Coaltrans Conferences (CC): Hi Dan, thanks for speaking with us. Please can you give us a little info on your background and Rocktree more broadly? 

Daniel Miller (DM): I joined Rocktree two years ago from Peabody Energy’s Singapore office. Rocktree was a key logistics services provider to Peabody’s Indonesian coal trading operations, providing high-quality offshore transhipment, blending and sampling services. 

Rocktree is the pioneering developer and premier provider of homogenous blending of coal in Indonesia. We operate 3 high-capacity Offshore Floating Terminals (OFTs) in the Samarinda anchorage area, handling about 20 million tonnes of cargo annually. We recently acquired 14 sets of tugs & barges to enhance our customer service offerings. 

CC: What are the primary challenges facing coal logistics companies at present

DM: We serve multiple clients in the anchorage where we operate. Critical to achieving customer satisfaction is being able to schedule our transhipment operations in the most efficient manner to minimize waiting time, both for our customers’ vessels as well as for our own. In any given month, our Operations team manages the arrival and departure of about 30 Ocean-Going Vessels (OGV) and 300 barges. Lack of timely information on the availability of barges due to poor communication systems along the route can create delays, which has potentially knock-on effects for the entire supply chain. 

CC: How is technology changing the nature of coal transhipment? 

DM: Rocktree has been developing in-house software tools to improve the scheduling challenges referred to above. Our proprietary Cargo Scheduling Application (CSA) allows our commercial, operations, and technical teams to work seamlessly together so that we can present a unified face to our customers and suppliers. The application is now available both through the internet and via mobile phone, enhancing 24/7 decision making capabilities. We are planning to roll out our CSA to clients by the end of this year. In addition, through the recent tugs & barges acquisition, we are planning to embed high-quality tracking systems onto the units, which we believe will improve utilisation of these critical assets. 

CC: How do you see the shipping and logistics industries changing over the next few years? What are the major trends you’re seeing in the industry? 

DM: We have seen a significant increase in the requirement for value-added services from end use customers, which the more conventional floating cranes cannot provide. Such services include automatic sampling as the coal is loaded onto the OGV, metal detectors and metal catchers to reduce the potential risk of contamination, infrared cameras on board our OFTs to provide early detection of spontaneous combustion of coal still on the barges, and microwave moisture analysers to provide immediate moisture and temperature data of coal on the conveyor system. 

We also expect to see a continued growth in the acceptance of homogenously blended cargo, the process for which only Rocktree has received independent certification from SGS, the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. Related to inspection and certification, we anticipate increasingly stringent application of global standards for health, safety, environmental and quality practices, both by regulators and by our customers. At Rocktree, we have already taken the initiative to work with DNV-GL to establish a vetting program, similar to the one used by the tanker industry, and to independently assess our performance against the requisite standards. 

CC: Finally, you’re joining us in Bali this for the 24th Coaltrans Asia. What are you most looking forward to hearing about at the conference? 

DM: I am keen to hear latest update on new coal-fired power development plans in Asia, particularly in South and Southeast Asia, and how the increased demand for coal exports from Indonesia will be met. Rocktree is well-positioned to support not only the sustained growth of exports from Indonesia through its existing barging and transhipment business, but also to assist these newly emerging demand centres in Asia where draft or environmental restrictions may make offshore transhipment a very attractive alternative to large-scale, land-based port infrastructure. 


This content is provided by Coaltrans Conferences for informational purposes only, and it reflects the market and industry conditions and presenter’s opinions and affiliations available at the time of the presentation.