Shell goes for new operating base at trimodal H.Essers site Kluizendok Ghent

Shell goes for new operating base at trimodal H.Essers site Kluizendok Ghent

For several years now, H.Essers has been investing heavily in solutions for the chemical segment, including in 2018 the important start-up of a warehousing site with trimodal access in Kluizendok. Last year two major customers settled in, but in October this year we opened a brand-new warehouse for Shell. Filip Puelinckx, Senior Project Engineer, and Christophe Houpels, Business Unit Manager West, explain why these huge halls, totalling 50,000 m², symbolise all the benefits of our Kluizendok site.

Our company first got in touch with Shell in September 2018, during the festive opening day of the Kluizendok site. Filip Puelinckx and Christophe Houpels were present that day and are reflecting on this. “The opening started with a reception and we started talking with a representative of Shell. That was even before the tour of the site and the official presentation had begun,” says Filip. “They were definitely impressed. After the presentation, the boat trip, and the virtual tour, we understood Shell wanted to explore the possibilities of our warehousing facilities in Kluizendok in more detail.”

Sustainable connections

After H.Essers started building the mega site Dry Port Genk in 2018, further investments in integrated logistics solutions for the chemicals segment was a strategic next step. Our company is indeed more than ever focusing on synchromodality, i.e. a smart combination of several modes of transport. Christophe: “With Dry Port we already established a strong water and rail connection. We wanted to do that again, and this time with a barge and short sea connection.” The best location to make this happen was found in the port of Ghent. “Kluizendok is an absolutely ideal location,” Filip adds. “The site is adjacent to a large train terminal which is certified for hazardous goods. There is also a fast connection with other ports by inland waterway, especially to Antwerp and Rotterdam.”

Compliance in all facilities

These are all strategic advantages which can offer support to multinationals in the chemical sector wishing to expand their activities. Our customers couldn’t agree more, as we soon found out. We built 37,500 m² of warehousing for two chemical players in a very short space of time. In addition, this SEVESO site can be further expanded with new warehousing for each new customer. “We’ve also built a 12,500 m² hall for Shell,” says Filip. “That is exactly why Kluizendok is such an ideal location: with a total storage capacity of 50,000 m² today and a potential to expand up to 130,000 m², we are able to not only provide our customers with state-of-the-art and personalised warehousing now, but also in the long term. There is plenty of room for companies looking for new opportunities. What we have to offer is a sustainable approach and a fully synchromodal supply chain.” Christophe agrees. “In that respect, Kluizendok offers a unique opportunity, because we are currently one of the few players who can provide such facilities on such a large scale and fully compliant at that.”

Integration

The same goes for the collaboration with Shell. After Filip and Christophe’s teams identified what Shell needed, they soon understood that a complete integration across all processes would further strengthen the supply chain. H.Essers and Shell opted for full EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) integration, which simplifies the communication between the computers of different partner companies. Filip: “The less manual input is required, the more the process flows are optimised. And once you get that right, you gain tremendously in quality and speed.” At Shell, too, the results have not gone unnoticed and people are satisfied with the involvement and dedication of our company.

“I am very impressed with H.Essers’ approach,” says Jannes Colaert, General Manager at Shell Belgium. “The team proactively thinks about our future, about what our optimised supply chain could look like, and then puts it into practice, step by step. “In addition, the two companies are working closely together to further increase the sustainability of Shell’s activities at Kluizendok. “The partnership with H.Essers has given our supply chain an efficient local base with options to reduce the carbon footprint of our products through the use of inland shipping,” adds Jannes Colaert.

Christophe confirms it too: “We not only think about the practical solution our customers need today, but also about green opportunities and growth strategies for the future. For us, that’s the definition of a partnership.”

Would you like more information about our Kluizendok site and the services H.Essers provides to the chemical, pharmaceutical and parts segments? Christophe Houpels (christophe.houpels@essers.com) will be happy to discuss the options with you.