THE acquisition by Geraldton-based Tanks2Go of rival tank hire business Clean Fuels Australia (CFA) last September marked a milestone for the business founded by managing director, Mark Westbrook.
The takeover has brought CFA's rental tanks under the control of Tanks2Go, further enhancing the company's position in the Western Australian market.
Tanks2Go is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuelfix, which grew strongly on the back of the mining boom following unprecedented demand for flexible fuel tank hire.
Fuelfix general manager Bruce Gillingham is charged with expanding Tanks2Go to mining provinces in WA, including the Pilbara and Mid West, as well as metropolitan Perth and even Queensland, to service the mineral extraction industry there.
The company specialises in fuel management solutions, including fuel tank installation, management systems for easy recording of fuel usage, road tank repairs, facility management, repairs and site clean ups.
Employing almost 50 people across the service centres of Kalgoorlie, Tom Price, Geraldton and Mackay, Fuelfix and Tanks2Go are continuing with expansion plans despite the mining downturn.
"The wheels of industry continue to turn and some of the headline closures have overshadowed the huge extraction operations that still continue,'' Mr Gillingham said.
"Companies that are avoiding large capital outlay have the option of tank rental and outsourcing the management to companies like Fuelfix - reducing their headcounts.
"Companies are looking at cost-saving measures, and reducing the cost of storing and handling fuel is something Fuelfix delivers.
"Benefits are not always what you spend at the front end, but what you get out the back.
"Environmental impact is also a hot topic and a good example is our self-bunded (double skinned) above-ground wrap tanks, which can be quickly and safely positioned.
"There is no need for costly ground preparation and costly concrete retaining bunds.
"Our mobile trailers are also self-bunded and fully self-contained with spill kits and the lot - a far cry from a dirty leaky tank, which will not be tolerated these days for a number of reasons, namely safety, security and the environment."
He said most vehicles could tow the units, thereby avoiding an added cost burden.
It was customers' differing fuel management needs that led the business's two separate service areas and brands to emerge very quickly, according to Mr Gillingham.
"Our business has grown so quickly so we needed to obtain additional investors so our lines of capital were secure," he said.
"Consolidated Press has come on board and are now a major investor in Fuelfix and Tanks2Go, which enables our growth to continue.
"We now have a firm financial base to continue our expansion. We also made a strategic acquisition of a major competitor [Clean Fuels Australia] and Tanks2Go are now the leading tank rental company in Australia.
"Rapid expansion is also now taking place into the Queensland market and the resource sector there."
Mr Gillingham said having two separate strategic arms and brands of Fuelfix and Tanks2Go enabled the small business to offer one or the other or a combination of both services to customers.
"We can offer different types of service in our separate business arms," he said. "Our growth is being maintained and both arms of our business complement one another."
An example is the 10-year testing of the fuel storage facility at Rio Tinto's West Angelas iron ore mine in the Pilbara.
The 700,000-litre fuel facility had to come offline until mandatory testing and cleaning was undertaken.
Fuelfix was involved in the design, installation and running of a temporary facility in order to keep the mine operating, while Tanks2Go was able to provide 12 large tanks from its rental fleet.
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