Alkion Terminals is launching southern Europe’s first Isotank storage hub in Marseille-Fos

success story
Alkion Terminals is launching southern Europe’s first Isotank storage hub in Marseille-Fos
From left to right: Charles Misseghers, Commercial Manager of Alkion Terminals, Aurélien Jakalski, Commercial Engineer and developer of the Isotank platform in Lavéra and Arnaud Juan, Director of General Affairs, with their Invest in Provence award
02 March 2023 / Grow your business, invest in provence, Logistics

The new facility will be a huge logistics asset for the development of the bulk liquid storage sector

Used in everything from the chemicals industry to food processing, the Isotank market is a highly dynamic sector but the lack of storage solutions for dangerous goods and difficult-to-handle chemicals in southern Europe is a barrier to its growth. Now, Alkion Terminals is preparing to transform the market by opening a dedicated 1.6-hectare storage platform for bulk liquids in Lavéra on September 4th, 2023. The €6.2 million investment was made possible thanks to support from Provence Promotion. The economic development agency for the Aix-Marseille-Provence metro area helped Alkion Terminals, which is a subsidiary of the Dutch group Koole Terminals that serves the European bulk liquid storage market, meet regulatory and administrative requirements to secure the permits needed for the new facility.

After four years of efforts that were slowed by the Covid-19 health crisis, Marseille-Fos is about to become the leading logistics hub in the Mediterranean for the storage of dangerous liquid goods in Isotanks. This marks a victory for Alkion Terminals, which has had a historical presence in the petrochemical cluster at Lavéra and is now preparing to open its new Isotanks storage site in early September 2023. On the banks of the Caronte canal that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the industrial ecosystem in the Étang de Berre, the new platform will be able to receive 204 Isotanks divided into three zones (flammable, toxic, and corrosive products).

“Many other operators have had similar projects fail because of a lack of government authorization. At Alkion Terminals, we had an advantage because our existing site is already classified as an ICPE and Seveso upper tier facility, which is ideal for storing Isotanks. Provence Promotion, which we met at the transport and logistics trade show in Munich, offered us a lot of support and helped us with the procedures we had to follow with the DREAL environmental, planning, and housing office, the services of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis, and the regional government.

As we approach the date of the site’s opening, Provence Promotion is still at our side to promote this new activity, which will make the South of France more attractive to certain shippers. For example, due to the lack of regulated storage solutions for bulk liquids in the South of France, many shipments to or from the Rhône-Alpes region are routed via northern Europe,” says Aurélien Jakalski, the sales engineer and Isotanks project developer at Alkion Terminals.

An Isotanks platform at the heart of the Rhône-Saône-Mediterranean transport corridor

Four people will be hired by Alkion Terminals at the beginning of the new operations and about fifty jobs will be created by 2026.

After investing more than €25 million in recent years to modernize facilities and increase storage capacity (113 000 m3 spread over 77 tanks) in Marseille, Alkion Terminals committed another €6.2 million to build an Isotanks storage platform that meets all French regulatory requirements in terms of safety and the environment. This investment, which is crucial to the future of the Lavéra petrochemical cluster, was recognised with an Invest in Provence award that was given to the company during a ceremony on January 16, 2023 at thecamp innovation campus outside of Aix-en-Provence.

“This highly sought-after storage activity immediately attracted major shippers with 60 spaces already reserved. This platform could serve as an advanced base for Isotanks of dangerous goods that can only remain a limited number of days at the Port of Marseille Fos terminals,” adds Aurélien Jakalski. Another major advantage of the Isotank platform in Marseille is that the site has dedicated rail infrastructure and receives between 10 and 15 railcars every day. This allows AlkionTerminals to offer some intermodal solutions to their clients, options that could optimize their costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

The global fleet of Isotanks continues to expand with 5.3% growth in 2020 and 7.3% growth in 2021. This extremely reliable, economical, and safe container can transport between 21 000 and 40 000 litres of bulk liquids from one location to another. Because the Isotank can be transported by truck, train, or ship, it allows companies to easily test markets and lowers costs because the cargo doesn’t need to be discharged and reloaded when modes of transport are changed. Alkion Terminals Marseille, which was acquired in November 2022 by the Dutch group Koole Terminals, increased its turnover by more than 25% between 2017 and 2022.

> This project was supported by Gayané Shahinyan, Provence Promotion's Inward Investment Advisor for Logistics and Services.