There’s a new operation working in a specialised field out of Adelaide which is kicking goals with big corporate clients with its quality of total end to end transport solutions. Diesel News talks to one of the young leaders in the business.
Small transport operations find working for the major corporates to be a very onerous issue. They are more used to sub-contracting to larger transport operations or contracting with smaller businesses. One small operation based in Adelaide has taken the bull by the horns and is working for some of the big players in the energy and mining industries as a primary contractor.
Energy Logistix has grown to become a go-to supplier of logistics in remote areas for the energy industry and big miners as well as managing some major projects in and around Adelaide. The work is arduous and the conditions are tough. Everything is in a hurry and deadlines are tight.
The operation has found a niche in which it has become a logistics and project manager of choice for a number of the big players running oil and gas rigs and other remote area facilities. There was a need for a professional end to end logistics provider in this niche and Energy Logistix saw the opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.
“We are a transport and logistics solution and the majority of our work and business is based around project management,” says Shaun Williamson who runs the day to day operation of Energy Logistix. “Jo, who’s my mum, started Energy Logistix, and I came from an oil rig background. When I was a kid my grandfather had concrete trucks and we traveled around the Northern Territory.”
Shaun also had a period of working as a professional motocross racer until the age of 19, before working out on the oil rigs. It was during this period he and his mother saw there was a niche in the oil and gas industry, for remote area transport and logistics.
“The transport and logistics wasn’t being handled very well in remote areas,” says Shaun. “It wasn’t very professional. There was no tracking, the fleets weren’t being upgraded. People working on the rigs never knew when something would arrive. It would just rock up to the rigs, whenever.
“If you were in a rig down situation and people were screaming for a spare part or some tools, there were only a couple of providers in that space. The service levels were bad and there weren’t many operations interested in the business because it was too hard to manage because of the remoteness, wear and tear on equipment. They didn’t know the area. Trucks would get bogged. They didn’t monitor weather.”
At the time Jo was working as a freight forwarder, moving goods on other transport operations equipment. When Shaun came on board he brought trucks and equipment to do the actual task.
“We joined forces, mainly to get our own fleet to run the remote areas stuff,” says Shaun. “We would still run all of our approved vendors and subbies to handle the line haul work. We would then put the freight on our gear to run it out to all of the places no-one else would go.
“Really it started with the experience and understanding of project management side and the risk factors and the potential loss of time and money for our clients. So we have built our business around our expertise in those areas.
“It has grown from oil and gas, plus mining, to all of those industries that go to those areas, like defence. We will meet a plane coming into Sydney airport to pick up a spare part which has to get to an oil rig in a remote area. We get pallets from Sydney to Perth because the oil company need them for a rig in the North-West.”
The company will handle the whole process and update the client every six to eight hours to keep them up with the latest information. The equipment and the team is built around maintaining a high level of service.
The business has been operating for over five years and after the first couple of years the fall in the oil price affected this whole area of operation.
“The fall in the oil price was one of the best things to happen to us,” reckons Shaun. “We weren’t one of those businesses based on the ‘here’s a truck’ basis. We were based on solving their problems, whether it be reducing their costs or saving money by not using a truck. We would store equipment for a limited cost when they were not using it.
“We would help them with their problems, and then we would get their transport. That would be the return we got for the front line solution we found for them. The downturn hurt our fleet because we weren’t utilising it, but it didn’t really hold us back from getting a lot more clients.
“We were offering to solutions to these clients and now, when it’s turning back up, we’ve got quadruple the clients we had when it went down. It made us evolve our business for the best. It made us sit down and look at what other avenues we could go down and provide solutions for. Not just in oil, gas and mining.”
The setbacks of the downturn had made the business more resourceful in creating solutions for clients. The company gained some resilience through those tougher times. The downturn also made the large energy companies examine their own systems and drove them to look for more efficient solutions to their logistical and other needs.