Visa Global Logistics: Crosstown traffic

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

International freight forwarder Visa Global Logistics has launched its second intermodal facility – this time in Erskine Park, due to Sydney’s traffic woes

Visa Global Logistics: Crosstown traffic
Scott Walker, Visa Global Logistics national transport manager


Described as a "congestion changer", Visa Global Logistics’ new facility is set to reduce the number of truck journeys on Sydney’s major roads.

Fed up with bottleneck delays on the M5 and M7 freeways, which have seen vehicles stuck in traffic for up to four hours, the freight operator has taken matters into its own hands by moving closer to customers.

Only three years after taking hold of its first NSW facility in Banksmeadow, the company is already bursting at the seams there.

It started looking for a new venue two years ago and is quietly considering a third, although no timeline has been set, its national transport manager, Scott Walker, explains.

"The current state of congestion in Sydney has been a big challenge for our transport operations," Walker says.

"Our trucks can sit idle in traffic for two to four hours each day, affecting on-time deliveries to our customers and limiting the number of deliveries we can do.

"Our new intermodal facility in Erskine Park enables us to collect and run large volumes of containers from Port Botany to Erskine Park at night, outside of Sydney peak hour traffic.

"During the day, we facilitate deliveries to our customers in western Sydney from our Erskine Park facility," he adds.

"Since these deliveries are outside the bounds of Sydney’s congestion hot spots, our trucks based in Erskine Park can complete several deliveries a day."

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Previously, it could only do two deliveries a day per truck to western Sydney from the Banksmeadow facility.

With over 600 pieces of equipment nationally, there are 45 prime movers and 140 trailers in Sydney.

By moving to Erskine Park on September 3, Visa now operates more efficiently, having removed 50 trucks eastbound and westbound on the M5 during the day. Once at capacity, it expects to increase that number to 300.

By reducing travel time, Visa has also seen more drivers apply for jobs within the company.

"Driver shortage is still a very big issue and we recognise that… but they don’t want to drive down to the Port Botany site – who would want to drive an hour and a half to work and an hour and a half back and drive a truck for 12 hours a day?" Walker says.

"I certainly wouldn’t. What we’re finding now is we’re getting a lot more applicants, we’ve hired well over 10 drivers since we opened out in the west."

Visa Global Logistics is one of the companies supporting fatigue technology trials at Brisbane Port. Read more, here



By escaping congestion, Visa now can show its customers that it can do a more efficient and reliable job, Walker explains.

"We’re already getting feedback from our customers who say they’ve noticed the difference. We’re in the middle of peak season and it’s already showing our customers we can do a better job when we’re not relying on some of the problems within the Sydney congestion," he says.

"It’s giving us the chance of putting a facility of this kind in the west where nothing else like it is right now; there’s rail close by, there’s no other major facility in the area, and when you look around the Erskine Park and Eastern Creek area, as far as you can see there are multinationals and domestic companies, and they need to be serviced," Walker adds.

Established in 1982, it offers a complete end-to-end service such as freight forwarding, customs clearance, third party logistics warehousing, transport and distribution.

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Visa had struggled providing a reliable service before due to the city’s congestion but now can offer a more consistent service, Walker says.

"There was no reliability previously because we were always relying on the problem being the city’s congestion," he says.

"It’s about reduced emissions and the presence of trucks on the road, using high productivity vehicles, which are the safest, brand new trucks with EBS [electronic braking system] and ABS [anti-lock braking system]; the prime movers have got more technology than most passenger cars."

The 40,000 square metre facility is located 55 kilometres from Sydney port.

It has an annual throughput of 120,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containers, a 2,000 TEU hardstand container yard and 6,000 pallet spaces.

Its fleet is engineered to be the lowest possible legal and safe vehicle tare weight, and runs three mass accreditations.

The company works with its equipment suppliers to design and build exclusive trailers such as the super-B dock delivery solution, quad dock delivery solution, ramp trailers and stag B-double combinations.

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"We still have a very large volume that we deliver out of Banksmeadow; it’s about 50/50," Walker says.

"Where we go to south west we still run out of this facility (Banksmeadow), but we do expect that Erskine Park footprint to grow significantly as far as our business model goes.

"We run everything at the highest level of security; all the lights and switches are automatic and we’re in the process of sourcing solar for the roof."

In 2015, Visa implemented a tablet technology in all of its trucks across Australia that covers GPS tracking, real-time confirmation of container deliveries and safety-related procedures.

With Visa signing a long-term lease of the Erskine Park site, Penrith City Council mayor Ross Fowler applauded it for setting down roots in western Sydney, saying such development will transform the region’s economy.

"Visa has picked the best location for its new facility," Fowler says.

"This area is facing unprecedented growth with an investment of $2.9 billion over 10 years in major infrastructure upgrades and the construction of the new airport in Badgery’s Creek."


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