Rally brings international logistics challenge
When the NAC Insurance International Rally of Whangarei takes place over the weekend of 6 and 7 June, an integral part of the event’s preparation will have been the shipping of cars and equipment for the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) competitors.
The previous APRC round was in Queensland on 9 and 10 May and the aim is to have everything arrive a week prior to the next event, says APRC co-ordinator, Murray Brown, who manages the logistics of shipping the team’s valuable containers around the seven countries which host the APRC rounds. These are: New Caledonia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
Christchurch-based Brown grew his logistics prowess having been responsible for freighting the late Possum Bourne’s cars and equipment around the globe. He says timing is critical with just four weeks between the Queensland’s mid-May round and the New Zealand event.
“We can’t afford to miss a boat or have a vessel delayed,” comments Brown. We have to fit in to sailing schedules as well as internal travel. Those four weeks disappear very quickly – especially when we like to have the containers on the ground for the teams a week before the event – so the timeframe shrinks very rapidly.
“With the current economic situation globally, a lot of the shipping lines are actually rationalising their shipping schedules so the length of time to transit from point A to point B has increased in a lot of cases, simply because they are calling in to point C along the way,” adds Brown.
With nine containers to ship safely to Whangarei, Brown says the job is to provide a country-to-country service so the teams can solely concentrate on the competition.
“Coming in to New Zealand we have a mix of five 40ft containers and four 20ftcontainers. Two teams run their own mobile workshop trucks, with rally cars reconnaissance cars and one team runs a people-mover as well, plus spare parts, and tyres. We have at least seventeen vehicles – a mixture of rally cars, reconnaissance cars and support vehicles.
“Normally included in the containers are 5-600 tyres spread across the teams, plus any others that get air freighted in, but the biggest other concern is the fuel, which has to be shipped separately.”
The APRC cars are required to run a commercially-available 102 RON (Research Octane Number) unleaded fuel, which isn’t available in all countries.
“So that is another service where I supply the fuel in the service park. It’s sourced from Shell in Australia and is shipped to all the individual events. Obviously there are issues around the dangerous goods side of things and any duties or taxes that may be payable due to it being a consumable item.
“It has to be done by the book.
“We offer a one-stop-shop, basically moving the container from service park to service park. So the only time the team has to worry about their container is when it’s on-event.”
And while the teams are busy with pre-event activities such as the driver autograph signing session and the ceremonial start on Friday 5 June, Brown will be busy planning what equipment needs to be packed and ready to leave Whangarei for transport to the island of Hokkaido in Japan for the next event just five weeks later.
Full details about the NAC Insurance International Rally of Whangarei, including spectator maps and event schedules, can be found on www.rallywhangarei.co.nz
2009 Asia Pacific Rally Championship calendar
Round 1, 9-10 April, New Caledonia
Round 2, 9-11 May, Queensland (AU)
Round 3, 6-7 June, Whangarei (NZ)
Round 4, 11-12 July, Hokkaido (JP)
Round 5, 15-16 August, Malaysia
Round 6, 3-4 October, Indonesia
Round 7, 14-15 November, China