Row upon row upon row of Volgren’s Mine/Charter buses wait at the Darwin depot for the 4500 workers they shuttle every day to and from one of the biggest and most significant oil and gas projects in the world.
The Ichthys Liquid Natural Gas project represents the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia. Its offshore facilities, about 220 km off northern Western Australia, are linked by an 889-kilometre pipeline to a massive state-of-the-art onshore processing plant at Darwin.
To feed workers to the plant day and night, a 3500-person accommodation village was opened at Howard Springs, outside Darwin. Volgren, in partnership with Mercedes Benz & Buslink VIVO is making sure those workers – and many more from the town itself – get to and from the job in comfort and safety.
Since February 2013, Volgren has supplied 152 buses to the project with a final eight due to roll up the Stuart Highway by June.
Buslink VIVO states that it aims to be the leading employee transport provider to industrial projects, “through providing services which embody the principles of safety, innovation, service and sustainability. Through extensive industry experience we look to utilise our partnerships with leading bus manufacturers and world class suppliers, to provide our client with customised transportation solutions.
“We recognise the role innovative technology plays in providing superior products and services, unique to our client’s requirements.”
Which is why it chose Volgren bodies. On a Mercedes 0500R chassis and driven by a Euro5 306 horsepower engine, Volgren is the best choice for the harsh and demanding conditions and Darwin’s steamy climate.
The Mine/Charter body uses Volgren’s co-bolted extruded aluminium system in its construction, together with fibreglass front and rear panels and one-piece aluminium panels – which means the buses are both light and strong and no rustproofing is needed. But most importantly they provide comfort after hard 12-hour shifts on the job.
They operate out of this 3.35 hectare depot with workshop facilities and extensive “hardstand” at Howard Springs, just two kilometres from the accommodation village, which houses the temporary fly-in fly-out construction workforce.
Volgren buses provide transport from the village to jobsite, airport and Darwin; night shift operations; shuttle services around the site; transport of Darwin city office staff; and of family members from suburbs to Darwin.