• Provide Subject Matter Expert services for legal action in maritime, port and wider transport issues.
  • Assist legal practitioners with the development of litigation by way of briefing in relation to maritime, port and wider transport matters.
  • Provide Subject Matter Expert services to Major Stakeholders and Regulators in maritime, port and wider transport issues.
  • Develop intellectual property to facilitate improvement in port, terminal, shipping and freight logistics through subsequent software development initiatives.

​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 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 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 seven - Expert legal opinion:

PALMS was engaged providing expert maritime, shipping, port and pilotage advice in relation to a large marine casualty; confidence precludes any further disclosure.

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 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 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-three – Contract of Sale for Iron Ore:

Develop “best-practice” Contract of Sale for iron ore in collaboration with PALMS industry associates/peers eschewing customary “free-on-board” terms historically utilised in that trade sector. Attend negotiations, assist/facilitate final drafting in China and secure execution of the contract; valued circa A$10B.

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-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-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. 

Project and Logistics Management Strategies