Australia seeks industry input on innovative port logistics

The Australian defense industry minister has announced a request for information inviting companies to have their say on how marine support services should be delivered in the future.

Illustration: Royal Australian Navy file photo of HMAS Canberra at Fleet Base East, Sydney, NSW.

The RFI was issued for the Defence Marine Support Services (DMSS) program which includes services such as tugs for port movements, harbor refueling, transport services between ships, stores and personnel transfer and aviation training.

The program is initially valued at AU$83 million annually over the next five years but is expected to increase over time as further services across Defence, and potentially other government agencies, are considered for inclusion.

It’s expected more than 287 jobs will be created across Australia in major ports and defense establishments such as Sydney, Darwin, Cairns and Perth.

Defense industry minister Christopher Pyne said this approach would allow Australian defense industry to work together to develop creative contracting options to enable capability delivery at sea.

“This is about thinking outside the square to deliver a long-term and flexible solution for defense and industry.”

“Instead of just contracting one large prime to do all the work, perhaps the best option is engaging multiple smaller companies.”

“It will also provide a sustainable ongoing business model for industry and provide taxpayers value for money.”

“We know from experience contracts entered into now may not be fit-for-service in the future.”

Once options have been received, defense will work with industry to develop a contracting model which ensures support services remain up-to-date.

“This approach will shape a new way of doing business to ensure marine support services are adaptive to evolving requirements.”

The DMSS Program will start in 2021 and will initially deliver marine support to Navy’s fleet in ports across Australia, including supporting exercises, operations and workforce training.