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FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTAUSTRALASIA


growth in vehicle sourcing from the USA to Australia and New Zealand, as well as a slow uptick in the Australian mining and construction segments, gave an opportunity to extend the service to meet this demand. “Used machinery is often a good indicator of sentiment in the market and for many years we exported quite a lot of machinery from Australia with very little moving import. In the last 12 months or so we see ongoing [import] demand for certain types of machinery, and a general optimism in the used machinery market.


“While the volumes certainly do not reach 2012 levels, it is encouraging to see this cargo moving again after such a depressed period. Of course, there are also many other cargo types that also are impacted by increased spending in the mining segment, not least new machinery, and we also see similar optimism in these areas.”


New service appeal Wallis sees the new service as having appeal to the project forwarding market into and out of Australia.


“Our new vessels that trade to Australia have greatly increased capabilities [6.5 m door height, 375-tonne ramp – currently the largest ro-ro vessels in the world], and our ever-growing fleet of Mafi trailers allows us to handle longer, wider and heavier cargoes than many would expect.


“More importantly though, there is a strong internal drive to support project cargoes within Höegh Autoliners, which can be seen by the effort that is taken to provide professional solutions at the quotation stage.”


He added that while the primary focus thus far has been to increase the company’s service offering for imports southbound, it will be exploring the market for cargo flows from New Zealand to Australia and Asia, as well as exports from Australia. Another ro-ro carrier, WW Ocean, is also upping the ante, increasing frequency from three to four sailings per month from North America to Oceania.


Richard Chu, New Zealand commercial manager for WW Ocean and WW Solutions, said the company’s cargo traffic from North America remains healthy, with increases in overall trade volume, particularly in auto, high and heavy machine and breakbulk. Underpinning this increased confidence


in the Australasian project sector are announcements such as that from Santos and its GLNG partners investing AUD900 million (USD694.2 million) in Queensland gasfields this year. The announcement includes first-year


92 May/June 2018


Our new vessels that trade to Australia have greatly increased capabilities ... and our ever- growing fleet of Mafi trailers allows us to handle longer, wider and heavier cargoes than many would expect.


Both Queensland and Western


Australia have seen a uptick in mining investments.


funding of AUD750 million (USD578.5 million) for the Roma East project, which will be developed over the next three years creating up to 400 construction jobs.


There are also signs that the mining sector is beginning to lift after a prolonged downturn.


Mining companies are beginning to hire again in Queensland’s coal country. Market analyst BIS Oxford Economics recently concluded that Australia’s mining downturn


was almost over. Higher prices being paid, especially by China, are behind much of the recovery in Queensland. Over in Western Australia, things are also beginning to look up.


Economic recovery


Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said the Western Australia economy has turned the corner. It has been Australia’s worst- performing state or territory for the past three years, since the end of the mining boom left it with a sharp contraction in overall economic activity, a large increase in unemployment and an overall decline in average wages for most workers. However, Lowe is optimistic that the worst is over. “We are not going back to the boom days,


obviously, but after a number of years of very high levels of investment, the firms need extra investment to replace the depreciation of the capital stock,” he said. “So we are starting to see more


self-sustaining investment growth in Western Australia in the mining sector, and that is picking up conditions in Perth. “It is not a boom again but there is more sustainable investment going on and that is helping the Western Australia economy, which I think has now turned the corner.” A word of caution to the oil and gas sector has been sounded, however, by consultant Deloitte. Speaking at the Australasian Oil & Gas


– Brendan Wallis, Höegh Autoliners Oceania


(AOG) conference in Perth, Bernadette Cullinane, Deloitte Australia’s oil and gas leader, noted that the sector has become fitter, leaner and more resilient. She added, however, that Australia’s operators must maintain their disciplined focus on efficiency, productivity, operational excellence and control of costs, while positioning themselves for what comes next. HLPFI


www.heavyliftpfi.com


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