Centurion carries the day

PERTH-BASED Centurion Tran-sport has won what is believed to be one of the largest logistics contracts ever awarded in WA.

The 32-year-old family business has secured a five-year $90 million contract as lead logistics carrier for the Rio Tinto group of companies.

But while the deal is good news for Centurion, it is feared many smaller transport operators based in the north west of the State will suffer.

ABS figures indicate the mining sector spent $178 million in 1998-99 on freight and cartage, increasing to $212 million the following year.

From August 1 Centurion will be given the exclusive freight contract with responsibility for all facets of transport including air, rail, sea, local and long distance, general and specialised and bulk handling for Rio Tinto’s diverse mining operations.

The deal was struck following a drawn out tender process that lasted several months and had stringent requirements.

The operations to be serviced under the contract include Hamersley Iron, Dampier Salt, North-Robe River, Argyle Diamonds, Pilbara Rail and Luzenac – an area stretching across regional WA from the Kimberley to the Pilbara and Gascoyne.

Rio Tinto had previously used a number of transport providers, including Centurion, for its transport needs.

Centurion managing director Marc Cardaci said the company was well equipped to deal with the extra workload.

“The capacity of Centurion Transport to provide and manage such a vast array of logistics services is very rare within the industry,” he said.

Mr Cardaci said rather than hoarding all the work itself, however, Centurion would be calling on other transport providers to fill in the gaps.

“As lead logistics provider we will perform much of the work ourselves and manage outsourced components such as air and rail,” he said.

“It is encouraging that Rio Tinto, in its thorough evaluation process, acknowledged our capabilities, the skills of our people and the value we bring to the market.

“Our significant investments in technology and proven systems were recognised as factors enabling us to conduct business across a diverse multitude of requirements and services.

“We are pleased to expand our association with such a forward-thinking company.”

But Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry acting president Steve Prestidge said that, while he had no confirmation of the contract win by Centurion, it could have a dramatic impact on towns in the north west and their strong transport contingent.

“It depends on how far reaching this contract goes, but having just one transport provider could have a substantial impact on the local, smaller transport providers,” Mr Prestidge said.


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