£40 million terminal transformation at Stolthaven Dagenham

Stolthaven Terminals is nearing the completion of a £40 million redevelopment which has transformed its Dagenham terminal over the past few years.

This significant investment programme has brought the once-neglected site, acquired by Stolthaven in 2012, up to and beyond the latest regulatory standards. And there is room for expansion. Dagenham offers the ideal location for customers seeking direct access to the South East, which is the UK’s biggest consumer area.

Investing for future growth

The investment programme has focused on upgrading the Dagenham site to meet, and in some areas exceed, the latest regulatory requirements – improving safety, reducing the impact on the environment and providing new and upgraded tanks.

Stolthaven’s decision to acquire the 23.5-acre Dagenham site seven years ago marked the company’s entry into the UK market. The terminal was purchased to complement the existing services of Stolt Tank Containers and Stolt Tankers, providing customers with a total supply chain solution.

Located just 12 miles from central London, Dagenham remains Stolthaven’s sole UK terminal. The programme to modernise the facility, which stores clean petroleum products (CPP), petrochemicals and speciality liquids, began with the decision to upgrade and refurbish two tank pits containing some 50 tanks, and demolish a further 50 tanks, some of which were more than 60 years old. These were replaced with 20 larger tanks across three new tank pits.

A brand-new office building is currently under construction; this will provide a more comfortable working environment, not only for employees but also for visitors and the 200 truck drivers who call at the terminal daily.

And that’s not all. Stolthaven continues to look ahead and has acquired an additional five acres of land on its northern boundary so that it is well prepared for future opportunities to expand or develop bespoke facilities to meet customer demands.

Protecting our planet

Stolthaven Dagenham is ISO 9001 certified and a COMAH upper-tier site. As at Stolthaven’s other terminals, safeguarding the environment is the top priority. Bringing the site’s tanks up to the same standard as other terminals in the network means that more than 100 are now constructed from mild steel and have lined options for the safe storage of fuel or chemicals.

The first phase of improvements at Dagenham, completed in September 2015, provided 48,000 cubic metres of new capacity, four loading racks suitable for low flash products and three loading racks for bitumen.

At the same time, improved temperature control, product agitation, blending, dilution, product filtration and nitrogen blanketing services were made available for customers. Secondary containment facilities have also been upgraded to the latest industry standards, and all tanks are equipped with radar gauging, remotely operated shut-off valves and the latest firefighting systems in the tank pits where flammable products are stored.

Steve Walker, Stolthaven Dagenham General Manager, said: “The terminal already complied with the regulatory guidelines when we purchased it. However, the enhancements we’ve made are all about improving safety further and being able to offer customers uninterrupted service.

“While other terminal operators may need to take tanks offline to install upgrades as existing guidelines become a regulatory requirement, we are already planning ahead. The refurbishment of existing tanks and upgrade of the secondary containment is in line with the latest guidance provided by the Environment Agency’s Containment Policy. All that’s needed now is a new lick of paint!”

Customer centricity

For Stolthaven, the needs of customers are central to everything. Work was undertaken to deepen the draft alongside the jetty to 10.5 metres so that larger ships (up to 45,000 dwt, 200 metres length and 35 metres beam) can call at the terminal. The result has been an increase in utilisation from 30% in 2012 to 45% in 2018.

Stolthaven plans to go further by replacing the present jetty and improving the discharge rate of vessels with the installation of larger diameter lines. The dock currently has 31 lines – plenty to ensure that each different product has a dedicated system – and can deliver the highest quality control standards.

“Unwanted demurrage bills can turn a profitable trade into an unprofitable one,” explained Steve. “The enhancements made so far have improved turnaround times, reducing the potential for attracting additional demurrage costs. The new jetty will ensure that this continues.”

Stolthaven Dagenham also installed a custom-built bitumen plant with processing facilities and its own dedicated exit/entrance for one of its customers, Puma Energy UK Ltd. The storage of bitumen for Puma Energy is a good example of a bespoke solution that leaves parties to focus on what they do best.

That, according to Paul Fitzroy, Puma Bitumen’s UK Commercial Manager, is taking care of customers: “Our modern, state-of-the-art facility at Stolt Dagenham bitumen terminal provides us with ideal access to London, the South East and beyond. In conjunction with our dedicated customer service team, the service we get from Stolthaven combined with the reliability of the operation, ensure we can consistently deliver the highest levels of customer service.”

Optimising the supply chain

“When we took possession of the site seven years ago, aesthetically the site looked poor,” said Steve. “Now, Dagenham is a very different facility, offering customers a quick service that is safe, reliable and robust.”

While there has been major investment at the terminal, the surrounding area has also seen several new developments in recent years. A new access road to the site is being constructed and is due for completion in December 2019.

The terminal is next to the London Sustainable Industries Park where there are large warehousing and distribution centres for companies such as Eddie Stobart, Ocado, Tesco and Standard Life. “With low jetty utilisation and good hinterland connectivity, Stolthaven Dagenham firmly believes there are many supply chains that would benefit from operating out of Dagenham,” added Steve. “It’s worth asking the question, what if my supply chain ran out of Dagenham? Some customers have already done this and brought their costs down.”

Reflecting on the investment programme, Guy Bessant, President of Stolthaven Terminals, believes it’s a job well done. “The complexity of upgrading a brownfield site while continuing to deliver an excellent service to our customers has proved a challenge.

“The fact that we are nearing completion of the development is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at Dagenham, as well as our colleagues from other Stolthaven terminals who have shared their expertise and know-how. I am confident that our investment in this site will enable us to better service our customers and ensure we have a sustainable UK business for the future.”

This article first appeared on tanknewsinternational.com, Autumn 2019