Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics made its first call to Adelaide in Australia last Saturday, a new port of call for the company's route from Europe via North America. The decision to include Adelaide has been driven by a significant increase in high-and-heavy traffic to the region. WWL will make monthly calls at Adelaide's Outer Port until the end of the year when the frequency is then expected to increase.
The 200-metre-long PCTC M/V Aida, which has capacity for a combination of 3,000 passenger vehicles and 400 pieces of rolling equipment, delivered a consignment of 1,400 tonnes of heavy equipment for mining and construction sites across the state of South Australia.
The main bulk of it, including four 227-tonne Caterpillar 793F mining trucks and a 104 tonne Caterpillar D11T bulldozer tractor, as well as two 775G trucks and one 777G truck, were for BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam expansion project, located some 550km northwest of Adelaide, and the site of a massive iron oxide, copper and gold deposit. It is heralded as the world's biggest single order for mining vehicles and part of a $1.2 billion budget for the project.
"The mining sector has now reached a point where it is big enough to warrant equipment being delivered straight to our mining doorstep," said the South Australia's minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade, Tom Koutsantonis. "The first consignment of Caterpillar equipment to arrive at Outer Harbour from the US also comprises motor graders and other types of construction equipment destined for mining and
construction sites throughout South Australia."
"We have for some time seen increased demand in the market place for Adelaide, both from North America as well as Europe, mainly driven by large mining projects," said Rob Lord, WWL's head of Region Oceania. "We have had several inducement calls over the years and to support this continued customer demand we now establish a fixed port call."
The Caterpillar machinery was delivered in semi-knockdown form from the US, specifically from Caterpillar's Decatur facility in Illinois, which has recently been expanded by almost 30% to meet the needs of increased mining equipment orders.
The four 793F chassis are to be transported by road to a facility in Whyalla operated by Caterpillar's dealer in Australia - Cavpower - where the trucks will be assembled for service.
According to WWL, Australia's mining industry is forecast to attract AUD170 billion ($171 billion) in investments for resource projects over the next two years. This will include expenditure on equipment, plants and assets directly related to mining and raw materials but will also involve construction of infrastructure critical to transport the minerals for export.
In addition to Adelaide, WWL calls at Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle in Australia as well as to Auckland in New Zealand.
This latest announcement comes on the heels of the recent addition of Galveston on the US East Coast to the route. The rise in heavy equipment shipments comes on top of WWL's established trade in passenger vehicle transport to the Oceania region.