Product variety

WITH about 1.425 million barrels (about 60 million gallons) of storage tank capacity, seven truck loading bays, two river docks for ships and barges, and 230 railroad car spots, the Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group Inc (SNTG) facility near New Orleans, Louisiana, can handle a variety of products.

“Our independent terminals serve as regional hubs that provide customers with high-quality storage and distribution services,” says Dan Cousins, facility manager.

SNTG, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, is a company that specializes in specialization, Cousins says.

The 118-acre storage and terminal facility on the east bank of the Mississippi River opened in June 2001 and continues to grow both in infrastructure and services.

Although the terminal suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina and later received additional flooding from Hurricane Rita, the terminal was soon capable of conducting marine movements for most products and was fully operational in a relatively short time.

Typically, the office is open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, but the terminal has personnel on duty and is available for loading and unloading 24/7.

On any given day, products moving in and out of the terminal include vegetable and corn oil, glycerin, glycol, base lubricating oil, pesticides, and herbicides.

In addition, many of the products the terminal transfers include both industrial and foodgrade quality. The terminal also handles kosher products, as well as ingredients for medicines, all of which require special handling.

Diversified products

Offering special services for diversified products requires dedicated product tanks, piping, pumps, and loading lines.

In addition to specialized product services, SNTG considers trucking companies as special customers, even though carriers operate on behalf of shippers and/or processors. SNTG is committed to efficient loading and unloading procedures to expedite truck traffic, says Cousins.

Tank transports typically are in and out of the facility in 55 minutes and spend about 30-35 minutes of that time at the loading rack, where product — depending on type and temperature — is loaded at about 300 gallons per minute. There are three loading racks currently in operation, with more under construction.

“We track our loading efficiency on a monthly basis,” says Kevin Chimento, marketing manager. “By doing that, we are able to compare the turnaround times and can correct procedures that may be causing delays.”

Transloading

At the rail/truck transloading area, the railcar siding is connected to the Norfolk Southern Corp line. However, rail services also are available from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, CSX Corporation, Canadian National, and Kansas City Southern Railway Co.

Direct product transfer is handled from railcars to ships, tank trailers, and tank containers. Forty-eight spots contain loading racks, and the remainder can be used for railcar storage.

In addition to pumping product from ship to large storage tanks, the terminal can transfer product in a just-in-time procedure from ships to trucks via three 300-metric-ton storage tanks near the dock. Product is pumped into the tanks at 1,000 gallons per minute from the ship, and then from the storage tanks at a slower rate of 300 gallons per minute to accommodate tank trailers.

Truck drivers check in at an office at the entrance to the facility, where their identification and other papers are confirmed before they are issued a temporary terminal pass.

Random security checks are conducted on the tractor and tank trailer. The search process used depends on the national threat advisory level in effect at the time. The terminal operates under security and other regulations of the Coast Guard and the Department of Transportation.

After receiving a pass for terminal access, drivers weigh vehicles at a Mettler Toledo scale at the entrance, proceed to one of the three loading racks (more are under construction), and position trailers. Stolt employees conduct all loading and unloading procedures. A nearby building provides a waiting room for drivers.

Durco pumps are used to move product from rack to tank trailer, and OPW Engineered Systems supplies rack equipment, including three-inch API dry disconnect adapters for loading FDA-approved product used in medicines.

Mettler Toledo scales also are used at the loading racks. “All loading measurement is by weight,” Chimento says. “However, the weight ticket for the shipment is generated when the truck is weighed at the gate.”

A JAG Inc software application handles weight data and conveys it to the company's in-house-designed computer system.

Inventory program

A Saab inventory program manages measurements for loading and unloading product, as well as storage tank measurements. The information also is relayed to the company's main system. The Saab program indicates product temperatures at five levels in the tanks, information that can be provided to customers.

“Product temperature is especially important to some of our customers, especially those that operate under Federal Drug Administration regulations,” says Chimento.

All loading areas capture spills, and the terminal manages all wastewater on site with a bioremediation process. All wastewater is captured, solids separated for later disposal, and wastewater treated with naturally occurring microorganisms before it is released.

The terminal also has the capability to handle waste streams pumped to the handling facility from tankers at the dock.

Storage tanks

Storage tanks are equipped with fixed- and internal-floating roofs built to API 650 or 620 standards. The tanks sit inside secondary concrete containment areas to meet environmental guidelines.

Product is transferred from the 60 large-capacity tanks to the loading racks at 3,000 barrels per hour. Tanks range in size from 1,560 barrels (65,520 gallons) to 80,000 barrels (3.36 million gallons).

The dock area contains 5,000 feet of waterfront property, has 35 dock lines, and currently is the closest public terminal to open water on the Mississippi River.

With 500 acres purchased for development across the street from the terminal, the company expects to eventually have an additional 2 million cubic barrels of storage capacity.

Other plans call for development of an area that can be leased to carriers for offices and parking space.

SNTG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stolt-Nielsen SA, Oslo, Sweden. Other terminals are in Houston, Texas; Santos, Brazil; Westport, Malaysia; and Ulsan, South Korea.

The company believes that combining the resources of Stolthaven terminals, tankers, and tank containers allows it to provide customers with integrated logistical solutions that optimize costs and increase efficiency.

With the New Orleans terminal in operation, the company has one more facility to enhance the customer service philosophy, despite the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's fury.

It will take more than a fit from Mother Nature to interfere with that philosophy.

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