RoRo provides shipping solution for gold mine machinery from Italy to Australia

Commissioned with transporting sections of ball mills for a mining project, forwarder AAW Project Logistics needed a logistics partner that could move out of gauge products from Italy to Australia.

Mining shells

As with many industries, the mining sector is facing disruption because of geopolitical risks that impact on its supply chains and commodity prices. At Ravenswood Gold Mine in Australia, these risks and challenges come at a time when it is experiencing major changes.

A hugely important mine, Ravenswood is undergoing major expansions to transform into the largest of its kind in Queensland. The first stage of the project included the recommissioning of the third grinding mill at a processing plant with the aim of increasing processing rates to five million tonnes per year.

This upgrade demanded a new three-stage crushing circuit, a new ball mill, additional leaching capacity and other infrastructure improvements.

Shipping from Italy to Australia

With sections of the ball mill made in Europe, global freight forwarding company, AAW, was tasked with transporting the components from Livorno to Brisbane. The current global shipping capacity issues and supply chain disruptions, made the procurement of these large out of gauge ball mill segments quite difficult to find capacity for via the usual cellular services.

The size of the products also presented logistical challenges. Ball mills are ore grinders, in this case large scale cylindrical devices with steel balls inside the shells. When they turn, the balls drop from near the top of the shell and crush the ore. As they were being transported in their unbuilt state, the components measured over 8.3 meters in length, over 4.2 metres in width, 3.97 metres in height and weighed 43,500 kgs each for the larger components. To accommodate the size of these components AAW needed to secure oversize transport permits from various authorities in Castegnato province to Livorno, in a time of Covid-19 restrictions.

“We faced a number of challenges with this shipment,” said Darren Bennett, general manager AAW Project Logistics. “We needed a provider who could supply us with a reliable and viable breakbulk solution in a difficult market.”

Finding the right solution

Combining a global RoRo network with local knowledge we provided a bespoke service to AAW by moving our roll trailers to Livorno for the loading, where our technical specialists were on hand to oversee the safe loading and stowage of the components on board a waiting vessel.

“The biggest challenge was trying to synchronise between AAW attaining their road permits and lining it up with one of our vessels. The disruption in the market made it difficult to align transport availability with shipping schedules,” explains Angelo Gnanasigamony, Wallenius Wilhelmsen sales representative, based in Australia.

By having the handling equipment ready at the terminal, we could move quickly, saving valuable time.

Using third-party tonnage, the products were transshipped from Livorno to Bremerhaven, where they were fumigated against Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) before the final leg of the journey to Australia.

“Wallenius Wilhelmsen supported us right from the beginning of the project, from providing freight estimates at the tendering stage through to the products’ arrival at Brisbane and the Australia team ensured we received regular updates, space and equipment when it was required,” Bennett said.

“I expect we will continue to work with Wallenius Wilhelmsen for various breakbulk and project cargos in their trade lanes.”

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