The energy and mining industry is one that experiences many extremes – from difficult working conditions in some of the harshest environments on Earth to on-the-job dangers and natural disasters that can force operations to cease quickly.

Even getting employees to these remote worksites can be challenging with energy and mining companies needing to coordinate the movement of thousands of workers from their homes to mine sites or offshore rigs each week.

Travel schedules can be incredibly demanding, particularly for fly-in-fly-out workers who will travel anywhere from eight to 24 hours, including multiple transfers, just to get to work. Generally, both private charter and commercial air transport are required.

Adding another layer of complication, often separate providers book and manage these flights. Traditionally, travel management companies (TMCs) handle corporate or commercial travel via a global distribution system (GDS) while workforce management applications are used to arrange private charter transport.

Duty of care considerations

With all the hazards associated with the natural resources industries, minimizing risks for employees and contractors as they travel to remote worksites and while they are at the site is of the utmost importance. Organizations need to have a well‐defined and well-performing duty of care plan in place that is ready to be executed at a moment’s notice.

One way to address these safety concerns is to utilize a TMC’s travel risk management solution that enables organizations to provide support to their traveling employees.

Our own solution helps locate workers using a variety of mechanisms so that evacuations can proceed as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency. It also has the capability to send a notification to potentially impacted workers, which, when accepted, enables temporary GPS location monitoring, so evacuations can be managed quickly and simply.

In order for a duty of care solution to work effectively, critical itinerary data must be captured so emergency teams have the information they need readily available to respond to an incident. Historically, a travel risk management system has provided support to travelers by extracting data and itineraries from the GDSs. But because information from charter flights is not uploaded into the GDSs, there may be informational gaps in the end‐to‐end travel process, especially when travel to a remote worksite involves a combination of commercial and private charter flights.

To help prevent this issue, American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) can integrate with a client’s workforce management provider through our API. Clients could use this API to send data to GBT, which would allow us to capture the information and deliver it to our other tools and channels, including our risk management solution. This technology has the potential to allow you to locate workers to their last transit airport and indicate if they are on route to or from the worksite.

All inbound data feeds from third-party vendors are managed and integrated via GBT’s Global Trip Record™ platform. While we may have the infrastructure in place, a client may still be required to authorize the third party to release data to GBT. GBT may also need a data receipt authorization from the client to be able to ingest and process this data.

Digging for savings

Cost savings is another top priority for energy and mining companies, which have experienced steep pricing fluctuations over the past decade. On the one end, crude oil prices have dropped from US$121 a barrel in 2011 to around US$47 in December 2020. On the other, iron ore prices are teetering near record highs.

To cope with these budgetary extremes, the natural resources industry is always looking for ways to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency within its programs.

This is just another reason they should work with a TMC that is linked to workforce management providers. This type of collaboration can provide greater efficiency savings, especially when the TMC applies its scale and capability across a region or sector.

By partnering with a TMC for their air and lodging needs, energy and mining companies also can access special pre-negotiated discounts and travel counselors with expertise in complex fares and routing who can assemble itineraries that deliver the most savings.

We ourselves offer personalized support from travel counselors who are trained in the nuances of the energy and mining sectors and offer a follow-the-sun experience with 24/7 support.

With all the extremes the natural resources industry encounters, it’s vital to have a reliable partner you can count on.

Contact us to learn more about our energy and mining offering.