In conversation with ABHR, Andrew Pellizzari, general manager of Flinders Logistics is optimistic about the company’s prospects, as it adds equipment and infrastructure and works out how to capitalise on its patented dust suppression technologies.
ABHR – What is the current extent of tippling operations at Flinders Logistics? How has this changed from 12 months ago?
Andrew Pellizzari (AP) – Tippler operations continue to be a core business at Flinders Logistics generating a significant amount of our revenue, albeit in the last 12 months we’ve continued to branch out into other commodities and other cargo handling modes, while maintaining a focus on the mineral and oil and gas sectors.
Our customers are all achieving or exceeding budgeted projections and are pleased with the operational outcomes achieved through the tippler process.
ABHR – Does the company have any new pieces of infrastructure or equipment in its tippling program?
AP – We’ve continued to grow with the industry by reinvesting in plant and equipment to deliver a faster, more efficient service to our customers. In addition to our second Terex Gottwald mobile harbour crane, that started active service about 14 months ago, we’ve deployed new Terberg terminal tractors with customised trailer combinations and new Kalmar reach stackers at our Berth 29 facility in Port Adelaide.
The business has also invested in tipplers with their own power pack. This means that we can use them on ship’s cranes and on reach stackers — giving us more flexibility when we handle bulk commodities in containers. We’ve also brought in the second generation of our Container Spreader Guidance Apparatus (CGA) which has significantly improved operational efficiency and safety on the wharf.
Other safety-driven initiatives across other parts of our business include the development of the automatic bulka bag spreader which allows the release of cargo whilst employees are at a safe distance.
Overall Flinders Logistics will continue to review and refine our processes, technology and equipment.
ABHR – Is iron ore a viable product for the tippling method going forward? Would the price need to rebound for tippling to be more viable for iron ore? Is tippling now really only viable for mineral concentrates such as copper concentrate?
AP – Tippling for iron-ore certainly works as an effective solution as it can help to get a mining junior to market for very little capital. However for projects that require significantly larger volumes the tippler process is more expensive than conventional bulk handling methods.
The iron-ore market has certainly been hit hard with the current commodity prices and all resources companies in this space will be reviewing their position – not just those wanting to utilise the tippler option.
ABHR – Since our last story on Flinders Logistics at the start of 2014, have you made any further refinements to the misting or yard management systems?
AP – We’ve had significant interest in our dust suppression systems from companies both here in Australia and abroad. Our patented designs and techniques in dust technology have created a level of recognition and momentum that is quickly morphing into a niche market for Flinders Logistics. The combination of DF Misting Fan and Bar systems provides a very versatile dust suppression solution that manages dust, preventing it from escaping the hold of any vessel regardless of wind conditions or vessel hatch configurations.”
We haven’t just limited the use of this technology to loading of vessels either; Flinders Logistics is using it for unloading imports of concentrates with similarly excellent results.
Dust suppression has been a huge component of our tippler process from its inception in 2010. This has resulted in us amassing a huge body of knowledge covering in-house designs and techniques, and this has enabled us to recognise and implement effective applications for varying products, weather conditions and vessel types.
ABHR – Are there any new projects or companies on your radar that you can mention?
AP – We have a number of new contracts and clients in the pipeline. These deals are confidential, so we haven’t been publicising them. With the successful expansion of operations into regional ports within South Australia, Flinders Logistics plans to look further afield at opportunities interstate.
ABHR – To close: any other news from Flinders Logistics that you feel is pertinent?
AP – We’ve invested in our intellectual property and that has spurred us on to look for other improvements in environmental and safety management. The DF Misting fans have been a step change for us in dust suppression. These have real potential for use outside of cargo handling too. We’ve had interest in our innovations from other customers and from companies in other sectors, so we are considering spinning out dust management as a stand-alone business, but we’ll see what the next 12 months brings.