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Canadian-owned oil terminal likely to change hands

Largest storage facility in Amsterdam

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - Dutch liquid bulk logistics giant Vopak has become a lead contender to acquire all of the European assets of Canadian-owned World Point Terminals. The Canadian firm owns 280 oil tanks in the port of Amsterdam, with a combined capacity of 8 million barrels, or 1.3 million cubic metres.

The Toronto-based WPT has put its European subsidiary up for sale, with Europoint Terminals in the Netherlands being its only asset. The Canadian company’s remaining storage facilities are in North America and in the Bahamas, together capable of storing up to 13 million barrels of oil. WPT plans to concentrate on its home market where it recently acquired storage facilities in Maryland and New Jersey.

Vopak dates from the 1999 merger between industry colleagues Van Ommeren and Pakhoed. Van Ommeren started in 1839 as a shipping agent and forwarder, later branching out in storage and other maritime endeavours. Pakhoed has a much older origin. Though formed in 1967, also through a merger, one of its founders - Blauwhoed - was a 1616 Amsterdam association of porters employed to load and unload Dutch East Indies merchant ships. The porters distinguished themselves by wearing blue hats, hence the firm’s name. The other 1967 Pakhoed merger partner - Pakhuismeesteren (translated as warehousing specialists) – had been loading and unloading ships and storing goods in Rotterdam since 1818.

In 1986, Pakhoed acquired a 28 percent interest in U.S. company Univar Corporation, parent company of Van Waters & Rogers, the largest chemical distributor in North America.

Vopak owns tank terminals in 29 countries across the globe and employs 3,500 people. In 2004, it had revenues of $766 million.