(EnergyAsia, Singapore, February 2 2016, Tuesday) – Swiss chemical logistics firm Bertschi AG will invest another S$20 million in a dangerous goods warehouse to add to its newly opened S$45 million plant on Singapore’s oil and chemicals hub on Jurong Island. (US$1=S$1.42).

Hans-Jörg Bertschi, President and CEO of Bertschi Holding AG, made the announcement for the expansion at last week’s opening of the company’s plant to provide logistics, processing and supply chain services to the specialty chemical producers along the island’s ‘ethylene oxide corridor’. The warehouse is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2017.

Bertschi said its 30,610-sq m site houses its most advanced operation in Asia for the safe and efficient handling and storage of specialty and hazardous chemicals. It provides services for dangerous goods bulk transport and handling, chemicals storage, isotank storage and heating as well as blending, drumming and repackaging services.

These operations enable the Bertschi cluster to provide a one-stop-shop solution for Jurong Island operators while ensuring that the handling of hazardous chemicals is confined to a small area.

“The shifting focus to specialty chemicals is not just confined to Europe, as our latest investment illustrates,” said Mr Bertschi. “This is a revolutionary step for the chemical industry.”

Bertschi’s investments will add momentum to Jurong Island’s manufacturers and operators to move up the value chain.

“While better known for its refineries and petrochemical complexes, Jurong Island has in recent years welcomed more manufacturing activities in specialty chemicals,” said Damian Chan, executive director of energy and chemicals at the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). Specialty chemical manufacturing activities require their own logistics capabilities.

Thomas Kupfer, Switzerland’s Ambassador to Singapore, who was the event’s guest of honour, said:

“Bertschi is committed to ensuring Swiss quality and consistent safety throughout its value chain. Its strategic investment here in Singapore aims to leverage on the country’s connectivity across the region and first-class infrastructure.”


Bertschi’s value offerings

“Instead of putting their specialty chemical products into fixed liquid storage tanks at the plant site, the producing company may now fill their final products directly from the production reactor into our Isotanks. The products are then stored in Isotanks at our Chemical Cluster,” said Mr Bertschi.

“By doing so, the producer reduces Capex for his newly built specialty chemicals plant typically by 10% to 15%, and land use by up to 50%. Producers may streamline existing plants with very little investment, as internal logistics is often the bottleneck to production run optimisations. The same principle applies for import/export flows from overseas.

“Instead of going through bulk liquid storage tanks, we import Isotanks directly into our depot, and store them there. Isotanks are the new bulk liquid storage for specialty chemicals and the raw materials used in specialty chemicals plants.”

According to Bertschi, one of the elements supporting this revolutionary change – besides the globalisation of the chemical industry and the focus to reduce capital expenditure – is the paradigm shifts in seafreight.

In the last eight years, container vessels have increased their size from 8,000 to 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) per ship and introduced slow steaming, leading to very significant cost cutting. As a result, it has become more cost-efficient for specialty chemical products, as well as their raw materials supply, to move in Isotanks instead of parcel tankers.

Chemical producers can focus on their core business, while Bertschi provides the logistical infrastructure and capacity to handle the non/hazardous chemicals.

“New plants on Jurong Island are able to maximise their processes with optimum efficiency,” said Mr Bertschi.

“They will require less capital expenditure as they can now outsource their processes to Bertschi. This, plus increased customer profit margins through integrated logistics concepts, logistic outsourcing and supporting logistics project management, will enhance Jurong Island’s investment location attractiveness. Thus, you could consider the Bertschi JICC to be an additional link in Jurong Island’s value chain.”

Bertschi said its operations are certified in line with international safety, quality and environmental standards. Built to surpass the highest industry standards, its operations are semi-automated, and incorporate safety features like firewalls, chemical spillage retention basins, and remote-controlled foam jets.