Briggs and Yale solution helps ASCO to maintain oil field supplies
With the continued expansion of oil and gas production in the North Sea, a leading logistics company has made a multi-million pound investment in new materials handling equipment to help it maintain a constant flow of supplies to dozens of offshore rigs and platforms. Loading and unloading more than 60 ships a week at its Peterhead Offshore Supply Base, ASCO found that Briggs Equipment, working in close partnership with its forklift manufacturer Yale Europe Materials Handling, provided the ideal solution for its needs thanks to a bespoke product range and tailored service support.
One of 15 sites operated by ASCO in North East Scotland, the Peterhead base is amongst the busiest of its type in the UK, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Over a 12-month period it handles around 500,000 tonnes of supplies, which can include everything from food, mattresses and toilet rolls to drill bits, anchor chains and helicopter fuel. The whole operation needs to be timed to the minute. If a ship is delayed by just an hour, the company could be exposed to costs of tens of thousands of pounds.
“Delays are simply unacceptable,” explained Peterhead operations manager, Duncan Bell. “As a result we need a materials handling partner that we can rely on and has the flexibility to meet our unique requirements.”
Until recently ASCO operated a mixed fleet of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment from a number of manufacturers, in Peterhead and other sites in Scotland and across the UK. As the fleet began to age, the company realised that it could enjoy even greater efficiency if it relied on a single make of truck, if a supplier could be found with a comprehensive product range and a proven track record of performance and reliability.
Over the past eight years or so the company has worked closely with Briggs Equipment and following a rigorous tender process ASCO has signed a new deal that sees the introduction of a fleet of 65 new Yale products across 12 sites in Scotland. This fleet has, in the last year, grown to 90 forklifts across 15 sites.
The new fleet includes various Yale diesel-powered ‘big’ trucks and numerous smaller diesel, electric and LPG counter balance and warehouse trucks. Two 140,000 sq ft warehouses on the Peterhead base are also benefiting from the very latest Yale very narrow aisle technology with the introduction of the company’s acclaimed MTC 13 man up turret truck for order picking.
Many of the large lifting capacity counterbalance trucks have been modified by Briggs and Yale to meet ASCO’s unique operational needs. Duncan continued: “We previously operated eight tonne trucks on the site but felt that ten tonne trucks would be more suitable. The extra lifting capacity makes it easier to handle many different types of load.
“However, in most cases having a larger truck would mean larger forks and greater turning circle but the new vehicles have been modified so they operate with the same forks as the smaller trucks which are ideal for our standard container cargo units.
“Briggs and Yale also came up with things we hadn’t thought about, such as fitting some of our new 4.5 tonne forklifts with special lifting points so that they can be lowered into the hold of vessels to further cut down on the time they spend in port. These trucks also benefit from a comparatively small footprint, making them ideal for operation in confined spaces.”
Duncan went on to explain that the relative compactness of all the Yale products was another key factor in its decision to standardise its fleet. The supply base is located on a narrow strip of land next to the harbour, and space is at a premium. “In effect we have gained extra lifting capacity without compromising on flexibility or manoeuvrability,” he said.
Whilst the new equipment has been well received by management on the site, the Yale trucks have also been welcomed by operators. According to Duncan, some drivers preferred a particular brand of truck and were resistant to change. But they were soon won over by the comfort of the new Yale trucks, their ease of operation and particularly the improved visibility they offer. The introduction of a customised monitoring and control system to the machines has also given operators a sense of ownership of their vehicle whilst reducing the risk of accidental damage. “The operators take pride in their truck and see it as their own vehicle, rather than just another piece of equipment,” he added.
Whilst ASCO has been pleased with the closer relationship it has developed with Briggs Equipment, and the materials handling solutions provider is enthusiastic about its role within a dynamic industry sector.
Craig Davenport, Scotland sales manager at Briggs, commented: “The offshore energy industry remains an important part of the Scottish and UK economy and we are delighted to be working with a key player that supports many of the top names in oil and gas production.
“It has enabled us to demonstrate how, in close partnership with Yale, we can come up with a comprehensive materials handling solution in the most demanding situations and provide flexible engineering support tailored to the whole of ASCO’s operation.”
As part of Briggs’ service support, two engineers will be based at Peterhead and an ASCO facility in Aberdeen to conduct full service and maintenance on the equipment, ensuring the trucks remain operational at all times.
Richard Close, Briggs Equipment’s CEO, added: “We are now looking forward to developing an even closer relationship with ASCO in the years ahead. Briggs Equipment takes a long-term partnership approach, working alongside customers to add real value to their logistics operations.
“There are few companies who can provide such a diverse range of equipment whilst maintaining the same levels of engineering excellence and such a flexible approach to client specifications.”
The relationship with ASCO also reflects Briggs’ ongoing commitment to the Scottish oil and gas sector. This commitment has been strengthened following the acquisition of Barloworld Handling in 2012 and Briggs’ new depot on the Altens Industrial Estate in Aberdeen, which will benefit the company’s broad customer base in the North of Scotland.
For further information from Briggs Equipment:
T: 03301 23 98 14
E: info@briggsequipment. co.uk