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Purpose and strategy
Our purpose: Storing vital products with care.
Demand for energy, food and chemicals is growing as populations increase and become more prosperous. As the world’s leading independent tank storage company, we connect supply and demand for these products. To do so, we operate a global network of storage and logistics terminals at strategic locations along major trade routes. We ensure safe, clean and efficient storage and handling of bulk liquid products and gases for our customers.
Storing vital products
Our work enables people to meet basic needs: to cook and heat their homes, go to work and travel the world. We help maintain homes, allow factories to operate and companies to manufacture products that we all use in our daily lives. Our long-term success depends on our ability to innovate and respond to changing demand from both society and the market. Today, we store chemicals, oil, gases, biofuels and edible oils. In the future, we may well store products like hydrogen, electricity and CO2.
While the products in our tanks are crucial to people’s everyday lives and to the economy, they can impact people’s health and the environment if badly stored or handled. It is our role and responsibility to ensure safe, clean and efficient storage. We have a commitment to care, which extends to all our stakeholders, including our colleagues and contractors, our customers and the communities in which we operate.
Vopak operates a global network of terminals worldwide. Through these terminals, we enable delivery of products for the energy, chemicals and food & agriculture industries. Our terminal network supports our customers with delivering products to market. We adapt to constantly changing markets and product flows, resulting from shifts in climate policies, in geopolitics and the development of new energy sources and cleaner fuels. At the same time, we have seen increased digitalization and the introduction of new technologies – these create significant opportunities for our business. To respond effectively to these changes, we need to be flexible – we also need to have a long-term vision not only of the best locations for our terminals, but of the products and infrastructure that society will use in the years ahead.
Vopak’s strategy is based on five ‘pillars’ – where we need to exercise leadership, so we can continue to create value for our customers and stakeholders.
1. Leading assets in leading locations
In our business, location is vitally important. Over the years, we have grown our portfolio of terminals; we have strengthened Vopak’s value proposition across the company’s four strategic terminal types: Industrial terminals, Gas terminals, Chemicals terminals, Oil terminals.
Our aim is to have a diversified terminal portfolio – a strong asset base at a competitive cost of ownership. In deciding where to locate our terminals, a number of factors are considered: patterns of supply and demand, international trade, industrial clusters, population growth and sustainability. Given that production often is not located close to demand, this growth will increase trade flows, and open up opportunities for Vopak.
2. Operational leadership
Vopak has high standards in safety, sustainability, service and costs – this is how we aim to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Safety is our first priority. We abide by existing rules and regulations as a minimum – and adopt best practice where possible. Our aim is to be an industry leader in designing, engineering and commissioning new assets, in project management and in operating and maintaining our existing terminals. Vopak’s terminals are governed by global standards that often go beyond local regulatory requirements. We realize that our ‘license to operate’ and our ‘license to grow’ depend on our ability to manage our facilities safely and responsibly. We have policies, standards, systems, toolkits and core processes (blueprints) that support our ambitions in this area. We provide extensive training programs for both employees and contractors. When selecting contractors, safety performance and experience are critical qualifying criteria. We look at ways of introducing new, safe and more sustainable technologies to improve our systems and processes. We also apply sustainability criteria to our key suppliers.
3. Service leadership
We operate efficiently, keep down costs and shorten processing times where we can. In doing so, we help improve customers’ business performance. In this area, our goal is constant improvement – by listening to our customers and anticipating their needs. Wherever we operate, we want to be the ‘best in port’. We continuously survey customers, so we can use their feedback to improve our services. Vopak plays a fundamental role in customers’ supply chains. We realize we can add value here by providing easy access to real-time information – on loading and waiting times, for example. We build long-term trust with our customers not only through high levels of customer service, but also through our commitment to safety and sustainability, and our advanced sanction compliance programs.
4. Technology leadership
By innovating and bringing in new digital technologies, our aim is to improve safety and service – as well as to reduce costs by working more efficiently and saving energy. Increasingly, at Vopak, we work with mobile devices – we are also working more in real time. Thanks to technology, we aim to be better connected to our customers – we have unlocked data that we can use to improve efficiency, and speed up supply chains for both ourselves and our customers. Through our emerging API-based platform, we can also integrate external data sources quickly and effectively. We are using technology to reduce the number of safety incidents, and further improve service standards through more effective planning. We are strengthening cyber security – and looking at more sustainable technologies to help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. The ‘Internet of Things’ technology, meanwhile, is helping us develop smarter terminals, and allowing us to schedule maintenance work more effectively.
5. People leadership
Our people are vital to our company and performance. As an employer, we want to inspire and challenge our people, we are helping them develop the right capabilities and leadership skills, and we aim to instill high standards of ethics and integrity. Our aim is for a highly motivated, skilled, agile and diverse workforce. We want to have the right people with the right skills, in the right place and time. We also need to attract new talent – to do so, we have a strong focus on career development and on-the-job learning. Our employee appraisals address not only past performance, but also future development. In our salaries and benefits, we look to reward individual performance, and encourage employees to pursue short or long-term assignments outside their home countries.
Underpinning these leaderships is Vopak’s ‘foundation’ – our founder’s mentality: this goes all the way back to the company’s origins, more than 400 years ago. It reminds us that we should not limit ourselves to what we know now, or what has worked in the past, but always be open to new solutions and opportunities – always to have an entrepreneurial approach. It is this foundation, along with the Vopak Values, that allows us to work together, to live up to the company’s purpose – and to invest in the long-term success of both Vopak and its stakeholders. The five Vopak Values are Care for Safety, Health and the Environment, Integrity, Team Spirit, Commitment and Agility.
Vopak's four strategic terminal types
We ensure safe, clean and efficient storage and provide infrastructure services in different value chains for chemicals, oil, gases, biofuels and vegoils in three end markets: energy, manufacturing and food & agriculture. We serve countless people and communities around the world as end-user of these different value chains. These value chains span from production of feedstock to end-user distribution. Our terminal infrastructure plays a key role in connecting our customers’ products to their markets.
As petrochemical clusters are becoming larger and more complex, logistics integration is ever more crucial. Industrial terminals establish a single operator at the heart of the cluster, which typically serve multiple plants at the same time. They optimize the sites’ logistics both by securing import and export flows to and from the cluster, and by ensuring reliable flows to feed the various plants inside the cluster. Due to the interdependency between the terminal and its customers, industrial terminals, typically have longterm customer contracts.
Vopak is expanding its gas storage – in response to increased demand, partly from petrochemicals and plastics production, but also from gas-fired power plants and transport. We are introducing new infrastructure for cleaner fuels like LPG and LNG. In doing so, Vopak is contributing to the energy transition. We own and operate LPG terminals in the Netherlands, China and Singapore; we have LNG facilities in Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Colombia.
Demand for chemicals storage is growing. Vopak has a strong presence in key hub locations, including Antwerp, Rotterdam, Singapore and Houston. We operate a global chemicals distribution network. Besides growth opportunities, we are also looking at ways of operating our terminals more efficiently and strengthening customer service.
Oil import, distribution and hub terminals are an important part of our business. We have hub terminals located strategically along major shipping routes, where suppliers, customers and traders are active. These include Rotterdam, Fujairah and the Singapore Strait. Vopak plays an important role in energy distribution in major oil markets with structural supply deficits.
The products we store
As an independent service provider, we do not own the products that we store for our customers. Neither do we determine what types of products are in use. At the same time, we strive to be a responsible member of the communities in which we operate. We adhere to permits, national and international regulations as a minimum and commit to safe, clean and effective storage. We also explore ways to facilitate the introduction of more sustainable technologies, processes and products.
We store and handle a variety of liquid products.These include: Chemicals (methanol, xylene, styrene, MEG1), Gas (LNG, LPG, ethylene, butadiene), Oil products (crude oil, fuel oil, diesel, jet fuel, gasoline, naphtha), Vegoils and biofuels.
The products we handle are used by energy, industrial and manufacturing companies in their supply chains. These products are key inputs for chemicals and plastics for food and manufacturing – and for the energy and transport sectors. Our customers are producers, manufacturers, distributors, governments and traders. They include leading international, regional and national chemical, oil and gas companies.
Vopak’s terminals connect directly with national grids and distribution networks. In many cases, we handle feedstock (products used in industrial processes); in others, products go directly to end-users. Vopak provides common storage and logistics services to customers. Our customers benefit from economies of scale; they do not have the direct cost of owning and maintaining storage tanks, jetties, pipelines and other infrastructure. We help our customers optimize processes and operate more efficiently, saving time and money. Nearly 80% of our revenue comes from storage fees paid by customers. Vopak’s ambition is to be a strong link in customers’ supply chains. Much of our business is long term: typically, contracts for gas last 5-20 years. Chemicals and oil tend to be shorter term, with contracts of 0-5 years.
Our suppliers vary from global qualified vendors, used for equipment and IT automation, to local service and construction suppliers. We aim for long-term partnerships and ensure continuous improvement on quality, efficiency and safety. In line with our Sustainability Policy and Vopak’s Code of Conduct, we require our suppliers, contractors and their sub-tier suppliers and contractors to adhere to our Supplier Code.