QuayPack team thinks outside the box
Posted on 17/12/2013
QuayPack is Port Nelson’s dedicated on-site cargo consolidation service. While many customers know about its work consolidating timber and wine into containers for export, including using purpose-fitted containers with bladders for bulk wine, many people might not be aware of some of QuayPack’s more inventive work with quirkier cargoes.
Recent unusual container loads packed by QuayPack have included helicopter rotors, extremely large water pipes that had to be unpacked so as to protect them from any bumps or damage using a specially designed loading arm created by Port staff, and molasses for stock feed – not a job where you would want any accidental leakage to occur.
Unloading imported cargo is also an increasing part of QuayPack’s business.
“This can range from dealing with stacked pottery, furniture, solar panels, vehicles and machinery,” says Port Nelson Logistics Supervisor, Mark Smith. “We’re getting all sorts of different challenges. We’ve got solar panels, which obviously we’ve got to handle really carefully, blasting grit, fertiliser, salt bags. Pottery cargo from Indonesia or the Pacific Islands can be particularly challenging. “It’s amazing how much cargo they can get into containers and it’s a matter of us juggling to get it out because it’s all been stacked by hand and not by forklifts.”
QuayPack staff follow set procedures to ensure that they safely unload such cargoes. We’ve got specific ways of opening container doors in case the product does fall. We stand in a certain way so that if the doors fly open we’re not behind them or in front of the load. Health and Safety is a big part of what we do and it’s something we’re always aware of. There are challenges but with the experienced people we’ve got, there are always people that will take control of the job.”
Every now and then there is also an unexpected bit of flora or fauna in a cargo but the QuayPack team are all certified by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and work closely with Customs and MPI to manage any risks.
“Port Nelson has the only facility for handling high risk container cargoes in the top of the South Island so that means that we are able to handle anything that might be deemed high risk in our quarantine area. This might be the case with some imported timber which doesn’t meet New Zealand standards or if we have something in the cargo such as a live insect, coffee beans or dirt.”
QuayPack’s customer base has increased both in terms of volume and breadth over the last 12 months, says Mark. “We have the knowledge and experience to handle a really wide range of cargoes by working alongside the customer to come up with the best result for them. We work with customers to maximise loads out in weight or cube, to achieve the best stowage result for them in a container. Sometimes that can mean turning product or strapping product together so that it slides easier.
“We also think carefully about making it easier for the person unloading the container at the other end in the case of export containers. Whether that’s putting slipsheets on product or making it small enough so small forklifts can get it out.”
The team are currently working alongside a customer to figure out the best way to transport large laminated beams to a building project in Australia. We’ve given them some ideas and options for how they can get that into a container and other ways that they can get it across to Australia so they can deliver their product in good order and on time.”
The very thorough QuayPack team maintain a pristine work area with a clearly marked place for every tool to ensure that nothing ends up in a container that should not be there and no accidental damage to container cargoes can occur. The team’s high standard of work is reflected in the fact that many of their current contracts have come about by word of mouth recommendation.
For cargo that can’t fit into a container the team also load onto flat racks – a container base with no ends. “We’ve loaded vehicles and other machinery onto flat racks, including some 30-40 tonne machines that are going back to mines in Australia. Getting the equipment onto the flat racks and having the knowledge to lash them down securely is also an expert task and QuayPack work closely with Cookes Wire Ropes to ensure that they comply with legislative requirements.
In the future QuayPack will be developing its warehousing capability for customers. “We’re getting into warehousing more products and using warehouse management systems. We work closely with our customers leading up to the Christmas period. This means that they can store their product with us to cover the end of December and early January and we can keep packing it for them while they shut down and have a holiday.”