Feature, Freight News, Logistics

Panprojects’ billion-dollar baby

[ March 26, 2014   //   ]

The transport and logistics cost for a single industrial project will soon break the $1-billion barrier, says Panprojects, the specialist arm of Panalpina, one of the fastest growing areas at the freight forwarder. The division saw 20% year-on-year turnover growth in 2013 and now has over 400 dedicated staff. Panprojects was set up in 2002 to address the logistics needs of the world’s most ambitious industrial projects. The service creates tailor-made, end-to-end transport networks for each project.

Panprojects’ global head, Chris Kent, says that the division can be working on up to 40 projects around the world at a time, mostly in the Middle East, Australia, Latin America and the US. The oil and gas industry is a major customer, along with the mining industries of Latin America and Australia and global power and utility firms.

Kent attributes Panprojects’ growth to its vast experience and flexible approach to large jobs, which means it can tailor its workforce and global set-up to suit specific projects. He said: “We’ve spent years developing the people and processes that improve efficiency on major projects. Our people around the world have the local expertise and the global support to establish new routes and continually develop better ways of working on a single project.”

Many of the world’s largest industrial projects are in landlocked, isolated areas, which often require upgrading to ensure that local road and rail links can carry oversized loads safely. Panprojects carries out detailed route and site surveys along the entire supply chain.

One of its latest and largest projects involved work on an offshore oil platform section for BP in Azerbaijan, where after many shipments of components the topside unit of an off-shore oil platform recently set sail for final assembly in the Caspian Sea.

The BP project involves lots of critical fast-track moves that demand a flexible approach. Goods come in in all shapes and sizes, and from all over the world, including the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, the U.S. and a number of countries in Asia.

“The importance of on-time delivery at large projects cannot be stressed enough,” says Kent. “Delays at multi-million dollar projects mean excessive and avoidable cost. Monitoring is therefore crucial to give shippers transparency but also to maintain a high quality service. We also analyse our own performance to identify potential shortfalls and continually improve our operations.”


Picture: The topside unit of the West Chirag platform sails away from the Port of Baku bound for a BP oilfield in the Caspian Sea.