Top officials during the inaugurating ceremony in Dubai on Thursday. Kamal kassim/ Gulf Today
Sajjad Ahmad, Deputy Business Editor
The global petrochemical market is expected to reach $5.4 trillion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period. The petrochemical Industry in the Middle East is also growing rapidly. To strengthen the regional market, AquaChemie Middle East - a leading regional player for process industry chemicals in the GCC region and part of the UAE-based AquaChemie Group - has formally inaugurated its world-class Petrochemical Terminal in DP World’s Jebel Ali Port in Dubai.
The advanced $50 million (Dhs184 million) terminal will be one of the most functional and versatile bulk liquid terminals in the GCC region serving as a vital gateway to facilitate and boost the growing petrochemical trade between manufacturers and end-users across the Middle East and globally.
The facility was officially inaugurated on Thursday in a well-attended opening ceremony by the chief guest, Abdullah Bin Damithan, CEO & Managing Director, DP World UAE & JAFZA; guest of honour, Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Dubai & Northern Emirates; together with Subrato Saha, Managing Director, AquaChemie; and Anand Kumar, Managing Director, AquaChemie; in the presence of senior DP World and JAFZA officials, industry associates, and the media.
AquaChemie commissioned Mott MacDonald, the globally renowned engineering, management, and development consultancy, for the new facility’s design detailed engineering and project management, with the region’s leading mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, and civil contractors also being on boarded for the project’s completion in record time.
The foundation of the Petrochemical Terminal was laid on November 23, 2020, with the new facility being awarded its OFC (Operation Fitness Certificate), along with all of the required regulatory certifications from Dubai Civil Defense and DP World on January 18, 2023.
The facility has been fully CDI-T (Chemical Distribution Institute - Terminal) assessed and is ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 45001:2018 certified. The terminal has already serviced the first vessel carrying chemicals.
The Chemical Terminal covers an area of 20,000 square metres and is located some 500 metres from Chemical Berth 4 in Jebel Ali Port. The new facility is linked by five SS pig-gable jetty pipelines, making it one of the most functional and versatile bulk liquid terminals in the GCC region.
With a total storage volume of over 34,000 cubic metres, the 26 large tanks in tank-farm A, B, C, and D are well equipped to handle over 100 UN Class 3 and 8 chemicals. The terminal has three tanker truck loading bays for top and bottom loading of tankers and ISO tanks, five semi-automatic drumming lines, a warehousing facility with over 6,300 drums, a dedicated ISO tank storage area, and a weigh bridge at the truck entry point.
The terminal is fully monitored and controlled from a central control room. AquaChemie’s corporate headquarter building is located on the same site as the terminal facility, so as to allow the leadership team to stay in close proximity. The corporate building houses the terminal’s operation control room, support and sales staff offices, dining and recreation areas, management office and board room.
Speaking on the occasion, Subrato Saha, Managing Director of AquaChemie, said: “It took us over four years to bring the AquaChemie terminal from concept to reality. We are thankful to have met such capable collaborators along the way who assisted us in shaping it. We pledge to our customers, employees, investors, and neighbours that we will conduct business in the safest, most environmentally and socially responsible manner possible, for both current and future generations.”
“AquaChemie group’s revenue target for the new terminal over the next three years is $300 million (Dhs1.1 billion). The storage facility has been built primarily for AquaChemie’s captive distribution of products. It strengthens the business case for chemical supply by increasing economies of scale, lowering freight costs, and expanding into new industries and geographies,” Saha added.
Petrochemical manufacturers and end-users are located globally, meaning that chemicals must constantly move between them. In terms of packing volumes and the geographic location of the manufacturer and end-user industry for petrochemical products, there is a significant supply chain gap. The new terminal, which is essentially a break-bulk facility, now fills the supply chain void by serving as a strategic hub for the liquid petrochemical trade and distribution.
The regional petrochemical industry also stands to benefit from the new terminal as the facility is located in Jebel Ali Port, which is part of a trade network connecting one-third of the world’s locations, while also offering the advantage of streamlined customs clearance and other trade-related processes.
With the new facility the petrochemical sector also gets to avail of expanded opportunities in the local ecosystem involving logistics, transportation, and other service providers. The sector can now also enjoy the benefit of increased competition and professional players, while customers can additionally benefit from improved cost efficiency and services and higher end-user companies’ access to international markets.
Highlighting the benefits of the newly opened facility Anand Kumar, Managing Director of AquaChemie, explained: “Our new state-of-the-art terminal is a step towards backward integration of our current oil and gas offering for the upstream and downstream petrochemical sectors. The supply reliability and lower supply chain cost will immensely benefit our existing customers as chemicals will be delivered on time so that the customers’ operations are not disrupted.
“The new terminal will also assist in the formation of strategic alliances with regional and global manufacturers of petrochemicals, in order to distribute bulk products to customers in smaller packaging. To maximise capacity utilisation and partially offset operation costs, a few tanks in the new facility will be leased for third-party storage. Chemicals hold enormous promise for the region. We hope, humbly, to contribute to this value chain,” Kumar added.