Engineering smarter, greener, safer solutions for the steel industry
Driven by innovation, we developed a smarter, greener, safer alternative for the transport of recyclable scrap metal by road and sea – to benefit our customers, our people, and the community.
Toll – the largest freight forwarder operating between Tasmania and mainland Australia – provides multimodal logistics services across a range of industry sectors, including bulk transport of recyclable scrap metal.
Shipments of scrap metal are collected from businesses across Tasmania and transported in open top containers by sea across Bass Strait before being taken by road to processing facilities in Victoria. Upon reaching its destination, the truck hauling the scrap metal tips the container to discharge the scrap metal from a side hatch door.
As part of its continual commitment to working with its customers to improve operations, Toll identified a number of areas for improvement in scrap metal supply chain stemming from the open top containers being used:
- When transporting scrap metal by sea, the open top containers are secured to the ship deck and exposed to high winds – it’s not uncommon for stray pieces of material to be blown out of the open top, which poses a significant safety risk.
- Unloading scrap metal from a traditional container requires a driver to manually open the rear hatch before getting back into the truck to tip the trailer and discharge the load, which puts the driver at risk of being caught in the path of the scrap metal falling from the container.
- During unloading, an open top container is tipped at a 45 degree angle to allow scrap metal to be discharged – at a scrap yard where the ground is often uneven, this carries an increased risk of vehicle roll over.
- Containers used to carry scrap metal tend to sustain significant damage throughout their lifespan – dents, scratches and other structural damage – resulting in a higher turnover rate and need to purchase replacements.
- Open top containers, while suitable for scrap metal, aren’t suitable for carrying general freight – which means they can only be utilised across half of Toll Tasmania’s intrastate supply chain. Each container travels from Tasmania to Victoria full of scrap metal, but has to come back empty. And as paid freight takes preference over empty containers, the Tasmanian scrap metal industry often had months without regular services.
Finding a solution that addressed the identified issues would require significant investment of time, effort and capital, coupled with some clever engineering and industry knowledge.
Recognising an opportunity to innovate, Toll began a collaborative process with key customers and subject matter experts from the steel industry to develop a safer, more efficient alternative to open top containers for transporting bulk scrap metal.
Teams from Toll worked with industry experts – One Stop Metal Recycling Tasmania and freight handling equipment manufacturer Freightquip – and customer, OneSteel Laverton, to design a fit-for-purpose container to service the scrap metal industry – aptly named the ‘Scrap Box’.
Boasting a host of innovative features to improve safety, increase efficiency, reduce environmental impact and add commercial value, the Scrap Box offers impressive benefits in relation to:
- A removable hard top lid makes the Scrap Box just as easy to load as an open container, with the added bonus of providing a cover that effectively contains the scrap metal during transit.
- A floor discharge feature enables scrap metal to be unloaded through the base of the Scrap Box when it is lifted using a reach stacker. Unlike open containers that require an operator to manually open the side hatch before the container is tipped, the operator is protected inside the cab of the reach stacker when scrap metal is released.
- The new design prevents scrap metal from being trapped during unloading, which reduces stress on the container itself and prevents costly damage previously seen with open containers.
- Constructed from a specialised steel blend, the Scrap Box is more durable than traditional containers – each one has an expected lifespan of 10 years.
- Its multi-purpose design enables the Scrap Box to be used to transport a wide range of freight, unlike traditional open top containers that could only be used for scrap metal. This eliminates waste in the supply chain; each Scrap Box can be shipped back to Tasmania carrying general freight, rather than coming back empty.
Greater commercial value
- Being larger than a traditional container, the Scrap Box improves supply chain efficiency and provides increased value for customers; up to 45 per cent more freight can be transported in a single container for no additional cost.
- Because of the improved efficiency brought to the supply chain by the Scrap Box, more than 200,000 kilometres of truck movements have been taken off Tasmanian roads since its introduction – a significant reduction in environmental impact.
The Scrap Box is a prime example of Toll’s continual endeavour to find better, safer, more efficient ways to do business.
Collaborating closely its customers and industry experts throughout a five year period, Toll was able to develop and deliver a solution that drives value – not just for us, but for our customers and the broader industry.
The Scrap Box offers commercial and environmental benefits, as well as significantly reducing safety risks – helping to protect Toll staff and the wider community.
Thanks to this impressive innovation, Toll was named the joint winner of the Transport and Logistics Waste award (alongside Toxfree Australia) at the Australian Freight Industry Awards for providing a sustainable solution to reduce supply chain waste in the scrap metal recycling industry.
Additionally, Toll was nominated as finalist in the Australian Freight Industry Awards 'Best Practice Safety' category, and received a high commendation in the 2016 Safety Improvement Initiative Award at the annual Steel Transport Safety Awards, hosted by the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) and Steel Transport Safety Network (STSN).
Talks are in progress with several steel manufacturers and distributors to potentially implement Scrap Boxes as a safer, more efficient scrap metal transportation solution.
“At Toll, we believe safety and transport go hand-in-hand – implementation of the Scrap Boxes will improve safety in the workplace, on the roads and at sea.
“We formed a working team of staff and customers to take fresh approach and develop the best solution to make scrap metal transportation safer and more commercially viable for all stakeholders.
“I’m proud of the team’s innovation, ongoing dedication and teamwork, and know we’ll continue to collaborate with customers and experts in both the steel and transport industries to improve safety.”
Steve Borg – General Manager