The importance of strong supply chain logistics

Gas Today speaks with Qube Energy General Manager Leatrice Grundy about some key strategies she has employed to ensure an immediate and efficient logistical response to any stakeholder requirement.

Operating under the Qube Holdings banner, Qube’s Energy division provides comprehensive support for the high pressure pipeline and infrastructure industry via a range of integrated solutions.

Qube has further established itself in the oil and gas sector by providing clients with innovative and reliable stevedoring and logistics support, while Ms Grundy says an important skill for any logistics strategy is the ability to be agile and flexible to clients’ needs, which requires innovation.

Flexibility for a quick response

Ms Grundy says an essential characteristic for any logistics company is the ability to provide a flexible solution for clients.

With key projects for the group including work on APA Group’s Victorian Northern Interconnect Expansion (VNIE) Project and Origin Energy’s Halladale and Speculant Gas Project, also in Victoria, Qube has been responsible for a massive shipment of pipe delivered to the Port of Melbourne from China in early 2015.

“I think having a level of flexibility for clients is critical,”? Ms Grundy says.

“Once the pipe arrives we’ve got all these other complexities in place; construction contracts and operators, inductions that need to be done.

“Unfortunately you can’t run a wharf or a transport business like a bus timetable. It just does not work that way in this industry.

“There’s a lot of juggling, that’s for sure.”?

Innovate to succeed

Employing over 5,500 people as Australia’s largest integrated provider of import and export logistics services, Ms Grundy says innovation has allowed the company to service the oil and gas industry effectively through an integrated supply chain solution stretching across Australia and New Zealand.

Qube’s capability and focus on innovation extends across all Australian states and includes:

  • Freight forwarding and customs clearance
  • Stevedoring
  • Specialist equipment for pipe handling, including in-house designed pipe hooks for coated line pipe discharge, vacuum lifts and an advanced stock pile system for storage at Qube facilities
  • Load out and delivery to end destination points in sequential order
  • Logistics and inventory stock management reporting.
  • One example of an innovative approach for Qube Energy involved the creation of an A-double combination to transport drill casing from the Port of Brisbane under a contract with MITO to distribute casing from the Port of Brisbane to Miles for QGC.

This contract has been running successfully for the past three years with Qube’s introduction of many innovations to improve efficiency, productivity and eliminate safety risks on the transport and handling legs.

Some innovations that Qube introduced on the contract include:

  • The design and patent of casing bolsters
  • Transport of casing on A-double road trains with a payload of 49.3 t, substantially reducing truck movements and safety risk to all road users
  • Use of a Toowoomba facility as a hub for deliveries to Miles, allowing the company to change out drivers at the facility for onward delivery to Miles and thus avoid any driver fatigue issues
  • Use of a distribution centre on Fisherman Island for storage of casing, in order to arrange orderly delivery flows to the Marubeni casing yard in Miles, with the Fisherman Island and Miles distribution centres providing vital overflow areas for surge demand
  • Use of a vast fleet of prime movers and trailers positioned on the transport route of Brisbane Port to westward destinations, such as Toowoomba and the Surat Basin.

Road restrictions between the port and Toowoomba also required a unique solution to complete the contract, which resulted in a shorter trailer length.

“What we do is generally run those A-double trailers on circuit, so between Brisbane and Toowoomba around the clock to move that cargo,”? Ms Grundy says.

“We’ve then got a facility in Toowoomba where we swap drivers, so that’s how we manage fatigue and our trailer swap outs.”?

Learning from this experience, Ms Grundy says an ability to adapt to different scenarios is imperative for any logistics company to remain competitive.

Not only does an effective logistics strategy require getting a product from A to B, but the ability to innovate and adapt is a crucial ingredient for success in this industry.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend