a warehouse just about anywhere. Thus it would be bad for the business if an employer ignores these elements that constitute a good and safe work environment.
Infusing the mindset of the integration of a pro-active approach to the management of safety, providing due attention and budgets on injury prevention into corporate culture would go a long way in reaping productivity and efficiency in the facility. Nobody would be looking forward to a 3PL version of Deepwater Horizon.
Safety guidelines in most industrial facilities are mandatory especially when it comes to hazardous materials. Attention needs to be given to liquid spills, which should to be cleaned as soon as possible because the exposure to workers is very high and can cause many problems so fixing damaged equipment is paramount. Preventing or reducing the chances of injury can be as simple as optimising procedures to manage the physical layout of the warehouse, reduce walking times and making sure access to equipment and material is easy.
In the Asia Pacific, German chemical producer BASF utilises its own Warehouse Safety Assessment (WSA) tool – a standardised questionnaire designed to assess the quality, safety and environmental management systems of third-party warehouses. The trained safety adviser will be responsible for undertaking these WSAs. At the end of each review, corrective and improvement actions will be discussed and agreed between the assessor and the assessed company.
In the packaging arena, containers have been undergoing a redesign because of the introduction of weight limits on containers. On paper, this will look to provide easy access to the product and reduce the stress due to lifting.
Replacing wooden pallets and corrugated boxes to reusable plastic containers will reduce or stamp out the possibilities of injuries. The key is to reduce the bending, reaching, and pulling associated with the tasks in warehouses and manufacturing facilities.
Looking for ergonomic options that increase the comfort of the operator when choosing a new forklift or automation technology for your warehouse will likely see higher productivity together with improved health and energy levels. The assist devices for moving containers could also include vacuum lift machines that use a vacuum of air to grip and lift boxes, or even computer-controlled assist devices that are sensor guided and can make fast, automatic adjustments for accurate container placement.
Manual handling has seen a steady recently as there has been a shift towards the investment in automation of order picking – especially forklifts. For the sake of efficiency these machines are designed for heavy lifting in distribution centres (DCs). Looking at the downside, without proper training and instruction, they can also cause injury to persons and damage to property so manufacturers of this equipment have been looking at ways to prevent these outcomes occurring. One tip is to invest in impact shock switches, which automatically switch the vehicle off upon any collision.
Models by leading forklift producers Junghenrich, Crown and Toyota offer impact resistance, which has increased up to threefold combining aluminium and cast iron in the manufacture, helping the trucks to cope with the normal bumps and scrapes of everyday applications. Linked suspension castors have been fitted to provide maximum load and truck stability on any surface.
Let’s not forget that workers in a warehouse also exert themselves on strenuous ergonomic activity that stress the body, which offers up risks such as repetitive motion strain and other potential injuries. The only way around this is education even if employees should be able to identify tasks that may involve higher risks in the warehouse. Employers need to be proactive and identify tell-tale signs of the symptoms of discomfort.
It is important that employees should ensure that any incident, accident or symptom be reported to their supervisor so that the appropriate measures can be put in place. Following this, the management has to give the appropriate attention to these incidents with documentation for follow up and action.
In Australia, with workers being aware of their rights to a safe work environment, plus the increasing insurance coverage of workers in a workplace, a safe warehouse environment will ultimately see that important cost savings are maintained with increase productivity and reduced equipment downtime.

Peli cases designed for logistic and transport applications

RS Components has introduced a variety of new products to its storage portfolio, including the lightweight Peli Air case range and new RS Pro storage case options.
These polymer cases are designed to be tough and waterproof and provide excellent protection for a diverse variety of valuable and sensitive equipment, says the manufacturer. For example, the cases are suitable for use by broadcasters and photographers, storing sensitive military/defence equipment or transporting delicate electronics gear such as test equipment, as well as many other outdoor uses. Other potential market sector uses include maintenance, power, telecoms or the oil and gas industries.
The Peli Air range is especially suited to weight limited applications such as those found in logistics and transportation, says the manufacturer. The new rugged, watertight, dustproof, crushproof and wheeled cases complement the existing Peli Storm range, but have been designed to be up to 40 percent lighter than other polymer cases, while retaining their durability.
The Peli Air range has been made by moulding them from proprietary super-lightweight resin that rebounds without breaking, as well as designing honeycomb structural elements that are stronger than solid polymer material, claims RS Components. The cases feature double-throw latches, automatic purge valves to balance air pressure, and watertight O-ring gaskets.
The Air range sports a new style ‘conic curve’ shaped lid, stainless-steel hasp protectors and rubber over-moulded handles. It also uses the TrekPak system, which provides pre-installed wall sections, divider panels, locking pins and a fool-proof cutting tool so that engineers and other users can easily lay equipment in the case, measure and cut the divider sections, and lock them in place with the steel U-pins.
Also new at are two RS Pro storage product ranges including the RS Pro Aluminium and Transit Cases and the RS Pro Tool cases. Suitable for transportation and storage, the aluminium transit cases feature cast aluminium stacking locators on each lid corner making them simple to stack and inter-stack. Additionally, the cases’ ribbed body adds strength and the rubber seal in the lid makes them shower proof. The RS Pro Tool range includes a case with trolley that is suitable for mobile engineers and technicians. Consisting of an aluminium frame and high-impact ABS material, the cases are designed to protect tools from accidental shocks. They are also stackable, dustproof and waterproof.

New SOLAS legislation – who’s responsible for what?

The Safety of life at Sea (SOLAS) Legislation, which made container weight verification a condition to load marine cargo into a ship, became legally binding on 1 July 2016.
The changes had been advocated for many years and are intended to reduce the number of accidents caused by container overloading, container stack collapses and vessel instability, as well as reduce damage to cargo, stress to ships and machinery, environmental impacts and insurance claims. Verifying container weights prior to vessel loading is also a critical safety issue.
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Australian legislation has required shippers to provide an accurate gross mass on maritime shipping documents since 1994, which means that many shippers will already comply with the new requirements.
Below are five things you need to remember about the new SOLAS legislation that will make your shipping containers AMSA compliant.

  1. There are two approved methods of weighing containers.
    The first method involves weighing the full container in its entirety. In the second method, all the packages and cargo items in the container are weighed individually and then added to the ‘tare’ weight of the container plus the weights of any other materials (such as packaging, pallets, dunnage etc) to reach the gross mass. All weighing has to be done using calibrated and certified equipment.
  2. The shipper’ is legally responsible for the declared verified gross mass of the container.
    The person whose name appears on the Bill of Lading is classed as ‘the shipper’ and is legally responsible for the verified declaration of container weights. When an exporter instructs a forwarding agent to handle the packing, weighing and transport of the goods, they are still classified as ‘the shipper’ regardless if they have used a third party.
  3. The container cannot be loaded onto the ship if the weight has not been verified.
    If the shipper doesn’t provide a verified gross mass (VGM) for a container, then that the container cannot be loaded onto the ship. VGM declaration is a legal requirement and is a condition of vessel loading, and penalties may apply for non-compliance. AMSA may audit shippers to ask for evidence as to how they obtained the VGM and may also conduct audits when non-compliance with the SOLAS Order is suspected. During an audit, AMSA will examine the processes by which the shipper obtained the VGM and will take action to ensure compliance.
  4. There is currently no allowable margin of error in VGM
    There is currently no provision in SOLAS for any margin of error as the requirement is for an actual physical weighing requirement, not an estimate.
  5. All weighing equipment has to be calibrated and certified

All weighing equipment including scales, weighbridges, lifting equipment or any other device that is used to determine the weight of either the packed container or its contents, has to be calibrated and certified.
Accuweigh is a supplier of certified and calibrated weighing equipment that it claims ensures compliance with the new SOLAS legislation. It is also authorised to test all weighing equipment.

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