Wharf proposal for Smith Bay on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers has put a proposal forward to the Australian Securities Exchange about its intention to build a wharf at Smith Bay on Kangaroo Island.
The design includes a sealed roadway on a rock and fill causeway, extending towards a
large floating pontoon barge permanently moored in deep water and accessed by a link span bridge. There will be shore works to enable the facility to export timber and to operate as a multi-user, multi-cargo facility.
The cost is expected to be about $25m, including the cost of a newly-built pontoon barge. The company says capital costs of the wharf project are recouped through a charge on scheduled timber exports, with non-timber importers and exporters being able to access the wharf at other times based on incremental costs only.

The Bollore Group wins the contract for the future port concession at Dili

Following an international invitational to tender, the authorities of East Timor, advised by the finance institution IFC, have chosen the Bollore Group to build and operate the deepwater port at Dili under a public-private partnership agreement.

The ambitious project involves the construction of a 630m wharf with a draught of 15m, and a 24 hectare yard.

The port facility, in accordance with international standards, will have state-of-the-art container and general cargo handling equipment offering a stevedoring capability for container ships carrying over 7,500 TEUs.

According to CEO of Bollore Ports Transport & Logistics Philippe Labonne, the partnership will be entered into a 30-year term as it creates over 350 direct jobs and enable new businesses to set up in the future port zone.

"We are very proud to have been selected to work with the authorities of East Timor on this project. It will help to speed up the growth of the nation's economy by facilitating trade with Asia and the rest of the world to the benefit of the whole population."

With a strong track record of success in France and Africa, Bollore Transport & Logistics has decided to export its know-how to other emerging regions.

It already holds an Asian port concession at Tuticorin at the southern tip of India, in Central America & the Caribbean with a partnership to operate the TVB Terminal at Port-au-Prince in Haiti, and now in South-East Asia in East Timor. 

International towage company Svitzer set back by pay dispute strikes

Nationwide industrial action by tugboat engineers is continuing today with ports in New South Wales and Western Australia affected.

The strikes are part of an ongoing dispute with the international towage company Svitzer.

Martin Byrne from the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers said the stoppage would be in place for two days, ending at midnight on Tuesday.

“Svitzer is the major operator and certainly it is the only operator of large commercial tugs in Sydney, Botany, Fremantle and Kwinana.” Byrne said.

Last week, ports in Newcastle, Sydney, Geelong, Brisbane and Melbourne were affected.

The industrial action comes after unsuccessful negotiations for a new enterprise agreement, with engineers rejecting attempts by Svitzer to bring them under the same agreement as deckhands and tugboat skippers.

Byrne said almost all of the commercial shipping in the four ports targeted today would be affected, with exemptions for cruise ships, military and those ships affected with safety issues.

Svitzer’s application to terminate industrial campaign rejected

The Fair Work Commission last week rejected Svitzer’s application to terminate the union’s industrial campaign.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the application to terminate the unprotected industrial action was rejected, however no order was made on the protected action saying the Commission could revisit it if there was a change regarding health or economic matters.

In a statement issued late last week, Svitzer said it was disappointed with the ongoing action.

“While Svitzer appreciates that under the Fair Work Act, employees have the right to withdraw their labour in pursuit of their industrial goals, we are nonetheless extremely disappointed with the outcome,” the statement read.

“For an island nation like Australia, which relies on the maritime industry to move 99 per cent of its industrial trade, the stoppages will damage the Australian economy and put jobs at risk.”

NSW Ports said the industrial action would have a big impact on trade and cost to operators. Chief executive Marika Calfas said 13 ships would be affected at Port Botany over the next two days.

"The rule of thumb is that for every 24 hours of delay, it takes about four days to catch up," Ms Calfas said.

World’s biggest ports sending mixed signals about the global economy

China’s struggles with its slackening demand and excess industrial capacity are jolting financial markets around the world and threatening to hit global supply chains.

Shares on global markets tumbled and currencies weakened on the first trading day of the year, making it more likely that Beijing will take stronger action to shore up the country’s economy.

That may include more action to shore up exports, an effort that will be helped by the decline in the Chinese yuan this week to its weakest level versus the dollar in nearly five years.

But the currency dive also pushed down other Asian currencies, raising fears that China will drag down neighbouring economies.

At the heart of the concern is the latest drop in a closely watched private index of Chinese manufacturing, which also showed measures that track production, new orders and new export orders all declined.

Economists say China is still trying to balance supply and demand, an effort that so far has its trading partners very much on edge.

While China’s manufacturing falters, U.S. factories are stumbling and signalling lighter activity in the coming months. The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of manufacturing activity fell to 48.2 last month, the lowest level of the year.

The measure for new orders continued to contract in December while inventories and customers’ inventories both ticked upward. That suggests American businesses are hunkering down, waiting to see if demand justifies speeding up their supply chains.

The signs of hope came in export orders, which expanded after six months of decline, but that business faces big headwinds as the dollar remains strong and commodities prices sag.

Jade Software to install seven terminals across Abu Dhabi Ports

Jade Software has announced the success of three of seven planned installations at Abu Dhabi Ports, as part of an ongoing project to replace its legacy system with a new terminal operating system.

Zayed Port went live first on the 1st of July after a six month implementation phase, the configuration and training of which laid the foundation for the speedy delivery of the Khalifa Port going live on 1st August and Musaffah Port after the 16th September.

According to Managing Director of Jade Software, David Lindsay “Jade is fast being recognised as the leading terminal operating system for mixed cargo ports where increased operational efficiencies are key, helped greatly by its proven implementation methodology and expert implementation team.”

Lindsay states that Jade’s implementation team worked closely with staff from the beginning to ensure that the new processes and technology were seamlessly integrated into their business and all staff had been expertly trained.

The team is expected to continue working closely with Abu Dhabi Ports to ensure beneficial operations efficiencies and improvements in new technology assist the ports in realising business goals quickly.

Abu Dhabi Ports’ core objective is to facilitate the diversification of the economy by stimulating trade and development. This is done by delivering high quality maritime services, supporting partners’ infrastructure projects and setting up new companies and joint ventures in the ports and logistics sectors.

Jade Software develops high performance enterprise solutions; create engaging customer experiences through digital strategy and design, and developing advanced technology platforms used by thousands of companies all around the world.

Pickering Transport Group and the Mobicon TF2

Roger Pickering understands that a business needs to change with the times.

With a loan of 500 pounds from his grandfather, Roger’s father and uncle, Ted and George, started the family transport business back in 1950 with a single, secondhand, fire engine-red 1942 army Dodge that they used to run local cartage around the Swan Hill region during the winter months when the family pumpkin farm was quiet. The business grew from there. They joined a local group of owner-operators at Lake Boga and started to carry produce from that region into Melbourne. Over the years, the other owner-operators dropped off and eventually Ted and George owned the business outright.

In 1977 they acquired their second transport business and, in 1979, their third.

They slowly increased their fleet, eventually handing day-to-day control over the to next generation of Pickerings.

Roger got involved in the business when he was “just a kid”.

“It was what you did back in the 1960s. I went to work with my father and just grew up in the business. By the age of thirteen I was out loading and unloading trucks. By fifteen I left home and came to work in Melbourne, having achieved all I was going to achieve in school,” he says with a sly grin.

He worked his way up through the business and today, as General Manager, he has his hands full managing a fleet of over 115 line haul truck and B-Doubles, 60 rigid traybodies doing local work and about 360 staff across 11 branches.

“We first got in touch with Mobicon because we have a growing trend in export and containers and we had to find a better method of lifting them on and off,” he explains.

“Everything you do is about reducing costs and labour costs are a very large portion of our business. In Melbourne we were lifting all our containers with a side loader which was a 24 minute process. The first Mobicon that we bought a couple of years ago halved that time. The new one has halved it again, down to a 6 minute process.”

He says they looked closely at getting a large forklift “but the footprint on the ground of a big fork is exceptionally heavy comparative to a Mobicon. The pavement we have wouldn’t be suitable to a big fork. It would have broken up very quickly.”

“The Mobicon will also work in much tighter areas – just a safer, more seamless operation,” he says.

“One of the other things I liked about the Mobicon is the entry. When you straddle the container, there are very few, if any, objects that can be hit as the driver bumps the container – and they obviously inadvertently do do that. The Mobicon to me is quite a solid, sturdy piece of equipment.”

Roger liked his original Mobicon so much that he was the first customer in Australia to purchase their latest model – the Mobicon ECO Top Lift Two High. The third Mini Straddle Carrier model in their ECO series has a top spreader that can stack containers one over one (or two high).

“The beauty of this new Mobicon, for our branch in Melbourne, is that we’re in a confined space and, if you get 25 or 30 full containers, our yard is quite congested. Now we can double stack them, which doubles the number that we can store, and reduce the space that we need. Melbourne land values are quite high and, you know, to be able to utilise it better with the double stacking is absolutely paramount.”

Tom Schults, the inventor of the Mobicon and Managing Director of Brisbane-based Mobicon Systems, says the introduction of the new model was the result of customer feedback.

“In the past we have received quite a few requests for a stacking Mini Straddle Carrier and the new model has already generated a lot of interest from around the globe,” says Tom.

He claims the Mobicon ECO Top Lift Two High Straddle Carrier Model is perfect for companies that require speed in their operation and where yard conditions may not allow the operator to exit the cabin and where space is at a premium.

Abbot Point coal terminal releases EIS

The Abbot Point coal port project has taken a leap forward with the release of its draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Studies into the EIS began in May.

The construction project will create 120 new jobs over a period of four months, after which port employment will consist of flow-on supply chain roles, and is critical in opening up the Galilee Basin.

It is slated to increase port capacity by 70 million tonnes per annum to cater for additional coal from the Galilee Basin, achieving a total capacity of 120 million tonnes per annum.

State development and mining minister Anthony Lynham yesterday announced the release, adding it was open to public comment until 18 September.

“This is a milestone for the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin and the jobs and economic development it could deliver for Queenslanders,”Lynham said.

“We’ve delivered on our election commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the nationally-significant Caley Valley Wetlands.

“We are putting dredged material on port land next to the existing terminal, and we are minimising impacts to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by ruling out at-sea disposal.

“The community can now have its say on the draft EIS with around 2400 pages of detailed investigatory information and almost 150 commitments to protect the environment.”

The port’s expansion will be funded by Galilee Basin developers, and no taxpayers, he added.

“The Queensland Government will deliver a robust final EIS, which will include feedback from consultation, to the Commonwealth Government in early October,” Lynham said.

“It’s then up to the Commonwealth Government, which has 40 business days to assess the EIS and deliver a final decision on the project.

“Work will only begin when environmental approvals have been received.

Oil and gas logistics hub planned for Koolan Island

Koolan Island has been flagged for establishment of a new logistics base to service the oil and gas industry in Western Australia.

Mount Gibson Iron announced this morning it entered an agreement with logistics and infrastructure provider Qube Holdings to progress plans for the Koolan Island Logistics Base (KILB), an enterprise which would generate a long term income stream for the troubled mining operation.

The iron ore miner was forced to suspend operations in the main pit at the Koolan Island mine due to pit wall instability identified in October last year, which led to a collapse of the seawall and subsequent flooding of the pit.

Development of the proposed facility would include a helicopter refuelling and maintenance station, air search and rescue base, an all-weather runway, deep water marine terminal and accommodation.

Mount Gibson noted that the KILB development would not restrict repairs to the Main Pit seawall or resumption of iron ore production “should a technically and economically robust solution be identified”.

The Koolan Island site was considered a “highly favourable” location thanks to its proximity to oil and gas developments in the Browse Basin, and existing infrastructure on the island which would minimise the need for environmental disturbance.

Mount Gibson said the project would provide an opportunity for further collaboration with the Dambimangari Traditional Owners, continuing their decade long relationship.

“In addition to delivering improved air safety and rescue capability and material operating cost savings to oil and gas operators in the Browse Basin, development of the KILB also has the potential to support the further economic development of Derby as a major regional centre and the West Kimberly generally,” the company said.

Commencement of helicopter and other aircraft services are expected to be possible within 12 months of a decision to proceed with the project, dependant on feasibility work and regulatory approvals.

Mount Gibson said preliminary discussions with key stakeholders had been positive, which included local and state government and prospective end users.

West Pilbara infrastructure project delayed

Aurizon Holdings has pushed back deadlines for the West Pilbara Iron Ore Project after talks with joint venture partners.

Decisions on whether to proceed with the key transport infrastructure development will not be due until 30 April 2016, after which Aurizon’s period of exclusivity will expire.

If it goes ahead the West Pilbara Iron ore Project will see construction of 400km of rail line and the Anketell port near Cape Lambert, enabling transport of 400 million tonnes of ore per year.

SMH reported Aurizon’s largest shareholder Perpetual has called for the major rail provider to shelve the $6 billion project, as it does not see the project as a feasible investment.

"Aurizon's strong balance sheet gives the company flexibility to pursue genuine growth opportunities when they arise [but] the West Pilbara Iron Ore Project is not one of them,” Perpetual head of Australian equities Paul Skamvougeras said.

Project partners Baosteel Resources, Aquila Resources, POSCO and AMCI will meet with Aurizon by 31 December this year to review initial feasibility studies for mine and infrastructure and determine whether to go ahead with the Definitive Feasibility Study.

Aurizon said in an announcement to the ASX it was committed to the technical and commercial feasibility study stages for the project, albeit on the basis of a significant reduction in the 2012 cost estimates.

“Aurizon and the mine participants are mindful of the volatility in the iron ore market price since the completion of the takeover of Aquila Resources in 2014,” the company said.

Investigation into Pilbara port injuries begins

The Australian maritime Safety Authority will investigate an incident which injured two men at the Roy Hill Port construction project yesterday.

The incident occurred on the Netherlands ship Happy Buccaneer, which left one man in a serious condition with a crushed foot, and the other with a broken leg.

The ship was moored at Stanley Port at the Roy Hill South West Wharf.

The Pilbara Port Authority said the accident did not affect port operations.

A spokeswoman for Roy Hill said the company responded immediately to the emergency.

“Roy Hill is a major operator in Port Hedland and has a highly capable emergency response and medical team based in Port Hedland,” she said.

“We received a request for assistance and our team immediately responded to the incident, providing medical treatment to the injured people before they were transported to Port Hedland hospital for treatment.

“Our thoughts are with the injured people, their families and work colleagues.”

The Maritime Union of Australia said the ship was foreign crewed.

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