Spain-based bulk liquid storage terminal operator TEPSA recently made its first run of tank containers on a rail siding in Barcelona.
As a result the company, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is now rolling out a new freight car loading and unloading service for chemical products.
The siding, which TEPSA built in 1989 on the terminal at Muelle de la Energía (Energy Dock) in Port of Barcelona, began with the loading of petroleum products – mainly diesel – and has been in sporadic operation since due to fluctuations in demand.
In 2013 TEPSA launched a project to modernise the Barcelona railway siding, initially investing in adapting facilities to handle the loading and unloading of freight cars carrying chemicals. Early work involved the installation of meters, pumping equipment and the safety equipment needed to handle this type of product. The infrastructure also needed to be adapted for loading/unloading ISO containers.
The first product to put these improved facilities to a test is monoethylene glycol (MEG). A load of 208,000 kg was transported on 5 June in a convoy of four flatcars and eight tank containers that were loaded through the inferior valve. The inauguration was attended by the other operators and organisations involved, Adif, Renfe, Logirail, Novapet and Barcelona Port Authority.
The product is shipped from the Middle East to the TEPSA facilities by sea and then stored before for onward shipment by train to Selgua, near Huesca, some 370km north-west of Barcelona, where the containers are unloaded onto flatbed trucks to be transported by road to a production plant about 20km away. This run is expected to be performed once a week.
In keeping with the Barcelona Port Authority initiatives, TEPSA says it is committed to intermodal transport. In this regard the company is considering incorporating the European gauge as part of the modernisation of the siding in order to be able to connect to the UIC general rail network that connects the Barcelona port with France.
TEPSA’s Barcelona terminal won the Terminal of the Year award given by networking advisory and conferencing group TankBank.
Every year the TankBank Group holds two networking events, one in Europe and the other in Asia, in order to bring together companies and professionals that work in the chemical and oil bulk liquid business. This year the European event was held in London. The day culminated in several awards to operators, surveyors, and terminals as well as to individuals who had distinguished themselves in their work. The winners were chosen by popular vote by those who work in the sector, who voted through the TankChat platform that the group has set up as a specialist social network.
TEPSA Barcelona won the Terminal of the Year award in recognition of the fact that the company is celebrating its 50th corporate anniversary this year, and for the versatility of its facilities.
TEPSA is an independent company which is wholly-owned by the French Group Petrofrance. The company was founded in Barcelona in 1964 with a storage capacity of 7,200 cbm, and now boasts almost 900,000 cbm of capacity.
The company is also present in the ports of Bilbao, Tarragona and Valencia.