[ID] => 10066
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2018-09-12 09:10:51
[post_date_gmt] => 2018-09-12 08:10:51
[post_content] => Polymers are getting a bad press these days; maritime pollution with plastics waste is making headlines around the world. As home to the largest petrochemical cluster in Europe and its most important polymer hub, the Port of Antwerp is taking the issue seriously.
Last year, Antwerp joined in with the Operation Clean Sweep® initiative, set up by the international chemical industry and supported by PlasticsEurope, making it the first port in Europe to implement the ‘Zero Pellet Loss’ programme and pledge to prevent plastics material from entering the environment. That has involved bringing together companies involved in the production and handling of polymers in order to reduce to an absolute minimum any loss of raw materials to port waters or the broader environment.
The Zero Pellet Loss programme bundles together a number of local initiatives; these include weekly inspections of places where plastics could possibly have been released to the environment. If any pollution is found, it is traced back to its source and appropriate precautions are put in place to prevent any future recurrence of the loss. These precautions are monitored by an incident manager, who also controls the measures taken to remove the contamination.
SUSTAINABILITY IN PRACTICE
This approach to plastics pollution is just one aspect of the Antwerp Port Authority’s commitment to sustainability, again in partnership with the local chemical industry and its logistics service providers. Sustainability, Antwerp says, is a fundamental determinant of the way it approaches activities, as demonstrated in its fourth annual Sustainability Report, published at the end of 2017, which lists the diverse initiatives in place to match the UN’s 17 goals for sustainable development and meet the sometimes conflicting needs of people, the environment and economic growth.
This involves a sustainable approach to the development of available space within the Port of Antwerp, ensuring efficiency for now and for the future, as well as a sustainable transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. At the 88-ha Churchill Industrial Zone, for instance, the Antwerp Port Authority is seeking investors that will bring synergies to the cluster in order to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
As a special incentive, in 2016 the Antwerp Port Authority presented a Sustainability Award to the Ecluse project, which aims to gradually replace traditional energy sources for chemical companies on the left bank of the Scheldt River with ‘green’ heat. That heat, in the form of steam, is produced at the waste-to-energy plants operated by waste recycling company Indaver and its joint venture Sleco, while the heat distribution network is being built by Infrax. Once the Ecluse project reaches full capacity, it will be one of the largest industrial heat clusters in Europe, saving a remarkable 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
Antwerp Port Authority will present another Sustainability Award in 2019 and says that many chemical companies have already submitted details of sustainability projects.
Initiatives such as these are, though, just the most obvious examples of Antwerp’s commitment to sustainability: others are less obvious but just as telling, such as the water buses introduced to replace workers’ daily commute, the promotion of renewable energy and environmental services, or the extensive research and development work in the field of digitisation, designed to improve efficiencies and remove waste from the chemical supply chain.
Antwerp Port Authority’s efforts in the area of sustainable energy management have been recognised in the renewal of its ISO 50001 certification in July 2018, three years after its initial certification. "As a Port Authority we are conscious of our responsibility towards society, and we aim to set an example within the port platform," says infrastructure manager Greet Bernaers. "With a clearly formulated energy management plan that enjoys general support, we want to inspire other companies to pursue energy efficiency in the same way. The fact that we have achieved ISO 50001 compliance for two cycles in a row shows that we have been able to make energy efficiency an integral part of our business."
EFFICIENCY BEGETS INVESTMENT
Indeed, a large part of the drive towards sustainability and a circular economy involves the identification and elimination of waste in the system – and that can only be good for business. An important argument for the Antwerp cluster is the high degree of integration, which is reflected along the entire chemical supply chain – from raw material supply through production and energy management to waste processing or administrative, technical and logistical services. It is therefore no coincidence that both new and existing companies continue to invest in the port.
The largest foreign investment in Antwerp – amounting to some €350m – came via Nippon Shokubai, which chose the port for its superabsorbent polymer and acrylic acid plant. There are other development plans in hand as well: Evonik is to invest many millions of euros in expanding its production capacities for specialty silicates, and Air Liquide will invest €80m in the construction of a hydrogen production plant as a part of a new long-term contract between the company and Covestro for the supply of hydrogen.
Moreover, Antwerp is currently in discussion with Borealis which, after a successful feasibility study, is proceeding with a technical study for a new world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant at its existing production site in Kallo.
Alongside this investment in chemical production, bulk liquids terminal operators are also planning expansion. Antwerp accounts for around one quarter of all chemical tank capacity in Europe and the trend is rising. Among current expansions of note is Oiltanking’s construction of the largest butane tank in the world at its Antwerp Gas Terminal (AGT) facility. The 135,000-m³ tank, due to start operations next year, will handle butane under a long-term deal with Ineos.
Elsewhere in the port, expansions are under way at Noord Natie, SEA-Invest, Vesta Terminals and Vopak ACS, with ITC Rubis also planning further additions. Projects such as this are needed to maintain efficiency in the supply chain as chemical production capacity increases; Antwerp Port Authority reports that the first half of 2018 experienced record freight volumes, with 118.6m tonnes of goods passing through the port, an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to the first half of 2017. Containerised freight continues to be the main driver for growth, with throughput up 8.3 per cent year on year at 5.6m TEU, but chemical products throughput also increased by 8.2 per cent and oil derivatives, the largest item in the liquid bulk sector, were also up by 6.4 per cent.
Those interested in finding out more about Antwerp’s efforts towards sustainability, and information on investment opportunities, can meet the port at this year’s Annual Meeting of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA
) in Vienna, where the Port will host its own lounge under the motto ‘Feel the Chemistry’.
[post_title] => Antwerp: What goes around
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => antwerp-goes-around
[post_modified] => 2018-09-11 17:15:02
[post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-11 16:15:02
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=10066
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