Shipping and tank terminal company Odfjell is investing in the construction of a new tank bay at Odfjell Terminal Houston (OTH) as part of its support for ongoing regional growth in the chemical industry.

With the addition of a new automated tank bay, Odfjell expects to increase the capacity of Bay 13 at OTH by approximately 9% to 413,000 cubic metres (cbm).

As described, nine new tanks will be comprised of a mix of stainless steel and carbon steel, with a total capacity of 32,400 cbm, enabling OTH to relocate and consolidate products of existing customers and optimise the use of its current storage capacity for new customers and products.

Furthermore, the tank bay will be highly automated, requiring less manual intervention, and will benefit from the ongoing digital transformation program, which includes an advanced ERP system and automated control systems, Odfjell said.

The expansion project is said to be in line with OTH’s strategy of positioning itself for healthy demand for storage capacity in the specialty/petrochemical industry in the US Gulf Coast region, where OTH has been operating for years.

Bay 13 is set to begin construction in the first quarter of 2022 and is expected to be operational by the end of 2023. The expansion will be fully financed through an existing credit facility.

According to Odfjell, bulk chemicals, including intermediate and specialty chemical products exports in the US Gulf are expected to increase by 2.3 million metric tons by 2024, while import volumes are expected to increase by 389,000 metric tons by 2030.

“As a result, storage demand is expected to rise and the development of Bay 13 will assist in further optimizing OTH and allow Odfjell Terminals to support industry growth for new and existing customers”, Odfjell said.

OTH is strategically located near the entrance of the Houston ship channel and serves as a major international hub for chemical import and export to and from the United States.

It currently owns 119 tanks, two deepwater ship docks, four barge berths and one of the largest stainless steel storage capacities of any independent tank terminal in the world.

Last month, Odfjell entered into a sales agreement for the last three 9,000 dwt short-sea vessels that operated in the company’s regional trade in Asia.

As informed at the time, the sale marks an exit from Odfjell’s short-sea regional trade in Asia as the remaining vessel on a time charter to Odfjell will also be re-delivered to its owners in January 2022.

Earlier this year, Odfjell also sold two LPG-ethylene carriers, exiting the gas carrier business.

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