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Special Report: Port of Antwerp: Symbol of confidence and reliability

by Arabian Oil & Gas Staff on Apr 18, 2018


The petroleum refinery Total, together with its logistics partner SEA-invest, will invest 100 million euros in a major capacity expansion in the Port of Antwerp.
The petroleum refinery Total, together with its logistics partner SEA-invest, will invest 100 million euros in a major capacity expansion in the Port of Antwerp.

As the largest European integrated cluster for production, storage and distribution of chemical and petrochemical products, the Port of Antwerp offers world-class logistics and storage facilities with unsurpassed operational excellence and customer focus.

The Port of Antwerp has demonstrated some impressive growth figures in the past few years, with excellent results in the highly competitive Hamburg – Le Havre range. Last year brought in the latest confirmation, with a new record freight volume of 223 million tonnes and the container volume passing the 10 million TEU mark for the second time ever.

The container volume was up by 4.3% to 123 million tonnes, or more than 10 million TEU (up 4.1%). The Port of Antwerp managed to significantly improve its position in the Far East, with a consequent boost to its standing in the range.

The liquid bulk volume for its part rose to 73 million tonnes, an increase of 5.7%. The shipping freight volume for the chemical industry remained fairly stable, with the increase being booked mainly in the tank storage segment, in particular for oil products. Liquid bulk is actually the second main driver of freight growth in the Port of Antwerp. The most important factors behind this growth are the location of Antwerp relatively far inland, the presence of the largest integrated chemical and petrochemical cluster in Europe, new, state-of-the-art infrastructure, third-party tank storage companies helping to make Antwerp an increasingly important player in the oil products sector, and the derived trading activities.

There is a reason behind everything

But that is not all. Apart from the scope for investment and the physical space available (green and brownfield opportunities, and the benefits of co-siting), one of the main factors is Antwerp’s place in the various worldwide supply chains. These have undergone significant changes in the past few years, with dramatic alterations in the landscape (or rather, seascape) of international container shipping companies.

Enforced rationalisation has led to new alliances and collaboration arrangements. As a consequence, for the ports, it is more important than ever to be included in the sailing schedules of the big alliances and to consolidate this position. So far, Antwerp has succeeded particularly well.

Just as important for this success is growth in the second main area, namely liquid bulk. The unique interaction of the cluster, the availability of feedstock and intermediaries, excellent synergy through integration of energy and products, the port’s central position in the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Rhine-Ruhr mega-cluster and the European pipeline network, extensive and varied tank storage facilities, excellent production facilities and Antwerp’s status as the main European hub for polymers... all these make Antwerp the largest European integrated cluster for production, storage and distribution of chemical and petrochemical products.

New investments in the pipeline

In 2017, too, the Port of Antwerp has proven to be an important hub for the chemical and petrochemical industry – and an important production site as well. Renowned companies in the industry have announced comprehensive investments in their Antwerp-based facilities. The chemical giant Evonik plans to invest many millions in increasing its production capacities for specialty silicates.

Also, the specialty chemicals group LANXESS is planning extensive production expansions. For example, they intend to increase the efficiency of its caprolactam plant for 25 million euros and the production capacities for rubber chemicals for five million euros.

Moreover, the petroleum refinery Total, together with its logistics partner SEA-invest, will invest 100 million euros in a major capacity expansion in the Port of Antwerp, including eight new tanks of 20,000M3 each, three additional loading and unloading stations and a direct pipeline between the terminal and Total’s refinery.


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