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OBA to diversify from coal

Going along with the aim of Amsterdam municipality to "green" port activities, dry bulk stevedore OBA has agreed to dedicate around 14 of its total gross 70-ha of terminal space to dry bulk commodities other than coal, which currently accounts for 80 to 85% of its business in Amsterdam

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In a letter of intent (LOI) signed on 12th March, it was agreed that the 14-ha area, 20% of the stevedore’s total gross acreage, will be cleared (from coal) before the end of this month.

The area in question is a non-mechanised part of the terminal, with no conveyor belts, stackers, reclaimers, etc, that is used just for open air storage. It will be developed with roofed storage with mechanised cargo handling. According to Amsterdam port authority’s announcement, OBA will thus both create more efficient operations and materialise its ambition to expand its current diversification towards other bulk commodities. The LOI includes the aim of investing in additional quay wall capacity and increasing local water depth. The future new locks at IJmuiden will contribute to the envisaged scaling up, states the port.

Harm Winkeler, OBA´s Managing Director, notes that the terminal is responding to changing market demands, partially triggered by the energy transition. “It is crucial for us to move along with our customers´ supply chain developments.”

Impression of the covered handling and storage area (foreground)
Impression of the covered handling and storage area (foreground)

Speaking to worldcargonews online, Winkeler noted that demand for energy coal in the European hinterland will continue to fall. “Already Germany´s imports in 2017 went down from 36 to 31 Mt. Energy coal accounts for around 60% of our coal business, with PCI coal (pulverised coal injection) for the German steel industry being the remaining 40%.”

Some 10 to 15% of OBA’s annual 10 Mt of initial maritime quayside handling is made up of agribulk and other minerals. Winkeler stated that two new accounts of non-disclosed dry bulk new business from two new customers will almost certainly be added in H1 2018. “A year ago we reinforced our sales and marketing department. This is now beginning to bear fruit.”

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