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Issue No. 229 October 2019

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Terval SA, which operates a 140,000m2 terminal at the Belgian Port of Liège, handled around 1.26mt of commodities in 2017 and a similar amount in 2018. According to spokesperson Yannick Detilloux, steam coal represents around 70% of the business.

“Most of this is transshipped from ocean going vessels to barges at the Port of Rotterdam and then transported to our terminal in Liege,” he explains. “We depend largely on river/canal transport and are able to receive up to 10,000 tonnes per day, which are unloaded by means of cranes and
dumpers. »

However, in 2019, overall volumes are down by around 10% due to a switch to other fuels as the result of climate change concerns. Detilloux notes that governments are trying to force industries to change their means of operations through higher taxation, essentially forcing them to seek alternatives to coal. “Despite that, both steam coal and anthracite are doing well and we are not struggling,” he stresses. “We try to
concentrate more on processing and thereby reach niche markets for coal.”

In respect of storage space, he concedes that it is always a struggle to find areas to store new grades of material, but this is definitely a must, since Terval believes that the transition to alternative fuels will continue and the company is therefore having to restructure both its processing yard and extend existing storage area to respond to this market. “We are currently investing in new covered warehouses in our Liège stockyard, because there is definitely a trend towards this type of storage. We truly believe that fine-tuning material is the key for further development,” says Detilloux.

Terval is also investing in the redevelopment of its rail loading station, because it recognizes that, if it wants to further develop its business, it will have to have a more efficient loading station to reach new markets. In addition, it wants to
improve the service it offers to its industrial clients, whose main connection is via rail. “Another driver was the low level of the River Meuse and on all major rivers in Central Europe in 2018; we simply have to find other ways of transporting commodities,” he stresses.

Terval, he adds, benefits from being an established operator in the hinterland served by the ARA-Ports and also from being linked to the ARA ports via the Canal Albert. The terminal is capable of handling barges of up to a capacity of 4,500 tonnes and can load/discharge at rates of 15,000 tonnes per day. “For outbound products, we are
physically very close to markets in Benelux, France and Germany, to which we are linked by both river and road.

Once the new rail terminal commences operations, we will be stronger still,” says Detilloux. Terval is well equipped with open storage of 500,000 tonnes, plus more than 20,000m2 of covered storage. Inbound coal can also be screened, crushed, blended and washed. The washing plant can handle up to 120tph and process a total of 2,000 tonnes daily, offering integrated screening for six sizes. “A key strength is our financial potential to source vessels, even as large as Capesize, from South Africa or Columbia on our own. Furthermore, our large storage capacity gives us an advantage that allows us to play the entire market,” he says.

Terval is also a logistically green operation in that 94% of inbound consignments come by barge and just 6%
by road, although despatched consignments are 55% by barge and 45% by road. Nevertheless, the rail terminal will
drastically reduce these percentages. While many dry bulk terminals do offer some value added services, Terval says it is only seeking business that requires added value. “This is our strength and know-how,” says Detilloux.

Indeed, in the years to come, Terval aims to concentrate on the trade in alternative fuels to reinforce its presence in industry
and therefore overcome increasing regulations that are negatively impacting its core market.

Dry Cargo International. (Octobre 2019). Dry Cargo International229, 35.

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