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
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
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.