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Talley’s employs BISON C-Jacks, monitored via the BISON VGM app, to weigh each container in real time during loading as the flexitank is filled with fish oil

Innovation reduces fish oil shipping costs

Weighing containers in real time is allowing Talley’s to maximise the container weight of its fish oil loads, reducing net shipping costs per tonne by approximately 10%.

Throughout the industrial fishing industry, fish are processed onboard within hours of being caught. Everything is utilised, including fish waste, which is converted into high-grade by-products such as fish meal and oil. Discharging fishing vessels at the wharf and delivering this valuable cargo to market involves careful logistics planning and execution.
As the cost of securing vital fish rises, there is more pressure than ever to reduce costs and unload and export more efficiently.

As one of New Zealand’s largest food production and supply groups, Talley’s exports quality seafood, meat, dairy and vegetable products around the world. The company’s seafood division, Amaltal Deepsea, runs a fleet of deep-sea fishing vessels equipped with automated processing facilities. Their fleet fishes throughout the New Zealand EEZ (exclusive economic zone), the icy waters of the Antarctic, and the Western Pacific. It operates year-round, landing quality product for their global customers.

The challenge

Like most fish oil processors, Talley’s uses a pump and hose to discharge the oil into 24,000 litre flexitanks, a bag that fits into a standard container, making it easy to transport and store the bulk liquid. 

Talley’s onshore logistics team faced a constant problem: how to optimise container loads of this liquid cargo? If the container is overfilled, the flexitank could burst, destroying tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of cargo. On the other hand, by underfilling the container, Talley’s generates less revenue from the shipment, plus the shipping cost per tonne of payload is higher than it needs to be.

Talley’s tried using flow meters to optimise the load, but found this was inaccurate, with air bubbles and other variables skewing the measurement. This meant the onshore team were forced to guess when the flexitank was full, disconnect the hose, then have the container hauled to the nearest weighbridge to check the weight. With the gross container weight from the weighbridge, Talley’s would calculate how much capacity was left inside the flexitank. Containers were at times underfilled by more than 2000 litres. Once weighed, the container would be returned for the team to continue loading and to guess (again) if it was topped up to the right level.

This process cost Talley’s time and money, including extra haulage costs, weighbridge fees and man-hours spent coordinating the check-weighing and top-up. Check-weighing away from the loading point also caused delays and meant Talley’s sometimes had to choose between knowingly shipping an underfilled container or missing a shipping cutoff time.

The solution

The Talley’s team were already familiar with BISON C-Jacks, having adopted them at a number of their meat processing plants for SOLAS VGM compliance. Talley’s logistics team quickly recognised that C-Jacks were not just a compliance tool, but an ideal solution for optimising the weight of containerised flexitanks during loading.

Talley’s now employs BISON C-Jacks to weigh each container as the flexitank inside is being filled with fish oil. First, Talley’s uses BISON C-Jacks to weigh the empty container and flexitank before loading, giving Talley’s a precise tare weight and a precise target for optimising the container payload. Then, with the C-Jacks set up and connected to the BISON VGM app, Talley’s weighs the container in real time during loading.

This allows the supervisor to gauge the loading progress and, most importantly, identify exactly when the flexitank is full. Not only is this far more accurate than a flow meter, it has eliminated underfilling and the previous weighbridge trips and fees.

The results

By adopting BISON C-Jacks, Talley’s is now optimising container loads of fish oil at the point of loading. Each container shipment is now more profitable. With fish oil sold by weight, revenue is maximised with each shipment and earnings are realised sooner.

Talley’s saves at least $20 per container in weighbridge fees per container, plus the time and distance travelled by their trucks by not having to visit a weighbridge en route to port. Haulage and labour costs from check-weighing the container have also been eliminated. More cargo is shipped using less containers, reducing Talley’s net shipping costs per tonne of cargo by approximately 10%.

All up, it’s a very tangible return on a simple investment.

BISON C-Jacks are a complete and portable system for weighing shipping containers on the ground and on truck chassis; for further information, visit

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