Mining equipment company Joy Global was able to significantly cut road transport costs for a major project in Australia when WWL delivered to a port outside the regular schedule.

Headquartered in Milwaukee in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, Joy Global is one of the world’s leading producers of heavy machinery for mining. As well as producing and servicing equipment for surface mining, the company manufactures and services underground equipment, including longwall mining systems with powered roof supports (PRS), one of Joy’s major product lines.

When Joy Global took an order from global miner Anglo American for a longwall system at the new Grosvenor mine in Australia, it was faced with a logistical challenge. Some 152 PRS supports, each weighing between 64 and 69 tons, needed to be transported from Joy’s production facility at Worcester in the UK to the mine, located in central Queensland, some 600km northwest of Brisbane.

Chris Foley, Joy Global’s Manager of Freight, Fleet & Trade Compliance for Australasia, turned to Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) for support with the shipping component of this project 

“We have been a customer for over 25 years now, and when there are special arrangements that have to be made, it’s so easy to make them with WWL,” he says.

Adam Burns, manager of Mining, Construction in Queensland at WWL, and Paul Johnson, head of Sales and Business Development in the UK at WWL, were joint project managers for the shipment of the roof supports to Australia.

Burns says consultation between Joy Global, Anglo American and other stakeholders led to the creation of a comprehensive plan for the delivery to the mine. “Joy Global already had the support of WWL’s frequent sailings from Southampton to Brisbane, but also required three calls into Gladstone, which is not on WWL’s regular ocean schedule,” he says.

Foley from Joy says that WWL’s ability to divert ships to Gladstone was crucial to the operation’s success. Had the supports been sent instead to the nearest port on the regular schedule – Brisbane – the road transport costs would have been much higher. 

With each support taking a total of 12 months to manufacture, it was also crucial that they arrived with zero damage.

The supports were first transported by road from Worcester to Southampton. Here, they were placed on individual roll trailers in order to roll them on-board the vessel. This process ensures safe transit of large items.

Once at port in Australia, the roll trailers were simply rolled off the vessel into the terminal  –– ahead of being loaded onto road transport for the final leg to the mine.

Johnson explains that at the request of Joy Global, progress meetings were held weekly throughout the project, involving Joy, WWL and freight forwarding staff in Australia and the UK. 

“The meetings were important,” he says. “They were a great way to identify potential problems and forecast and plan to reduce potential risks.”

All scheduled sailings arrived on time, except for one that did not go according to plan. However, WWL responded to the problem by speeding up the sailing in order to reduce the inconvenience to Joy.

“Our relationship with WWL allowed us to schedule vessels months in advance, even before schedules were published, and that was fantastic,” Foley adds. “We would definitely use WWL again for this kind of operation.”