[ID] => 10906
[post_author] => 6150
[post_date] => 2019-04-16 08:55:39
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-16 07:55:39
[post_content] => StocExpo opened its doors for the 15th time in Rotterdam, Netherlands, this past 26 to 28 March. Over the last decade and a half, StocExpo has become the leading European event for the bulk liquids storage industry and once again attracted plenty of exhibitors and expert speakers. As ever, StocExpo offers a prime opportunity for networking.
Hosted in the Ahoy Centre, StocExpo was perfectly located in the heart of the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region – an excellent spot for the key industry players and delegates such as HCB. StocExpo 2019 was a resounding success and fully confirmed why the leading industry voices see it as a highlight of the year. Hardened veterans of events past bustled shoulder-to-shoulder with fresh faces and the aisles between stands turned into motorways for business networking.
Whereas once the focus of StocExpo was very much on the exhibition halls, the conference has taken a higher profile in recent years and, once again, featured some interesting presentations. After a short introduction from Ellen Ruhotas of Zenith Terminals the event was underway.
The tank terminal sector must constantly change and adapt to demand trends in the market and a new facility in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, is aiming to do just that. Michael van Croonenburg, director of Alpha Terminals, introduced the company’s plans for a 720,000-m3
storage terminal that is specifically designed to adjust to market trends in a heartbeat.
“Being able to provide flexibility in all aspects is essential for the future,” said van Croonenburg. Alpha Terminals is designing the new terminal to be able to handle a huge range of products, from aviation fuel to ammonia. The Vlissingen terminal is designed to optimise throughput, with an expanded rail terminal and works to offer 18 metres water depth alongside the jetty so as to be able to accommodate larger ships. The road network is also being optimised for rapid truck transport.
When the markets shift, Alpha Terminals is planning to be ready and able to handle the new focus with ease. Van Croonenburg is expecting changes in the industry, particularly as the use of fossil fuels decreases and renewables take up the slack. That mega-trend suggests a future with lower volumes of petroleum products being handled, while other specialised feedstocks, chemicals and even hydrogen will need to be accommodated. Through the use of multiple permitting, floating roofs and adaptable infrastructure, Alpha Terminals at Vlissingen aims to be the go-to terminal for industry’s needs in the future.
Van Croonenburg’s thoughts on the changing markets were complemented by Jon Stenning of Cambridge Econometrics. Stenning described how current economic markets are shifting and predicted that the use of petroleum will halve from current levels by 2050. That will impact the products that storage terminals will be handling, rather than the overall throughput volumes, he reasoned.
Two of the biggest reasons for the market shift are that the EU has increasingly ambitious targets when it comes to decarbonisation and China has become the biggest market for electric vehicles. The EU’s focus on decarbonisation has become an integral part of political and daily life and industry is beginning to respond. The impact of industrial activity on the environment is now at the top of the agenda and in the minds of the public; as a result it is also on the minds of politicians and, increasingly, industry executives. Being environmentally aware is seen as a competitive position, particularly in those sectors that respond to public sentiment.
Shifting his focus to China, one of the largest markets for the industry, Stenning mentioned the explosive growth of electric vehicles has naturally meant a decrease in demand growth in terms of traditional hydrocarbons. However, as he noted: “Opportunities are available, such as hydrogen storage for the future.” One part of the industry may be volatile and likely to decline, but other sectors are on the rise and like-for-like possibilities exist.
KEEPING THE SPARK
Above all, safety is paramount. Despite this universal acceptance, it was argued by Andras Peller, managing partner of Swiss Fire, innovation has stagnated when it comes to fighting fires and providing fire safety. As shown by the recent fire at the Intercontental Terminals site in Deer Park, Texas, stopping the spread of a fire is essential to saving lives, equipment and industry image. Peller presented a breathtaking video demonstration of a new development, pressurised instant (Pi) foam, extinguishing a full-blown tank fire in 40 seconds. This contrasted sharply with a video of a fire in Japan that destroyed the tank and burned for days as firefighters tried in vain to aim foam cannons into the blaze. It’s one thing to read statistics and have someone tell you they can extinguish a blaze in under a minute, but it’s something else entirely to see it for yourself.
“Currently, businesses are using old technology to fight fires. Some of the techniques used are decades old,” said Peller. The Pi Foam system is unique as it is completely off-grid. Even if there is a catastrophic event where all electricity has failed, Pi Foam will still work as it operates purely under its own pressure. The potential drawback is that Pi Foam systems needs to be installed in each individual storage tank, which comes with a price tag. However, the evidence clearly shows that relying on mobile units, waiting for the arrival of firefighters and using hoses to spray foam into containers can also lead to delays that allow a fire to take hold.
Within five minutes the damage a fire can cause to a tank can cost tens of millions of dollars and render the unit useless. Fires can cause structural deficiencies that can lead to the tank collapsing, potentially spreading burning liquid or polluting areas around the site. The recent Deer Park fire continued for four days and even reignited after being initially put out. Being able to extinguish a fire as quickly and effectively as possible will not only save the terminal, it will reduce risk to lives, lessen the effects of toxic smoke on the environment and ensure the industry is seen as a torchbearer for safety.
Walking around the show, it was encouraging to see so many representatives of businesses providing fire protection at StocExpo. Roger Champagne, managing director at Fire Fighting Systems (FFS), explained the company’s expansion company into land-based systems. FFS is currently the leader in providing equipment for fireboats, tugboats and offshore supply vessels, boasting an impressive portfolio of clientele that includes the Fire Department of New York. FFS also took advantage of the photo and social media opportunities by bringing one of its foam cannons to the stand. Having a large, shiny, red piece of industrial equipment definitely drew in the crowds and selfies.
SA Fire Protection, a family-owned business with over four decades of experience, was keen to highlight its varied fire safety capabilities. SA Fire Protection is a specialist in providing fire protection solutions across the oil and gas, petrochemicals and power generation industries. The team provides water spray, foam, dry chemical, inert gas and water mist systems.
Piquing particular interest in many of the delegates at the StocExpo conference was a session on cyber-security. As bulk liquids storage terminals are beginning to take advantage of digitisation and adopting systems based on the Internet of Things (IoT) into their operations, the risk of a cyber-attack becomes more critical. Ilya Tillekens and Marcel Jutte from Hudson Cybertec spoke about the damage cyber-attacks can cause and how operators can protect themselves. There are some subtle and seldom-considered threats that could, potentially, wreak damage to a business. Listening to Hudson Cybertec was particularly poignant as two large businesses had been attacked by LockerGoga ransomware in the week before StocExpo.
The primary focus of the presentation was on IEC 62443, the global standard for the security of Industrial Control System (ICS) networks. The standard helps organisations reduce the risks of failure and exposure of ICS networks to cyber threats. As put by Jutte: “The IEC 62443 standard is for operational technology (OT) what the ISO 27000 standard is for information technology (IT).”
When a person from outside the business is allowed access to the internal systems, they can become a threat. They may inadvertently create a gateway for malicious entities to take advantage of, actively steal protected data or even install malware themselves directly into the system. These days it is not easy to run a successful business without using outsourced services, consultants or contractors, so how does the organisation protect itself against these problems? The answer given was quite simple: education and preparation. Training teams to understand how cyber security works and designing systems that can limit the impact an attack can have will set a business on the right path.
Hudson Cybertec examines a host of different cyber threats. One of the more common types is ransomware, which threatens to release secret information – such as internal business data – or denies access to data unless a ransom is paid. But there are other types, such as Triton, a malware designed specifically to attack safety systems. This type of attack brings a whole new dimension to the topic as it is not just digital damage on the line. These attacks can cause widespread physical damage, even outside of the business. Some may remember the Industroyer attack on Ukraine in 2016, which shut down the nation’s power grid and clearly demonstrated the widespread chaos an attack can instigate. Recently, new and even more damaging malware, such as Triton, have been discovered. Triton is designed to take control of emergency shutdown capabilities for industrial processes. Needless to say, the damage this could cause on economic, electronic and even physical levels is difficult to fathom.
Examining recent advances in wearable technology, Frank Miksicek of Honeywell provided a fun demonstration of Movilizer, which he described simply as “the cloud for field operations”. Honeywell has developed a terminal operations management solution that uses voice recognition technology and provides a visual display. This allows field workers to follow safety protocols, have access to electronic documents and communicate with other team members through radio and photographic means.
Movilizer has a diverse range of benefits. The system increases the level of communication between teams; and it connects back-end systems to internal and external technicians, helpdesks, planners, supervisors and service managers. Movilizer is able to connect with customers and even to equipment. Furthermore, it can link back-end systems to internal or third-party delivery drivers, sales reps, distributors, dealers and end customers in one single interconnected cloud. The goal of this is to drive enterprise profitability. Finally, Movilizer is designed to allow global companies customisation over their own global tracking strategies. Businesses can draw on the cross-functional knowledge and expertise within Movilizer to reduce complexity and cost. This covers the full range of serialisation and product tracking capabilities – from pharmaceutical compliance to product interaction and transparency.
It was clear to see after speaking to visitors and exhibitors that StocExpo is highly beneficial to the tank storage industry and its equipment and service providers. Simon Ruffles, managing director of Pioneer Pump, was one of the newcomers to the event. Pioneer Pump experienced just how beneficial the event can be, boasting over two dozen serious enquiries and leads by the end of the second day. Before the doors had closed on the second day, Ruffles had already booked a stand for 2020.
Tom Van Herp, business development manager at DTN, said: “StocExpo continues to be a great networking event. We have been participating for several years now and StocExpo remains to be the reference for our industry. Since DTN has many new solutions for weather forecasting and storm analytics, we were able to find out that many of our business relations are interested in this kind of information. We also talked about innovations and new functionality we were able to add to our existing terminal automation and cloud solutions for the downstream supply chain, which gave our customers a good update.”
Diederick Enderlé, senior sales representative at Kiwa, added: “This year we’ve hosted several good quality meetings on the stand. As the company’s sixth year at the show it has certainly paid off. When we first started exhibiting, we had the challenge of educating visitors on what we do, but it has been a fantastic opportunity to profile our organisation. Visitors now understand our offering – exhibiting at the show has led to a lot of organic growth.”
Raoul Oomen from RVB Tank Storage Solutions had this to say: “As a first-time visitor it was a pleasant discovery to find so many specialised innovations for the storage industry all under one roof. Attending the conference brought new insights as the speakers gave their peek into the crystal ball about future fuel oil developments in relation to IMO 2020 and the trade and storage effects thereof for refining the whole crude barrel.”
StocExpo 2020 is set to be just as large, a hub of innovation and an exceptional way to grow business. Many first-time attendees look set to return and the regulars show no sign of moving on yet. Keep an eye on the organiser’s website, www.easyfairs.com, for information about next year’s event.
[post_title] => StocExpo: Attracted to tanks
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[post_name] => stocexpo-attracted-to-tanks
[post_modified] => 2019-04-17 12:38:54
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-17 11:38:54
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