19 June 2024

Upgraded facilities at LTTR deliver improved safety, increased flexibility and faster client service

Continuously improving both safety and customer service go hand in hand at our terminals. Last year, we completed Melior, a major €32.4 million construction and renovation project at Liquin Tank Terminal Rotterdam (LTTR) which involved modernising one pump room and building an additional new one from the ground up. With the upgraded set-up in place, LTTR now offers the kind of highly flexible and safer terminal operation that clients expect from a multi-purpose liquid chemical storage facility.

Out-of-date facilities
By 2020, the storage tanks at LTTR were in good shape, but auxiliary equipment like pumps, valves, and pipelines were nearing the end of their operational life. In addition, working conditions needed to be upgraded to comply with the latest industry regulations. “Operators were working with out-of-date equipment to connect hoses containing dangerous chemicals,” says Ton Kok, Project Engineer. “Pump room 2 is a major operational centre at LTTR and its floor was covered with so many hoses, its nickname was ‘the snake pit.'”

Project goals
To address this situation, the Melior project was developed and implemented. “Melior means ‘better’ in Latin,” says Mike Lagerweij, Construction Coordinator. “The project involved renewing pump room 2 and constructing a new pump room – pump room 4 – to relieve pump room 2.” With these improvements, the Melior project aimed to prevent exposure to chemicals, improve working conditions, avoid spills and emissions, and bring a higher level of automation resulting in a more efficient operation. 

Uninterrupted terminal operations
While the project was being implemented, LTTR continued operating as normal in order to deliver uninterrupted service to clients. “It was almost like performing open heart surgery,” says Mike. “It required intensive teamwork and communication within our organisation. Right from the start, Customer Service was in contact with clients to keep them informed.” 

A brand new pump room
The first phase of the project was started in March 2021 when pump room 4 was built. To make space for it, a wastewater tank was demolished and the new pump room was constructed in its place. In addition, new pipelines were laid to the jetties and any obsolete piping was demolished. “The manifold we installed in pump room 4 was named after Martin Prins, a late colleague who used to work at LTTR and had the idea to improve the tankpit in the first place,” says Mike.

Rebuilding pump room 2
In the second phase of the project, pump room 2 was demolished and rebuilt. This presented a challenge for the project team since pump room 2 was connected to 16 tanks hired by Liquin clients and that had to remain in use. To maintain normal operations during the early stages of the project, a total of 32 tanklines were modified so they could be connected to the new pump room without affecting clients. Once these modifications were complete, the priority was to finish construction of the new pump room 4 so it could take over pump room 2’s operations. “We came up with an ingenious way to achieve this,” explains Mike. “In close cooperation with clients, we pumped the contents of each tank into another tank and modified the original tank’s pipeline. This allowed us to connect all the pipelines to the pump rooms at a later stage, ensuring that clients’ stored products remained accessible.” Once pump room 4 was in operation, work was started tearing down and rebuilding pump room 2. 

New pumps
Both pump room 2 and pump room 4 were fitted with new Bungartz pumps. These advanced pumps are stronger, faster and more reliable than the old pumps. They are also double sealed resulting in almost no emissions. In addition, the new pumps are more compact giving operators increased space to work. 

Upgrading the jetties
“Another important modification of the Melior project was the replacement of existing jetty lines,” says Ton. “The new Bungartz pumps in both pump rooms were equipped with new stainless steel piggable lines to the waterfront. Via motor operated 3-way valves, it’s now possible to choose which jetty a ship can be loaded or unloaded at.” To power all this new equipment, a new substation was built. The Melior project also re-installed jetty 3. This jetty was dismantled many years ago and is now fully operational offering more dedicated pipelines for specific chemical products and as a result, even greater flexibility.

Highest levels of safety
Throughout construction and renovation, safety was the highest priority. Standard safety guidelines were followed at all times and contractor personnel were required to pass the Port Introduction Training Exam. The construction team also included a Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Inspector to monitor safety and ensure compliance with guidelines.

Minimising disruption
To keep on-site work to a minimum, prevent disruption and reduce the risk of errors, key parts like manifolds, steel structures and supports were prefabricated offsite as much as possible. Construction personnel also worked in small, dedicated teams in well-defined locations.

Safer chemical handling and storage
Now that both phases of the project are complete, pump room 4 offers a lot more flexibility in the storage and handling of the most dangerous product, acrylonitrile. “We now have a fixed pipeline connection for acrylonitrile, with its own dedicated pump so the highest safety standards are met,” says Ton.

Morale boost
As well as improving safety and flexibility, the Melior project has helped reduce loading and unloading times at LTTR. But perhaps more importantly, the new set-up has had a big impact on staff morale. “When the Melior project was finally approved, it gave people an enormous boost,” says Ton. “During the construction period, we noticed almost every day that everyone was positive and helpful.”

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