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WWL and Prixcar in deal for land-based business in Australia

Shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA (WWL) will 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.
WWL will remain an active participant in the market through board representation and close cooperation with Prixcar.
Prixcar provides finished vehicle logistic services in Australia with a nationwide footprint. Its primary focus is inland transportation and technical services for the auto segment, complementing WWL’s focus on the heavy truck, rolling equipment and machinery segment. The joint business is expected to have an annual turnover in excess of $250 million and a team of over 1,000.
“This transaction and our new partnership with the Prixcar Group will increase the scale and geographic reach of our Landbased activities in Australia, providing our customers with an enhanced product,” said Craig Jasienski, President and CEO, WWL ASA.
Alan Miles, Chairman, Prixcar Services, added, “The joining of these two companies – both sharing similar values with a strong focus on safety, people, innovation, environment, and our customers – will assist in enabling the group to further expand its ability in creating value for its employees, customers and business partners, offering an expanded range of both services and locations.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in Australia, and expected to close in Q1 2018.
The transaction does not include WWL’s Terminal business, for example the Melbourne International Ro-Ro Automotive Terminal (MIRRAT).

Safer Storage Systems partners with Dexion

Pallet racking and shelving provider Safer Storage Systems has partnered with storage solutions provider Dexion Australia and signed on to become a Dexion Supply Centre.
Safer Storage Systems is one of the first to sign the new look Dexion Supply Centre agreement, which is currently being rolled out across Australia.
The company has adopted the Dexion branding and will now be known as Dexion Solutions.
“This new partnership sees two powerhouses in the industry join forces to deliver the very best product and service for customers,” said Matt Bell, Managing Director, Safer Storage Systems. “Dexion has world-class engineering capabilities and we are excited to be able to add the quality product range to our robust business offering.”
With a growing Key Accounts team to manage on-going requirements for customers, such as Reece and Bunnings, as well as experienced installation crews and project managers, Safer Storage Systems is equipped to offer comprehensive storage solutions for the industrial and commercial industries, Dexion said in a statement.
Khurshed Mirza, CEO, Dexion Australiasia, added, “Our partnership with Dexion Solutions further enhances our commitment to provide our customers with superior service and support. We are stronger together.”

2018 Mercury Awards to recognise supply chain excellence

After a brief hiatus, the Logistics & Materials Handling Mercury Awards will be relaunched in 2018 for the ninth annual instalment, in partnership with MEGATRANS2018.
The Awards, featuring a new design, will recognise the outstanding achievements and successes of companies across the logistics, supply chain and materials handling sectors.
The Mercury Awards is the official awards program of MEGATRANS2018, a business-to-business trade event focusing on the freight and logistics supply chain. MEGATRANS2018 incorporates all forms of freight transport, logistics and materials handling, infrastructure and storage and warehousing, providing perfect alignment with the Mercury Awards.
Twelve awards will recognise outstanding individuals and organisations across the supply chain:

  • Supply Chain Innovator of the Year
  • Safety Advocate of the Year
  • Best Technology Application
  • Sustainability Initiative Award
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Road
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Rail
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Air
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Sea
  • Outstanding Graduate Program
  • Best Storage Solution
  • Best Infrastructure Innovation
  • Victorian Government ‘Contribution to Industry’ Award

The 2018 Mercury Awards sponsors include the Victorian Government, the Port of Melbourne and SICK. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; for more information please contact Simon Coburn on 03 9690 8766 or simon.coburn@primecreative.com.au.
Nominations details will be announced soon.

Laverton Cold Storage announces expansion

Cold storage service provider Laverton Cold Storage has committed to doubling the size of its recently completed facility located in Truganina in Melbourne’s west, an expansion that will increase the building area of the first-stage development to over 12,000m2.
Laverton Cold Storage completed a 5,920m2 state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled warehouse and blast freezer building in 2015. The expansion, set to be complete in November 2017, will increase its area by 6,520m2.
The expansion will provide additional storage capabilities and expand the facility’s range of temperature-controlled zones for separate product types.
“This most recent expansion highlights our growth and is a testament to the level of service we have been able to provide our existing customer base from our new site,” said Richard Ralph, Managing Director, Laverton Cold Storage. “It has also provided us the opportunity to attract new clients, and we are looking forward to having the fully completed site operational as we amp up for the Christmas period.”
This expansion will focus on environmentally sustainable design, in particular, the use of significant solar power to reduce Laverton Cold Storage’s operating costs and footprint over the term of its lease.
Consultancy firm TM Insight partnered with Laverton Cold Storage in the design and delivery of both stages of developing the purpose-built cold logistics facility.
“The developments have been specifically designed to allow Laverton Cold Storage to offer greater storage capacities in an efficient and optimal manner, while also adhering to the lean principles and cold-chain compliance,” said Nathan Bingham, Director, TM Insight.
“Due to the service Laverton Cold Storage provides, it was also imperative that we focused on sustainable design to ensure operational and energy efficiencies. These cost saving will no doubt provide a competitive advantage.”

VIC storage leasers may be eligible for refund

Companies leasing warehouse facilities in Victoria may be entitled to a refund from their landlords thanks to a recent decision made by the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal.
Essentially, the Court held that the lease of premises used to provide cold storage and logistics services was a ‘retail lease’ for the purposes of the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic), Hunt & Hunt lawyers has shared.
Hunt & Hunt noted that the decision has practical implications for warehouse operators and freight forwarders, making many entitled to repayment of expenses including land tax and repair costs going back six years.
The Retail Leases Act impacts all aspects of the formation, operation and ending of covered leases. In terms of costs for tenants, landlords are not able to pass on land tax liability or legal costs associated with the preparation of leases, and
landlord are responsible for maintaining premises in the same condition as at the beginning of the lease, this includes equipment, appliances and fittings provided on the premises under the lease.
For the case that brought about the decision, IMCC Group (Australia) Pty Ltd v CB Cold Storage Pty Ltd [2017], the Court had to consider whether a lease of premises used to operate cool storage facilities would be classed as a retail lease.
“The landlord argued it was not due largely to the nature of the services provided and the fact that almost all of the tenant’s customers were businesses,” Hunt & Hunt shared. “The Court of Appeal held that the lease was a retail lease and took the following factors into account: any person could purchase the storage services if the appropriate fee was paid; the tenant’s business was open during normal business hours; and the tenants customers were the actual consumers of the storage service.”
The Court was reportedly not concerned that the premises were acquired for a business purpose.
Hunt & Hunt advises that the criteria for ascertaining whether a warehousing and logistics business’ lease is eligible to be classified as retail will include the rental amount, the size of the premises, whether customers can attend the premises, the hours of operation, the services provided and the permitted use of the premises under the lease.
“Every tenant that provides warehousing and logistics services should have their lease reviewed to determine whether it is potentially a retail lease,” Hunt & Hunt noted. “If it is a retail lease under the law, but the tenant has been paying land tax and maintenance and essential safety maintenance costs, there may be a very strong case to demand repayment of those costs from the landlord.”

Linfox evolves with e-commerce

Transport giant Linfox has embraced the global e-commerce boom by adding a new array of fulfilment services to its portfolio that range from storage all the way through to product repairs.
Known for taking a proactive approach on new technology and shifts in market demand, Linfox has embraced the global e-commerce boom by adding a comprehensive range of fulfilment services to its portfolio.
“The market is moving towards online retailing and omni-channel systems, which is something traditional supply chains can’t necessarily support in a cost-effective way,” John Pucek, General Manager – Operations Development at Linfox, told Logistics & Material Handling.
“That’s why transport businesses like Linfox are evolving into much more multi-faceted organisations. Our new fulfilment operation in Sydney is the latest example of that evolution.”
The Sydney facility is designed to provide comprehensive fulfilment services for e-commerce operations – ranging from basic storage, ‘pick and pack’ and dispatch services through to product customisation, kitting, reverse logistics, repairs and even order track and trace services.
“We’re also developing our own, enterprise-grade e-commerce solution for the consumer goods market,” he said.
“A company will be able to purchase a fully managed service where we provide the e-commerce platform, a management team and online store management. We even do all the content management, and it will be integrated into our fulfilment.”
The service is designed for small- to medium-sized businesses trading between $120–300 million. “Rather than having to invest in their own e-commerce platform, they can get the complete package from us,” he explained – adding that the company launched the fulfilment and e-commerce projects at a strategy level in January 2016.
“We secured our first customer, consumer electronics company Belkin, in November 2016, and then went live in April this year,” he said.
Initially, Linfox will continue to focus on the consumer electronics market, he added, and it was recently announced that the company’s second confirmed customer is audio company Sennheiser. Next up are health and beauty. “The service offering suits many industries, but they’re the two current strategic targets,” he shared.
“We want to be a real partner of consumer goods organisations and retailers,” Pucek added – highlighting the evolutionary leap Linfox has taken from its beginnings as a transport operation.
“We’re hoping to be more so a partner than a 3PL – we want to be more integrated with them to help them grow their businesses, and now we’re looking at the other channels for which they want to grow their business and how we can support them by investing in the technologies for them.”
Pucek said that as consumers and small businesses demand better choice in how and where they receive their products, the market will continue to see change and innovation when it comes to last mile delivery.
“The challenge for traditional operators will be to bend and flex with consumer demand,” said Pucek.
“Linfox is investing heavily in our systems to provide small businesses and end consumers with greater visibility throughout the fulfilment supply chain.”

Flexe – the Airbnb of warehousing

US start-up Flexe is revolutionising the way merchants secure storage, using an Airbnb-style model of allocating under-utilised warehouse space, as first reported by Bloomberg.
In less than five years, the Seattle company has established a network – or marketplace – of 550 warehouses, without spending any money on facilities. What’s more, its recently launched overnight US-wide delivery service is better than even Amazon can offer.
Flexe currently has 2.3 million square metres of storage, approximately one quarter of Amazon’s capacity, and the company expects to add a further 930,000 square metres this year.
Flexe has been designed for start-ups that do not know their capacity needs for the future; previously they were obligated to lock themselves into long-term contracts that may prove to be insufficient or overly ambitious for their future needs.
Flexe’s founders decided to tap into underutilised warehouse space, renting it out in the same way that homeowners lease their properties for short periods. The company approached large companies with space booked year-round about using their underutilised space when busy season – be it summer, Halloween, Christmas or Valentine’s Day – has ended.
They then launched ‘overflow’ services, for retailers and wholesalers needing to store pallets of inventory for short periods, later adding online order fulfilment, enabling warehouse operators to charge more to pack and ship orders directly, by truck rather than plane due to the coverage provided by the network of warehouses.
Flexe is proving popular with online brands in the US such as mattress seller Casper as customers can order through the merchant’s own website.

Low confidence in transport and storage sector

The transport and storage sector is struggling to maintain any consistent levels of business confidence according to the quarterly Sensis Business Index, which takes the pulse of Australian small to medium businesses.
The latest results show that confidence dropped by 11 points in the most recently studied quarter, taking the net balance to +24, 20 points below the national result.
This is the only industry sector displaying a negative balance for profitability expectations.
The survey found that support for the Federal Government among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has fallen into negative territory and to the lowest level since Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister.
The net balance fell four points this quarter (from +2 to -2). The score is calculated by comparing the number of SMEs that feel supported by the Federal Government’s policies (14 per cent) to the number that do not feel supported (16 per cent).
Sensis CEO John Allan commented, “After Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister in 2015 we saw confidence in the Government rise, with businesses telling us they were optimistic about the change.
“Since then the Government’s approval rating has fallen nine points and is 20 points lower than the highest score we saw under Tony Abbott, following the pro-business Federal budget of 2015. To find a lower score we need to go back to the March 2015 survey, which was taken after Tony Abbott had survived a leadership spill.
“While perceptions of the economy remain strong, less than one in seven businesses have faith in the Government’s policies, with the biggest concerns being excessive bureaucracy and red tape, as well as there being too much of a focus on the interests of big business,” he said.
 

Victoria logistics hubs change hands for $27m

Macquarie Capital-backed investment management company Logos has purchased a logistics facility in Altona North, Victoria for $27.3 million.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Logos acquired two adjoining buildings through the deal, leased to Toll and Visa Global Logistics, and the facility has a combined gross leasing area of 21,720sqm.
Logos purchased the asset from Cadence Property Group. The facility occupied by Visa Global Logistics was completed in 2016 and the company is currently on a 10-year lease.
The second building is soon to be vacated by Toll, though Logos Managing Director, John March, has reported that there is strong interest from potential occupiers looking to backfill the space.
“We are very confident with the demand and dynamics of the Altona North market, giving us confidence to take leasing risk for an asset of this size and nature,” Marsh said.
Last year, Logos purchased the Oxford Cold Storage facility and the Toll NQX facility in Altona, which together cost more than $250 million.
 

NewCold expands operations Victoria

Melbourne to gain two new temperature-controlled facilities

Temperature-controlled storage company NewCold Advanced Cold Logistics is building two new facilities in Truganina, near Melbourne – including a chilled one for the first time.
The chilled and ambient storage facility will handle product for dairy company Fonterra Australia which is consolidating its distribution network and six warehouses into the one facility. Opening in July, the 12-storey site will be capable of holding up to 110,000 pallets.
“The first of its kind in Australia, the facility is highly automated and, because of its technology, we can be more agile and responsive to our customers’ needs, deliver smaller and more frequent orders and importantly, improve our service delivery,” said René Dedoncker, Australia Managing Director, Fonterra.
The frozen storage facility will stock products for McCain Foods, Australia, as previously reported, and Peters Ice Cream Australia, part of the Froneri group.
It is being built by storage equipment manufacturer Dematic, and will comprise of an integrated system combining automated pallet handling systems using in-house warehouse and control software developed in-house by NewCold.
“The storage and handling of McCain’s frozen products in the new automated facility will give us a more stable temperature regime and highly accurate stock control,” said McCain Foods ANZ Supply Chain Director Taso Kourou.
“We have years and years of experience in automation and that gives us the edge over someone who is building an automated warehouse for the first time,” said Jon Miles, Country Manager, UK, NewCold adding that NewCold is a “truly international temperature-controlled business.”

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