In the past year, the new terminal in the port of Stein has more than proved its worth. It was completed exactly a year ago with the aim of transporting liquid fertilizer and ammonia to and from the Chemelot industrial park via underground pipelines and loading them onto inland waterway vessels.
The port is intended in the first place for transporting liquid fertilizer. In the past year, 70 vessels left the port for shipments to North-West Europe. “For all kinds of reasons, we produced far more liquid fertilizer in late 2015 and early 2016. We wouldn’t have been able to transport it all without the new port. Moreover, we could now do it in a sustainable manner, and we’re very pleased about that”, says CEO Gert Jan de Geus.
Partly because OCI Nitrogen had to deal with two fires last year, the port has more than proved its worth. As several plants could not be used, the ammonia balance was disrupted at Chemelot and it had to be obtained elsewhere. For that reason, as many as 27 ammonia transportations took place.
Sustainable and efficient transport
The port of Stein and OCI Terminal Stein stand for reliable transportation. The terminal is linked to the Chemelot site by three and a half kilometres of underground pipeline. Approximately 100 inland vessels a year carry 100,000 tonnes of liquid fertilizer to destinations in North-West Europe. By investing in the terminal and in inland shipping, OCI Nitrogen has chosen to concentrate on more sustainable and efficient means of transportation. The Dutch government applauds this type of transportation because it is reliable and safe.
The second pipeline is used occasionally to move ammonia in or out if there is a shortage or a surplus. “OCI Nitrogen has made this substantial investment to offer security to its plants and those of its clients at the Chemelot site. Needless to say, we didn’t know that we would need this facility so quickly”, says Gert-Jan de Geus.
The underground pipelines and loading facility are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and safety systems. For example, the pipelines have various systems designed to detect leaks at the earliest possible stage. The port itself has an anti-collision system with a barrier that can be raised and lowered. At 66 meters’ length, the barrier is unique in the Netherlands. Passing ships will always stay at a safe distance from inland vessels that are in the process of loading.