Turning the first sod at the new site H.Essers at Kristalpark III in Lommel
Genk-based logistics company H.Essers is meeting the growing demand from its chemical customers with the construction of a new chemical site in Lommel. The new high-end warehouses at Kristalpark III industrial estate, a cooperation between the city of Lommel and the invest company LRM, will be equipped specifically for the storage of hazardous goods, providing an extra 150,000 m2 capacity. The first sod was turned yesterday. One of the first companies to move in will be Givaudan, a listed manufacturer of aromatics and flavourings.
As a well-known logistics player, H.Essers services many chemical customers across Belgium and Europe. This endeavour is supported by their extensive multimodal transport network, extending even as far as China. In recent years, the company, with roots in Genk, province of Limburg, has invested heavily in the expansion of its chemicals segment and the existing chemicals solutions at various sites. An additional site is now being added. “The rising demand from both our regular and new chemical customers means that even our brand-new Dry Port site in Genk is now fully booked, while we are still continuing to build there. That is why we had to look for extra capacity in the region,” according to Salvatore Napolitano, CPO at H.Essers. “We found it in Lommel, where we bought a 27-hectare lot. The site is located at the Kristalpark III industrial estate.” These 150,000 m2 will be added to the existing 600,000 m2 of chemical warehousing for hazardous goods already operated by H.Essers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Romania.
The first sod was turned at the site on Monday 21 March in the presence of several stakeholders, including mayor Bob Nijs. “The local authorities are absolutely proud that H.Essers has again chosen Lommel as an important logistics hub on the roadmap of one of its strategic segments,” he says.
H.Essers chose Lommel with a specific purpose in mind. “The location is a perfect match with H.Essers’ plans to increasingly invest in the synchromodality of our transport networks,” confirms Salvatore Napolitano. “We were already operating in Lommel with warehousing, transport, planning and garages at our site on the Balendijk. The site at Kristalpark III fits in perfectly, because it opens up routes to the Netherlands and Germany. Other logistic developments in the immediate vicinity, such as an inland terminal and a rail terminal for goods transport, are also on the cards. This is an asset for our customers and for our province, as it will further consolidate our activities in Limburg. In concrete terms, we are also creating 500 extra jobs.”
Customers are showing interest in the facilities at this location and some partners have already reserved part of the warehouse capacity, such as Givaudan. “We are very excited about the next phase of our collaboration with H.Essers in Lommel,” says Benjamin Ravaud, Regional Supply Chain Project Manager at Givaudan. “H.Essers’ proven ability to build and efficiently run state-of-the-art warehouses with the highest quality and safety standards was an important element for Givaudan. Our partnership will allow us to optimise our logistics network while reducing our carbon footprint and improving service to our customers. The joined project team is already working hard to make this a success for both Givaudan and H.Essers.”
Late product differentiation
The construction of the new warehouses leaves nothing to chance in order to provide the customer with state-of-the-art facilities. In addition to the very strict certification for goods of all hazard classes, H.Essers can also provide customers with opportunities for late product differentiation activities. “This means customers can have larger packages, for example drums, filled into smaller ones when they choose so. In this way they can minimise their stock and maximise the number of final packages.”
Sustainable design and vision
In fact, not only real estate will be built on the 27 hectare H.Essers site: some 15% of the site will consist of trees and shrubs to support biodiversity in the region. “This is very important to us,” adds Salvatore Napolitano. “In time, we intend to equip the warehouses with solar panels and the office buildings will have green roofs. In this way, we want to welcome not only business, but also nature to our new site. An important statement for both H.Essers and our customers, as the spearhead of a growing sustainable strategy.”