The world’s largest liquid storage provider
With more than 400 years of industry experience, Vopak has built a strong reputation as the world’s largest provider of storage facilities for bulk liquids. With experience in a wide range of liquid handling, its expertise ranges from liquid or gaseous chemicals, petrochemicals, oil products, vegetable oils, biofuels and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Marcel Van De Kar, Managing Director of Vopak South Africa, says, The main storage we provide is in the global hub areas as we have them in Rotterdam, Houston, Singapore and also the Middle East. The chemical storage we do is much more linked to regional facilities of the chemical industry. The company currently has transhipment solutions in 80 terminals in 30 countries worldwide. Each one covers and connects the world’s major shipping lanes.
To date, Vopak is organized in five different divisions: Chemicals Europe, Middle East and Africa, Oil Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia, North America, and Latin America. There is also a separate organization with aims to develop LNG terminals. These separate units for Vopak work jointly to exchange expertise, and work together on its various international locations.
Having worldwide hubs, the company works with a lot of national and international oil companies and traders. On the chemical side, we work with a lot of modern manufacturing companies and traders as well. We rent out the spaces to our customers, says Van De Kar.
For its terminals around the world, products are stored for various customers under specific conditions. These conditions include temperature control and the blending of liquids to specification of its customers. We develop our services according to the product, market and functional requirements, often working with customers and/or strategic partners, states the company website.
The company currently operates a storage terminal with a capacity of 130,000 cubic metres for petroleum products and chemicals in Durban. In South Africa, we want to keep our strong position in chemical storage and at the same time we aim to facilitate the growing import of clean petroleum products. This is one of the reasons why we are planning to expand the terminal by 30,000 cubic metres of additional storage capacity. In many countries including South Africa there is a need for energy in diesel and petrol and it needs to be imported to meet the demands and supply balance, says Van De Kar. As an independent storage provider we can help to develop the infrastructure that is needed to make these imports possible. Together with our BEE partner Reatile Resources we are working on studies to develop terminals in Johannesburg and Richards Bay.
In addition, Vopak is considering connecting its terminal to the New Multi-Purpose Product Pipeline (NMPP) between the port of Durban and the Gauteng area.
In South Africa, Vopak’s goals include operational excellence (including safety and sustainability), service excellence and growth. These are our three pillars, says Van De Kar. We want to operate a safe terminal with a good eye on the environment, we look at our service because we are a service company and we want to supply this good service to our customers.
Health and safety and environment
The environmental practices of Vopak are extremely important to the company’s values. We have defined internally the worldwide best practices and we apply them all over the world whether it is a terminal in Europe, or Asia, or Africa. No matter where it is, we work on the same standards of sustainability, says Van De Kar. That is an important difference from a lot of local players.
Vopak believes that sustainable entrepreneurship is the basis for long-term relationships with customers, strategic partners, employees, governments, neighbours and shareholders and is therefore an integral part of the company’s processes and operations, states the company’s website.
Within this, Vopak not only considers economic aspects but also long-term health andsafety, environment and social aspects.
Van De Kar notes that the company links communities and municipalities. We build a terminal for the long term. We make sure the link with the community is good.
Vopak South Africa works on a number of initiatives to help the local communities. The company has a focus on water supply and water educations. We feel the supply of good, healthy water is crucial for the development of the country, says Van De Kar. We are a liquid logistics player and we think that we can help develop water projects.
The company understands safety and service and the company stands out to its customers because it is connected in different areas, understands product flows and is able to anticipate on the future needs of South Africa. Vopak is the No. 1 storage provider for bulk liquids in the world. It is no surprise with its almost 400 years of service and expertise that the company has created an international niche for itself in bulk liquid storage.