Industry Insights

Ship To Shore: Geelong Port & Isuzu Making Waves

As gateways of national and international trade, our sea ports continue to be indispensable to our national economy.

They serve as a critical juncture between land and sea transport and ensure the movement of freight around our road networks every day – not to mention their significance as a source of employment within local communities too.

This is definitely the case with the Port of Geelong, now branded as GeelongPort, which, as the second largest facility of its type in Victoria, manages in excess $7 billion in trade and has created more than 1,800 jobs in Victoria as a key regional economic hub.

Located in Corio Bay, about 75 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, the port houses 15 operational berths including specialist and general cargo berths, between two primary precincts, Corio Quay and Lascelles.

Historically, Geelong came into the spotlight during the 1850’s Victorian gold rush which saw a massive population influx and led to the establishment of the first shipping line in Corio Bay.

Since then, various precursors to the port’s evolution including its convenient proximity to the Ballarat goldfields helped cement the port’s significance to a growing population.

These days the port plays a major role in the transportation, shipping and transferring of commodities that span a broad range of industry segments. From crude oil, petroleum, wood-chips and fertiliser to break-bulk cargo (such as timber and steel), liquid bulk, grains and chemicals – the facility manages a broad spectrum of cargo from all over the world.

Key customers of the facility include prominent names such as Viva Energy, Midway, Incitec Pivot, Boral and Terminals to name a few.

As a premium bulk port, it sees over 600 vessels each year, connecting the ‘blue water highway’ to our road, rail and air freight links across Victoria.

Managing more than 11 million tonnes of commodities every year seems like a tough assignment to carry out, but the bustling facility, only 45 minutes’ drive from Melbourne, certainly has the infrastructure to handle it all.

As with any major piece of infrastructure, maintenance and management of the port facilities (between the two precincts) is critical to its daily operation.

Darren Green, the General Manager of the GeelongPort Maintenance Team explains, “…maintenance is key to seamless operations within the port. We have two direct groups to help with that: Lascelles maintenance team who handle the cranes, hoppers, conveyor systems and grabs and our core infrastructure team who maintain the buildings and any structures both land and sea side from water craft.”

The latest reinforcement to join this maintenance machine is the Isuzu NPR 65-190 Tipper Crew.

More than capable in and around the facility, the crew cab tipper assists Darren and his team with their overall operations, including general maintenance, infrastructure development and wharf management activities.

As Darren explains, “whether its rubbish tip runs, collecting gravel or just general maintenance, the tipper is important for all types of work we perform at the Port. It is our go-to truck.”

The NPR Tipper is the backbone of Isuzu’s popular Ready-to-Work range, making it an ideal solution for a diverse range of work.

The NPR 65-190 Tipper boasts a GVM of 6,500 kg, power of 140 kW @ 2,600 rpm and torque of 513 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,600 rpm – delivering more than enough oomph to get the job done.

Procured as a replacement for an ageing truck, the Isuzu Tipper has already earned a great reputation with drivers at the facility.

“One of the biggest priorities for us is to make sure that operations aren’t hindered or delayed with downtime. This truck has been great in speeding-up our operations, which we’re very happy about,” said Darren.

“Prior to this, we had an ageing asset with many reliability issues. So, the upgrade has been fantastic, we’re very pleased with it”.

“The drivers are loving it! We’ve had excellent feedback on the ride and handling and the they love the ease of operation.” he said.

Having the right solution for the job was extremely important for Darren, so when it came down to sourcing the right model for the application at hand, they sought the assistance of the team at Winter & Taylor Isuzu in Geelong, who specified the right model based on the unique operational requirements.

“Our contact, Paul Cooper, and the team at Winter & Taylor were extremely knowledgeable, so our experience with them was first class,” said Darren.

“They went out of their way to show us the perfect model for our needs. They also provided a high level of aftersales support”.

According to Darren, GeelongPort’s experience of Isuzu Trucks has exceeded their expectations, so much so, they are keen to add more trucks to the fleet in the future.

As the Port of Geelong continues to grow and evolve as an economic hub for regional Victoria, its future looks bright.

Be it the great Victorian goldrush of the mid 1800s or servicing the diverse needs of new overseas markets, the port facility stands strong as a key point of freight distribution to Australia’s south.

It may be a smaller piece in a much larger puzzle, but as Darren explained, the Isuzu NPR 65-190 Tipper has provided a fit-for-purpose solution for the unique demands of waterside work.

“The Tipper has been an asset to our operations. The whole experience of purchasing it and the way vehicle has performed so far has been second to none.”