The Rotterdam chemical sector is going from strength to strength because of substantial investments from the business community. An active ecosystem of production and logistics and nautical service providers for all flows of goods is providing economies of scale in transport, storage and transhipment. Innovation and cooperation have also contributed to an excellent business climate. Neele-Vat Logistics’ new ADR distribution centre at Maasvlakte 2 plays a significant role in this development.
Completed at the beginning of 2016, the largest warehouse for hazardous materials in the Netherlands is now in full operation. Managing director Cuno Vat of Neele-Vat Logistics therefore speaks in terms of a growth market. ‘More chemical processing is being done locally in the Middle East. The same is true in the United States because of cheap shale gas. International trade flows are such that more storage space is needed here because of the products from those regions.’
The additional space was found on Maasvlakte, right next to the existing ADR (Accord marchandises Dangereuses par Route) warehouse of Neele-Vat. The new warehouse can accommodate 20,000 pallets distributed across seven compartments that are laid out in accordance with the PGS 15 guideline on the storage of hazardous materials. The total storage space for chemical and other hazardous materials of the Rotterdam family business has therefore doubled on Maasvlakte. The facilities provided by the business include the Export Consolidation Centre, where hazardous materials are stored for various customers until a container can be filled efficiently. ‘It’s a real solution for companies that do not continuously have large cargo flows.’ In total, Neele-Vat has over 185,000 square metres of storage space spread across different locations in the greater Rotterdam area and Amsterdam.
Vat believes that his company and the chemical sector are a good match. ‘As a family business we focus on the long term. Chemical companies do so too in the context of their massive investments. We’re also very keen on beauty, tidiness and economy, qualities that are also highly valued in the chemical sector, and not only for safety reasons.’ Nevertheless, the new warehouse is a state-of-the-art facility in terms of safety. Any fire that breaks out in the 12,000-square-metre distribution centre will be extinguished by means of CO2, which causes less consequential damage than water or foam. If such an emergency occurs, a special alarm system will ensure that everyone present leaves the warehouse before the CO2 removes the oxygen. Sustainability was also taken into account. The building is made of concrete and therefore requires less cooling in summer and less heating in winter. In addition, LED lighting is used throughout and the roof has already been made suitable for a solar array.
Continuing to invest in the future
Neele-Vat is not resting on its laurels now that the new warehouse is up and running. As Vat explained: ‘It would be crazy to do so. The Rotterdam chemical sector is providing a wealth of opportunities. We’re currently studying the possibilities of a filling line that would make it possible for dangerous materials to be repackaged and/or filled in the context of conversion from bulk into drums. We have also just obtained 10,000 square metres of additional land on Maasvlakte from the Port of Rotterdam Authority. We will use the space to enlarge our gas measurement station and introduce the digital weighing of containers.’