Australia’s tanker manufacturing market has seen significant change since Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, initiated adouble dissolution election in July 2016 that saw both Senate and the House of Representatives dissolved and re-elected. In the wake of the historic poll – over the past decade, Australia has seen five prime ministerial changes – a new breed of agile, internationally minded players entered the scene that continue to challenge incumbent businesses in a segment long considered too complex to be disrupted.
Arguably the most prominent among them is Omni Tanker, a Sydney-based company specialising in carbon-fibre equipment for chemicals and Dangerous Goods transportation that Global Trailer portrayed in mid-2016. Hailed as a unique Australian success story by Turnbull during his election campaign, the young OEM has managed to attract interest from across the globe since being featured in Global Trailer, with a German subsidiary already up and operational to service a growing European client base.
Europe, however, is only one focus area for the young high growth business. As business confidence stabilised post-election, Omni Tanker also managed to make a notable dent in the booming Asia-Pacific market, says Managing Director, Daniel Rodgers, with New Zealand the latest country to embrace the OEM’s carbon-fibre design.
According to Rodgers, the first Omni Tanker unit to travel across the Tasman Sea was a truck-and-dog unit designed for Jasol, a company specialising in the manufacture and supply of cleaning and hygiene solutions for food manufacturing facilities, supermarkets and industrial applications in New Zealand and abroad. It arrived in Christchurch in February and has now gone into operation, “dramatically increasing” the company’s logistical capabilities from day one, as General Manager, Geoff Polkinghorne, points out.
Polkinghorne says growing domestic demand recently prompted Jasol to set up a small in-house transport operation to be able to respond more flexibly during what he deems a critical growth phase for the business. “We don’t carry large volumes over long distances, so we needed a more flexible truck-and-dog solution that would allow us to seriously disrupt the local chemicals market,” he says. “When we couldn’t find what we were looking for anywhere in New Zealand or Asia, we came across Omni Tanker in Australia. After touring the company’s facility in Sydney, it soon became obvious that we were onto something special. The carbon-fibre approach is fundamentally different to anything we had seen before.”
According to Rodgers, both Omni tanks on the unit are constructed with a patented manufacturing technology using a special thermoplastic polymer that gives them a smooth and seamless interior that can be easily washed out post-delivery, allowing for a different product to be loaded almost immediately. “An Omni tank can handle the whole bandwidth of caustic and hypo liquids that are critical for Jasol’s success. It’s a wash-and-go solution, if you will.”
In combination with significant weight savings due to the carbon-fibre structure, Polkinghorne says Jasol’s transport efficiency has gone up about 20 per cent since the new unit arrived. “The local chemicals market is going through a growth phase and competition is strong, so the new unit will provide us with a real, measurable competitive advantage,” he explains – indicating that if growth persists, a fleet upgrade featuring additional Omni Tanker gear will be inevitable.
Rodgers says Omni Tanker collaborated with Australian trailer building heavyweight MaxiTRANS for the design and manufacture of the dog trailer, knowing the company’s well-developed New Zealand service network would be well suited to supporting Jasol in an important growth phase. “MaxiTRANS has a well-established brand in Australia and New Zealand, so involving it made sense,” he says – revealing that the time from initial inquiry to commencing the build was very compressed.
“We normally have a long ‘incubation period’ from enquiry to order, but Jasol needed to move fast, so we sped up the whole process dramatically, commencing the build within two months of the enquiry, which also included a new Dangerous Goods approval to NZ standards. To us, providing that kind of responsiveness and complete service is just as important as delivering a high performance product – we want to change the game on every level,” he says.
“What we’ve seen in New Zealand is a continuation of an export success story that began a little over a year ago when our export business started taking off and saw us featured in Global Trailer,” Rodgers explains, indicating that the unique Omni Tanker design is now dominating the Australian market for Class 8 corrosive chemicals approved equipment. “Omni Tanker is bringing a game-changing value proposition to market that simply cannot be ignored – be it in Australia, Europe or across Asia-Pacific.”
Omni Tanker’s expansion to New Zealand is capping off an impressive year for the young brand, which saw it featured on the cover of Global Trailer edition 29. In a rare case of an Australian OEM trying to break into the European market, Omni gained European ADR approval for its CFRP tanks and commenced export to Germany in cooperation with German tanker specialist, Kurt Willig – an achievement recognised with the 2016 Innovation Award at Expo Petrotrans, Germany’s largest petroleum logistics event. What’s more, Omni Tanker also achieved certification to the latest ISO 9001:2015 standard. According to Managing Director, Daniel Rodgers, the company successfully demonstrated its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet the highest quality standards and committed to the concept of continuous improvement.
Omni Tanker’s carbon composite tanker features a seamless thermoplastic interior that reduces absorption to a minimum and enables easy wash out. The result is a versatile tank that allows transport businesses in the chemicals industry to switch safely between different products following wash out.