Making things happen

For more than 150 years Katoen Natie has provided logistics services to its clients around the world. The company was founded in 1855 in Antwerp, Belgium to handle cotton at Antwerp’s port. It is now active in different business units, including petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, automotive, consumer goods, commodities, and engineering & projects. The Thai Petrochemical Logistics Center (TPLC) of Katoen Natie was established in Thailand in 1997. Today, Katoen Natie is a premier third-party logistics provider (3PLs), which provides outsourced services to clients, both on their sites and on off site multicustomer platforms located in 22 countries.
      Mr. Fabrice Goetschmann, Executive Director of Katoen Natie SembCorp (Thailand) Ltd. (KNS), states that the main factor that led to an investment into Thailand was KNS’s worldwide growth and the opportunity to support their clients’ businesses in Asia. In particular, KNS has focused its business in Thailand and Singapore.
      Before establishing its investment in Thailand, KNS evaluated the risks and opportunities in the country to ensure the security of their business. The company set its sights on the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, which is one of the largest petrochemical centers in the world. Also a consideration was the fact that the company has a close relationship with Board of Investment of Thailand.
      Initially, the company brought its first two business units in to serve customer demand in Thailand. Firstly, the company established a state-of-the-art support platform for the petrochemical and specialty chemical industries business unit in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate. This platform is called the Thai Petrochemical Logistics Center (TPLC), which is strategically located and suitable for local and international distribution, with daily transfers to the ports of Laem Chabang and Bangkok for exports and other locations in Thailand. TPLC is a one-stop service facility, equipped with modern installations and machinery for packing, handling and storage of packed and bulk products, de-dusting, sieving, drumming, contamination handling and high pressure cleaning.
      KNS prides itself to bring innovative solutions to the industry with a clear focus and strong knowhow gained from the logistics operation on the floor. This is supported by an engineering division providing services starting from the design of a logistics facility to the construction and operation. The area of TPLC is 50,000 m2 of solution center with 36 silos of 180 tons each for product storage in bulk.
      For the petrochemical business unit, KNS has five onsite and two off-site terminals to serve the logistics operations of its customers. There is a staff of between 15 and 130 people based in each of its on-site terminals, with a total workforce of 400. The two off-site terminals, also called solution centers, KNS operates provide special services to support customers with logistics solutions and an innovative approach with a focus on safety, efficiency, and productivity. The Thai Automotive Supply Center (TASC) is the second platform for added value services and is located in Pluakdaeng, Rayong, the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate at the heart of the burgeoning Thailand automotive industry. This ideal solution center serves the automotive business unit. The area covers a 19,000 m2 facility to support major assembly plants and suppliers and the diverse industries located in the industrial estate.

Mr. Fabrice Goetschmann of
Katoen Natie SembCorp (Thailand) Ltd.

      With increasing demand from their customers, KNS is in full expansion phase with the opening of its second multicustomer terminal, called Map Ta Phut Distribution Center (MDC), with a first 10,000 m2 solution center operational in November 2006 and a total of 80,000 m2 scheduled for completion. Additional bulk silos are planned for construction and expansion is also scheduled in Pluakdaeng. It can be said that the fast expanding business of KNS in Thailand comes from the huge growth of its domestic customers. Last year, KNS handled 1.2 million tons of chemicals in Thailand and over 18 million tons worldwide.
      KNS has grown every year since beginning operations here and it is aware that the 3PL provider business in Thailand plays an important part in the country’s development, as logistics costs in Thailand are about 15 percent of gross domestic product. Most companies in Europe and America have outsourced their logistics operation to 3PLs for cost reduction and to allow concentration on their core businesses. KNS can meet the demand of manufacturers to reduce both fixed and variable costs and to increase its effectiveness through experience, globalization, valueadded service and innovation.
      Mr. Goetschmann indicated it is important that Thailand improve the rail network, as set forth in Ministry of Transportation Infrastructure Development Plan, including dual rail project between Chachoengsao and Laem Chabang.
      In summary, Mr. Goetschmann says the success of KNS in Thailand could not occur without the support of the BOI and the government’s focus on logistics.

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