PMP Tiwi Island Project
25 July 2019
Caterpillar® equipment triumphs in challenging conditions.
The Northern Territory may be famous for its vast outback landscapes and indigenous heritage, but it’s plantation forestry that has become an increasingly important industry for the region, second only to Cattle grazing in production land use.
The team at Plantation Management Partners (PMP) manage over 34,000 hectares of forestry plantation in the Tiwi Islands on behalf of Midway Limited and the Tiwi Plantation Corporation Pty Ltd.
The project predominantly harvests Acaica Mangium for woodchip export, and Caribbean pine and northern Cypress pine used in building and construction.
In 2017-18, over 196,603 tonnes of wood chip were exported from the Tiwi Islands Plantation and following a new investment from Midway Limited in 2018, the production was expected to increase to almost 400,000 metric tonnes of woodchip per year and up to 3 shipments of pine logs.
“This is a really exciting year, Midway Ltd got involved end of last year with a substantial investment in the project. This enabled us to purchase some equipment and do some infrastructure upgrades. Making the project more efficient,” said Paul Walford, Deputy General Manager, Plantation Management Partners.
As well as the heightened production targets, the challenging environment, remote location and staff retention were a huge consideration when selecting the right equipment and support for the project.
“We’re pretty isolated over here, it’s a pretty hard environment, its hot & challenging. We wanted a branch that got behind us and supported us.” Said Mr. Walford.
“We really value our people here, it’s one of the hardest things that any industry is facing, is retaining good people. Putting them in the best machinery is a key part of that, giving them nice toys to come work in, is definitely a focus for us.”
Wayne Partridge, Forestry Product Manager at Hastings Deering said that they worked with the PMP team to find the right combination machines, parts availability and local technicians to ensure the success of the project.
PMP took ownership of a 541 Series 2 Feller Buncher with a HF201B Feller Bunching head, in a hot saw arrangement. The team also purchased 2, 545D wheeled skidders to work in conjunction with the machine.
“As part of the discussions, we looked at how we could support these machines from our Darwin branch, as well as how we could upskill both our team and the PMP operators with the service training from Caterpillar,” said Mr Partridge.
Ensuring that the machines are working to maximum production, entails a strong support network in parts availability and maintenance.
“What set the Caterpillar product apart from the competition in this application was the reputation for durability, capability and production, ultimately that was a key driver in making the decision on these machines.”
On a demanding project, the relationship between the team at PMP and Hastings Deering is pivotal to achieving the production targets.
“The key reason why we buy Cat, is that they keep going. It really comes down to the support that Hastings put in out here as to how the machine performs and the support to the team and the workshop.” Said Mr. Walford.
About Plantation Management Partners - Plantation Management Partners provide the staff and technical skills to plant, grow, harvest, chip and market trees for Tiwi Plantations Corporation, this has opened the opportunity for local employment with 30% of PMP’s workforce local to the community. Visit PMP