• Assessments and/or advice in relation to Port Service in all spheres of operations.
  • Port service development and integration/implementation/change management.
  • Executive port management advice in relation to commercial, trade-facilitation, marketing and business development, operations, projects and change management.
  • Terminal management interfaces and advice
  • Port management ‘tools’ both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ and their purposes, interfaces and appropriate integration.
  • The process of “Quality Port Management” development and implementation; aligning port strategy and port culture.

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 two - Iron ore mining project:

Assess client export needs at inception of an A$ 150M project and provide advice as to development strategy as well as participate in project control group.

Provide advice in relation to approvals, port access terminal interface arrangements and Government policy. Provide industry network introductions and intelligence to progress transport logistics and wider project arrangements.

Facilitate infrastructure and superstructure, plant and equipment deliberations and formulate service contract decisions with client as project evolves.

Services have included advice in relation to contracts of affreightment, project management, modal choices, liaison with transport infrastructure, superstructure and services providers as well as participation in the investment due diligence process.

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 six - Contracts and tenders, preparation and bidding:

PALMS provided an examination of a prospective bid for superstructure maintenance and operation within a Western Australian port in late 2009 and opined that the risk was excessive and that pursuing the opportunity would not be of value. This resulted in the client withdrawing from the process and focusing resources elsewhere.

PALMS has provided support, within its niche areas of expertise, to bids for maintenance structures and services to shipping generally as well as services within an "alliance" contract arrangement.  Services included assisting with tender document preparation and developing summaries of benefit and identifying 'value adds' for the client ahead of bidding.

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 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 fourteen – Comparative port capability and stevedoring services:

Developed competitive Profile Matrix (first-stage) for an operator examining the complex elements of choice between three ports for export services. The works focused on twelve ‘key mission-critical’ elements that set the ports apart competitively and related them for the client to assess individually and holistically to interface with their own supply chain decisions.

Case study fifteen – Port Services – “contestability and access” – port ownership options “public or private” – strategic options for client in relation to Regional Port:

Client dissonance with operations, commercial ethics and governance process at a major regional port. Provided advice in relation to port service options, set against the background of the (then) current situation, managing market power (leasing and licensing) and closing considerations in respect of wider services options. Provided background and advice as to Port Authority Policy Settings, present classification, drivers for change, options for change and various alternative ownership propositions with timeline and recommendations for change strategy.

Case study sixteen – Container Terminal Hardstand – Access Proposal Advice:

Provided port access and service advice to client seeking dedicated container hardstand. Followed by strategic options and stages for procurement of same and backed up with positivisms of the impact of congestion that would be realisable as a result of the initiative. An overall improvement for client, the port and the remailer of the facility users.

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 eighteen – Midstream barging solution for berth congestion mitigation advice for container operator:

Examine optimal geared ‘mid-stream’ barge solution for regional port. Examine nine prospective barge selections as well as a small ‘land-backed’ terminal berth for onward consideration. Identify ‘design’ vessel as geared barge within project specific parameters.

Case study nineteen - Midstream barging solution for berth congestion mitigation advice for container operator – following on from Case study eighteen:

Undertake on-site condition surveys of barges, cranes, ancillary and propulsion equipment in Indonesia and Singapore. Report on suitability and design as well as required refit and modifications to effect mid-stream barging operations in Australian waters. Develop revised capacity and hydrostatic concepts for “lightship” and “full load” conditions for each selected vessel. Establish base acquisition, conversion and terminal capital costs set-out the process for project implementation.

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-one – Berth design evaluation advice:

This work was a continuance of case studies seventeen, eighteen and nineteen and involved engagement of sub-contracted engineering expertise to deliver three conceptual berth designs to support the mid-stream barging solutions. Three options, to facilitate the landside Lo-Lo operations supporting mid-stream barging, were evaluated; complete with capital cost breakdown. These were a full sheet pile wharf, a deck-on-piles wharf and a dolphin mooring with minimal Lo-Lo apron. This work as deferred until such time as the client could secure a stevedoring license.

Case study twenty-two – Stevedore License application advice:

Provide interface and support to client in relation to technical detail for Stevedore License application before engagement of Legal Advisors and transfer of the process into legal deliberation and dispute with Port Authority.

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-six – Assessment of European Vacu-unloaders for deployment in Australian Ports:

Attended site of decommissioning of fossil-fuel power station on the River Thames, UK. Survey, assess and report on the condition, suitability and practicability of the (prospective) bid-purchase of two VEGAN Vacu-unloaders for deployment to Australian Ports. Reporting subsequently related to General Arrangements and condition, fixed galleries, umbilical plant, pneumatic plant, unloading rigging, midstream barging applicability/practicability, prospective Australian Port sites for deployment and strategic acquisition considerations.

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 twenty-nine – Subject Matter Expert opinion:

Provide specialist advice to Legal firm whose client was claimant in dispute relating to representations made when a major Australian asset was purchased by overseas buyers. Information related to governance, port and terminal management.

Case study thirty – Solid Bulk Solutions over environmentally sensitive port setting:

Provide initial advice in relation to the prospects of resumption of solid bilk mineral concentrates exports. Develop initial “fit-for-purpose” options with general observations to be socialized with regulators and port managers as well as observations and conclusions. Followed up with document setting out broad options ahead of formal scoping study referred to in case study thirty-one.

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-two – engagement with Port to effect amendment to Environmental License to facilitate solid bulk mineral concentrates export:

Engage in ‘works order’ process for risk based amendment to port’s environmental license. Provide single point of engagement for port personnel when dealing with mining proponent and transport logistics provider to ensure timely and correct application made to Department of Environment WA.

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-five – Refrigerated Container Specialist WA – dispute with capital city Port Authority – Lease Renewal Process:
Provide Port subject matter expert and expert legal advice interfaces for strategic, governance, contractual advice in relation to Port Authority obligations and processes relating to enforcement of terms during lease renewal process. Incorporate legal interfaces to attend consumer and competition, administrative and contractual law matters. Strategize, in concert with client’s Board, exit from the Port Authority precinct and ongoing attention to compensation for surrendered assets as well as damages. Attend Government and ministerial interfaces as well as representations to ACCC, CCC, OAG and WA Ombudsman.  

Case study thirty-six – Port Precinct “sitting tenant” WA – contractual and legal challenges with capital city Port Authority:
Matter of enforcement of Lease Agreement terms which were ultra-vires with both the Agreements and the Port Authority enabling legislation. Provide Port subject matter expert and expert legal advice interfaces for strategic, governance, contractual advice in relation to Lessee rights and responsibilities and the Port Authority obligations and processes relating to enforcement of terms during enforced lease terms period. 

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 forty-one – Port Authority – Licence to Operate – Southern WA Port:
Resolve, through advice and interface with legislation, governance, commercial and operational advice, client dissonance (legislative, legal and functional) with commercial agreements relating to port access and operational licensing.


Project and Logistics Management Strategies