Air Liquide: Servicing the outback
Air Liquide specialises in the distribution of industrial gas – even in the most remote areas of the Australian continent. Tim Giles talked to the company’s Northern Territory branch about the challenge of servicing the outback.
Servicing Darwin and the Northern Territory is a challenge for any business in the logistics industry – especially if it is a large-scale corporation that is new to the area. The characteristics of the infrastructure and sheer remoteness of the location often present those multinationals with unique problems they face nowhere else in the world.
In many cases, the ‘standard model’ used to service the east coast capitals cannot be applied to handle transport in Darwin; the vast distance of the city from any national distribution system means customised solutions are needed to cope with the day-to-day problems of getting goods to the end customer.
Air Liquide, a French company supplying gas to a wide range of customers across the world, has made that experience long ago. Since it arrived in Australia, the company has set up tent in Darwin to be able to handle the Territory's special needs and difficulties. That ‘localised’ approach is paying off ever since Air Liquid opened its first branch the industrial suburb of Winnellie in 1957.
Today, the area around Darwin is highly industrialised, and despite the economic slowdown elsewhere, new projects in both the mining and liquefied natural gas industry continue apace. The gases are delivered to a wide range of customers, from retail clients all the way through to major industrial sites. Many of them are workshops, either mechanical or fabrication. There are also a large number of food operations - all the way from beer to fish production - who require gas deliveries; and Air Liquide even supplies medical gases to health establishments.
Read the full story in the current edition of Prime Mover, out now!