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SAMI: Quality, wherever you go

The location and geography presented multiple challenges for spray sealing works, which were solved through the communication and innovation of Inroads, the VSA Roads Group and SAMI Bitumen Technologies.

VSA, Inroads and SAMI Bitumen Technologies have helped to deliver an innovative solution, for a municipal-based infrastructure project, which is set to benefit the local community. 

Kangaroo Island is one of Australia’s natural wonders. Located just off the mainland of South Australia, over a third of the island encompasses nature reserves, home to iconic wildlife like koalas as well as local penguin colonies.

The island’s isolation, while part of the region’s wonder, can also present challenges, especially for transport and transit. Particularly for a construction project, which already has multiple moving parts to consider.

When the local Kangaroo Island Council required spray sealing works for its local network, aggregates, emulsions and bitumen provider VSA Roads Group jumped at the proposition.

When tendering for the project late last year, the Group came across a unique logistical concern; what would be the best way to transport the necessary materials with limited vessels going between mainland South Australia and the Island itself?

Luckily, all contractors involved share a key connection. Inroads forms part of the VSA Roads Group, an amalgamation of five different brands. 

SAMI Bitumen Technologies, being one of the leading suppliers of bituminous products in Australia, has considerable logistical capabilities in the bitumen industry, including specialised tanker and container services.

As Tim Pickert, Business Manager – Inroads explains, having already used their bituminous products, utilising SAMI’s container service felt like a natural progression.

“We thought this would be a perfect chance to use their bitumen containers, rather than getting tankers shipped across on the ferry, it just made sense for use to go to SAMI to get their help,” he says.

“I believe there’s only two or three dangerous goods ships per week that go across, so it would’ve been a logistical nightmare to compete with conventional tankers. All we had to do was work with them around the logistics such as dates and the quantity, which was around 80,000 litres.”

Inroads and VSA Roads’ experience in providing spray sealing services, combined with the material production and expertise of SAMI Bitumen Technologies looked to be an exciting prospect that could cater for such a challenging project.

Pierre-Henri Berard, Logistics & Supply Manager – SAMI Bitumen Technologies, says supplying a quality product on time was the primary objective. Communication and coordination within all parties were essential to achieve this.

“For every project that we do, we work closely with the client and make sure that we understand the requirements, their needs and we tailor the optimum solution for them. For this project after evaluating all the options, we came up with the most cost-effective choice for the customer, which was to use bitumen containers for product delivery,” he says. 

“The bitumen was transported from SAMI Laverton plant, at temperatures below 100°C, via Adelaide to Kangaroo Island. The containers were delivered well ahead of the start of the project,” says Berard. “The containers were heated following our strict heating protocols by SAMI’s staff stationed on the site, providing a full service.


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On the day when Inroads team arrived, the product was ready to be sprayed, resulting in the smooth operation of the project. The crew concentrated solely on doing the spray seal, SAMI made sure they had the raw material needed for that.

“The main challenge was that the work had to be done in a very short period. We were looking at nearly less than a week, just before the school holidays. Our main goal was to make sure that the product was available on quality and on time,” Berard says. “We had everything organised accordingly.”

“SAMI Bitumen Containers has been offered as the turnkey solution for more than a year now. For this project we knew exactly what we needed. Everything was ready to go.”

The spray sealing works at Kangaroo Island presented an ideal opportunity for SAMI Bitumen Technologies to utilise its specialised bitumen container service.
The spray sealing works at Kangaroo Island presented an ideal opportunity for SAMI Bitumen Technologies to utilise its specialised bitumen container service.

Despite this now being a frequently used process, the SAMI team still approaches each project on an individual basis, rather than providing a blanket solution. This applies to projects both large and small. SAMI has several different solutions for transporting and supplying the products. The solutions can be tailored to suit the specific customer requirement optimally.

“For every type of project, we design the delivery process as per customer requirement. SAMI can keep the containers on site and use our fleet of tankers to continuously feed the containers with hot bitumen or as in the case of Kangaroo Island with shipping limitations, supply the containers filled with product and product heating services at the site,” Berard says.

Pickert says all associated parties have received positive feedback from the local council and believes the experience of each company played a part in the finished product.

“They were really happy with it, and everything went smoothly. We use SAMI Bitumen and field blend our crumb rubber everywhere across all of our jobs, so our crews are really great and productive with it,” he says.

“In using field blended crumb rubber, we managed to save the equivalent of 3200 passenger tyres going to land fill.

“If we had gone with truck tankers instead of the containerised approach, who knows what would’ve happened. They were by far the best option for us to use. They worked really well.”

Berard says he’s not only pleased with the client’s response, but also with the coordination, efficiency and quality provided by SAMI and Inroads.

“I’m proud when we can give our clients a comprehensive turnkey solution on product manufacture and delivery,” he says. “We are confident that we can deliver products to remote and urban locations. 

“Although there are always new challenges coming up, we will ensure for all clients that we can cover all their needs.” 

This article was originally published in the June edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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