Project and Logistics Management Strategies


  • Develop and deliver end-2-end harmonized supply chain solutions.
  • Examine and provide advice in respect to supply chain efficiencies.
  • Explore ‘least-cost-pathway’ solutions for supply chains in isolation.
  • Explore ‘least-cost-pathway’ solutions for supply competing over common nodes.
  • Deliver enhancement of port and terminal capacity with supply chain harmonization for port efficiency gains.
  • Deliver enhancement of port and terminal capacity with supply chain harmonization for end-2-end supply chain efficiency gains.

​Case study one - Merger and acquisition:

Develop full end-to-end supply chain from Western Australia to Asia successfully supporting an A$ 750M acquisition.  Provide complete shipping alternatives, commercials and freight options, assess port infrastructure development alternatives, costings and operational parameters as well as plan terminal development with capex, opex analysis and preliminary services structure.  Balance rail freight supply chain interface with proposed export terminal.

This assignment covered discharge port 'matching', vessel capacity matching and options, contract of affreightment advice as well as shipping cost analysis across Handymax, Supermax, Panamax and CapeSize vessels.  Port assessment included channel and berth development, dredging assessment and preliminary costings as well as Statutory approvals and Government policy advice.  Terminal development required concise environmental consideration and critical rail receivals matching.

Beyond the most competitive supply chain options, costs and efficiencies which supported the client's successful bid a number of alternatives were developed which simultaneously delivered a staged approach to achieving the significant economies of scale realizable in the final cape size vessel option.

Case study three - Least cost pathway and shipping task development:

Facilitate a closed-loop supply chain on a least-cost-pathway basis from the Western Australian Yilgarn to Chinese ports in the Bayuguan ~ Fangcheng range.

A full range of transport options was assessed, some in concert with rail/road specialists, to develop a closed-loop system with 'minimum intervention over a range of existing infrastructure' in Western Australia, interfaced with a cost-and-freight based freight task to China. Most competitive supply chain developed for commissioning upon commencement of export which contemplates shared ownership of the sea freight task and concomitant commercial and operational benefits as well as significant risk mitigation.

Case study four - Port services comparisons:

This project positioned the client to be able to justify, in commercial/operational/risk management terms, why certain port services should remain within its remit [whether contracted of provided in-house] subsequent to a major port expansion and development of an adjunct port precinct.

Baseline costs were established and then compared with other applications - to scale and to scope - across Australia to examine ownership, controls and commerciality in relation to twelve core port functions/services.  The areas examined were Harbormaster, navigation aids, hydrographic services, pilotage, metocean, under-keel clearance, pilot transfers, towage, vessel traffic and scheduling, mooring, maritime security and emergency response.

Five instructive and commercially supported recommendations were able to be made in relation to stakeholder [port user] management, lead times for services and equipment, "business rules", industrial relations and justification of 'ownership' or control of the process.

Case study five - Engineering services and infrastructure provider:

Provided a complete analysis of superstructure and service requirements for a major engineering, infrastructure and services provider.  The analysis examined a complete export supply chain for a solid bulk cargo from mine to export vessel loading. The full range of infrastructure, superstructure, plant, equipment and costs were considered.  The examination surfaced current issues and inefficiencies in the supply chain, reviewed ownership and control of the various assets and services, identified key change and improvement opportunities and recommended improvements.

The service delivery and superstructure elements analyzed were; rail wagon loading at mine, rail transportation to port terminal, terminal unloading, conveying to stockpile, storage and re-handling, maintenance of the unloading and conveying system, reclaiming and out-loading, ship loading superstructure and operations as well as maintenance of the ship loading and conveying system.

A cost impact model, examining growth stages and concomitant export volumes and resource requirements, was developed which delivered gross profit, EBIT, EBITDA and ROR% outcomes against cost of Labour, power and plant and equipment variations with each modelled stage of export growth anticipated.

Conclusions in relation to contractual arrangements, operations and maintenance of the system, asset rationalization and asset ownership were drawn in order to contemplate improvement.  Recommendations relating to maintenance services, operations and services, haulage services and rates, Government interface and support and a definitive strategic and commercial approach to the venture were made for client's consideration with a view to bidding for provision of services and superstructure maintenance/provision

Case study eight - Logistics and services options for container operator:

PALMS provides regional WA port and logistics advice to a prominent land and sea container and shipping services provider. Analysis has been related to port access - primarily port services, trade facilitation expectations, terms and pricing of services, productivity and service agreements generally.  

Further engagement has been examination of the issues relating to comparative options over a range of regional ports providing a 'baseline' set of assumptions from which the client may consider various logistics, export and shipping options within their regional setting as well as their interface with international shipping 'strings'.

A 'baseline' Competitive Profile Matrix and general observations as to the relative merits of the options were provided with recommendations following examination of issues in relation to; environmental compliance, vessel suitability, stevedoring services, port access, sea distance, land distance, parallel existing options, customer service delivery, cost/price/commerciality, differential pricing, infrastructure and user group influence.

These works have positioned the client to maximize benefit within their own service and equipment realm as well as within that of their own 'first party' clients logistics service expectations. 

Case study nine - expert advice to Commonwealth Government Regulator:

PALMS has provided 'subject matter expertise' by way of reports and participation in stakeholder engagement with a Commonwealth Government regulator in relation to port access and statutory compliance within a deregulated industry sector.

PALMS conducted a review of a previously audited outcome and provided due-diligence as well as expert opinion, supported by hands-on experience across all areas of the commercial and operational undertakings being considered.  This 'positioned' the client to assess the voracity and the practicability of the recommendations of the audit which regarded port loading protocols and port access undertakings.

The subject matter is of sufficient standard to support precipitant regulatory action as well as be utilised as supporting documentation with the ACCC by the Commonwealth Government.

Case study twelve – Port access matters and capacity utilisation advice:

Legal firm - port access and demurrage claims matter - PALMS advised as to expert matters relating to practical and regulatory port access terms as well as vessel queuing and port/terminal interfaces to enable a credible claim to be pursued successfully.

Case study thirteen – Port access and port service advice for container operator:

Provided advice in relation to Port Authority (against the background of its enabling Legislation) enforcing a monopoly position in relation to port services, trading terms and pricing. Enabled a ‘foundation’ position to be set from which to commence a longer-term strategy to challenge the ports behavior. This was successful with the operator able to comprehend the degree of inflexibility and strategize to develop a productive ‘footprint’ off the port precincts.

Case study seventeen – Berth congestion mitigation advice for container operator:

Review and report into the immediate term, short term and long term prospective solutions of berth congestion in a second generation regional port. Examined terminal services productivity, utilisation of resources, plant and equipment and prospective optimal efficiencies. Examined deployment of mobile harbor crane on each of the two available berths. Developed congestion mitigation strategy and recommendations for consideration to support pre-feasibility for the imitative

Case study twenty – Third party terminal access – Mobile plant and equipment deployment, inducement and access terms:

Engage with major grain exporting entity to facilitate access to latent berth infrastructure capacity by way of deploying mobile harbor cranes on their berth apron. Establish benefits for both parties and commence process of establishing Heads-of-Agreement Terms, access arrangements to deliverer final Deeds and services provision arrangements for operations Works continued to establish operational parameters in relation to physical accommodation of the equipment with respect to deck loading and working tolerances as well as operations establishment.

Case study twenty-four - Contract of Affreightment for Iron Ore:

Develop “best-practice” Contract of Affreightment for iron ore in collaboration with PALMS industry associates/peers effecting cost-and-freight terms, harmonizes with the Contract of Sale to avoid dispute. Attend negotiations, assist/facilitate final drafting in Australia with client enabling them to secure execution of the Contract of Sale referred to in case study twenty-three.

Case study twenty-five – Substitution of tugs with vessels bow-thruster - advice:

Successfully engage and resolve issues arising in a regional port were an incident had occurred whilst handling a vessel with tugs substituted by bow-thruster. Provided advice to client in relation to the issue and avoided over reaction from port. Provided advice in relation to actions to avoid future incidents technically, operationally and strategically.

Case study twenty-seven – Iron ore project proponent – various projects:

Developed several least-cost-pathway freight options for emerging iron ore entity pursuing challenging start-up prospects. This engagement became one which departed from PALMS mission of providing true value for money, never operating in arenas where value is not added and identifiable and was politely exited.

Case study twenty-eight – Western Australian containerised regional port export node development:

These works examined, and proved-up, the feasibility of harmonizing and existing container service from a southern WA regional port with another near-capital city regional port with a view to inducing cargo into the ‘passing’ supply chain as a cheaper alternative to being ‘captive’ to the neighboring WA capital city port.

The service strings examined utilised an existing cellular container carrier and integrated a “conbulker” to provide diverse capacity. The prospect facilitated an alternative ‘least-cost-pathway’ for freight ‘captive’ to the capital city port. Reduced indivisibility of joint supply in the existing capacity on route to the southern WA port and delivered an eleven-day frequency of sailing with round voyages on each vessel set at 24 days on ‘econospeed’.

The value-proposition, beyond alternative pathway and improvement of indivisibility, was provision of ‘buffer’ capacity to ameliorate seasonality, improved frequency of sailings over the WA regional ports, provision of southbound repositioning of containers, significant cost reduction as well as integration of solid bulk capacity within the supply chain.

The Master Process Flows for the tasks were compared, including landside freight costs comparison with justification for a ‘hybrid’ task being established; this being more cost effective than the existing hybrid task over the adjacent capital city port. This initiative was not commissioned due to competing interests with vessel capacity within the clients ‘fleet’ as well as uncertainty in relation to long-term plans, and capacity available, in one of the regional ports included.

Case study thirty-one – Scoping “world-class solid bulk exporting facility for WA Regional port:

Undertake complete scoping study for “export of mineral concentrates in solid bulk over a sensitive WA regional port. The justification being a modal shift from containerised to solid bulk transportation with concomitant cost savings but with improved environmental conditions.

This work included a strong concept proposal and options background given the critical social, political, environmental and commercial sensitivities relating to the matter. The works surfaced “global best practice” for the handling of mineral concentrate (sulphides) in solid bulk and then turned to augmentation of an alternate berth within the existing precincts of the port to facilitate the initiative. The latter following the concept of port infrastructure, superstructure and services development all ‘matching’ with “minimum intervention through a range of existing infrastructure”.

Major components of the works were selection of the ‘design vessel’, interface with the concentrate product characteristics, berth configuration and modifications, proposed ship loader and ‘cascade’ chutes, enclosed conveyors and galleries and a ‘world-class-facility’ negatively pressured storage and receivals shed.

Tonnage throughput and concomitant commercial parameters were also examined with breakeven tonnages and Net Present Value limits expressed; in addition to inclusion of a “Freight Advantage Contribution” charge leveraging contribution to capital against the background of savings when changing mode from containers to solid bulk. Approvals and stakeholder consultation were articulated as were elements of Governance, including shareholder engagement and wide-scope risk management considerations.

Case study thirty-three – Expert legal opinion:

Provide subject matter expert advice to legal firm pursuing damages in relation to port access, port/terminal capacity representations, demurrage and wider damages claims. Advice set against the background of Quality Port Management, supply chain management, port and terminal management and scheduling processes

Case study thirty-seven – Intertidal port operations in environmentally sensitive Northern WA Port Precinct – engagement with DOT and Shire as managers of the regional port site:
Introduce the prospect of petroleum floating storage barges concept in an intertidal port precinct. Attend to hydrographic, maritime safety, port authority interfaces as well as develop concept for moorings and berth pocket footprints. Address preliminary matters of concern in relation to Approvals and Licensed with Environmental and Dangerous Goods Authorities. Address matters of passage planning, towage, vessel handling and mooring as well as mooring arrangements in strong tidal flows for port operations. 

Case study thirty-eight – Design of fit-for-purpose Light Sweet Crude oil barges of 13KT DWT for deployment in WA Northwest to Papua Ports range:
Develop concept design then on pass to Nanjing (Jiangsu, China) based ship design company and provide Class Society and Port interfaces for development of barge design. Barges designed to facilitate frequent grounding with “strength bottom” capability as well as ballasting, unique mooring systems and deployment on one-month round voyage, Foreign Going deployment terms. Address matters of contractual engagement between PALMS principal clients and the Design Company in addition of the vessel specifications, makers list and design parameters themselves.

Case study thirty-nine – Construction of fit-for-purpose Light Sweet Crude oil barges of 13KT DWT in Rugao City shipyard, Jiangsu, China:
Research, engage and select – from a total of eighty - suitable shipyard/s with credentials, competence and capacity to deliver specialist barges. Attend discussions with shipyard executive and interface of principal client. Insect shipyard and discuss stages of construction from contractual milestone, commercial payment parameters, operational construction, completion, warranties, guarantees and delivery perspectives. 

Case study forty – Towage assessment and selection of towage provider and vessels for deep sea foreign going deployment:
Research, engage and select – from a total of six – suitable providers, the most economical and reliable towage provider source. Inspect vessels and report, interface operations into the towage element of the round-voyage planning, commence TOWCON negotiations, development of specialist operational plans (including Bollard Pull versus power and environmental factors assessments), assessment of Class and Flag State requirements for the venture. Address matters of commercial interface such as charter rates, consumption, port costs, towage risks and governance implications for operators.