According to Coenraad Hübner, site director of fuel storage and transshipment at Oiltanking Amsterdam, “Amsterdam will soon be a key location for all major players in the international petroleum sector.”

“The companies here have become an increasingly important link in the international supply chain,” he explains. “Oiltanking is proud to have played a pioneering role from the very start. As a part of the world’s second-largest independent wet storage and transshipment company, we’ve been operating here for over 30 years. Our business has been growing in leaps and bounds since we decided to focus on this specific niche. We’re even seeing attractive profits, despite the current economic crisis.”

Central storage

This imbalance reflects a longstanding imbalance. While the USA is usually short of oil products due to large-scale use and lack of refineries, Europe produces more than it consumes. So there is a need to store these fuels centrally and mix them to meet local market specifications, which vary.

“Building up buffers is crucial in this business, for a number of reasons,” says Hübner. “Oil companies need a central hub where they can store enough stock to respond quickly to demand fluctuations in any part of the world. Crucially, they need the support of a maritime complex with a rich network of connections. Amsterdam can offer just that, especially in combination with Rotterdam.”

Huge investment

In addition, oil trading companies need storage and fast access and transport, so they can take full advantage of price fluctuations. “We offer a unique level of flexibility, speed and high-quality services,” Hübner explains.

In addition to Oiltanking Amsterdam, the port area is home to BP’s storage company, America’s Nustar, the Anglo-Dutch Eurotank, and Vopak, a company previously focussed on Rotterdam. The Port of Amsterdam reports that hundreds of millions of Euros are being invested, often by foreign parties.

Oiltanking Amsterdam, meanwhile, notes that co-operation with the port authority is smooth and efficient. This is a plus given the company’s upcoming expansion into mainly multi-purpose storage tanks. “We need to become even more flexible,” says Hübner. “If the market requires that oil companies build up diesel stocks, we need to be able to offer our clients that capacity. Obviously, this is also a great proposition for Amsterdam.”