In its current form ICL Fertilizers has been in Amsterdam since
1982, but actually the company’s roots date back to 1907. ICL
Fertilizers Amsterdam offers extensive production and
warehousing facilities in the port area and also acts as an
international hub, handling raw products coming in from Israel,
the UK, Germany and Spain.
ICL Fertilizers manufactures around 90 different types of
fertilizer, which are mainly based on phosphates and potash.
Besides functioning as a manufacturer, ICL Fertilizers also acts
as a terminal, handling various raw materials and products such
as: potash, phosphoric acid, feed additives and speciality
Anthony Zanelli, ICL Fertilizers Amsterdam Plant Manager,
says Amsterdam carries out three main roles. One is that of
main European production facility producing around 550,000
tonnes of fertilizers a year.
All the raw materials arrive by deep-sea vessels directly into
ICL’s own terminal in Amsterdam offering one deep-sea berth
and three coaster/barge berths. The raw materials are
subsequently transformed into fertilizer. Around 85% of the
company’s products are exported worldwide. Besides the solid
raw materials, the terminal receives 150,000 tonnes of liquids by
tanker, which partially contain raw materials for production
process but also end-products that are transshipped by barge
and truck to clients throughout Europe.
Annually ICL handles approximately 30 bulk carriers (DWCC
between 20,000dwt up to 65,000dwt) and approximately 100
smaller (short-sea) vessels from UK or Spain. Imported raw
material quantity amounts to approximately 750,000 tonnes.
Outbound sea-going traffic with finished products amounts to
approximately 150 coaster vessel per annum — exporting
approximately 300,000 tonnes.
In addition, around 10 to 15 barges call at the terminal every
week. These range in size from smaller barges with a capacity of
around 250 tonnes going into France to very large barges that
can handle around 5,000 tonnes going up the river Rhine.
A second main role of ICL Fertilizers Amsterdam is
functioning as a hub for other ICL establishments which are
located in Israel, Spain and the UK. The cargo from ICL’s foreign
colleagues arrives by sea and then it is either stored in ICL’s
warehouses in the port of Amsterdam, which have a capacity of
approximately 100,000 tonnes, or the produce is sent on its
onward journey by barge or truck.
Barge transport is very important to ICL Fertilizers
Amsterdam. As much as 90% of the company’s produce are
transported by barge, the remainder is trucked. ICL Fertilizers
has production plants and warehousing facilities in both
Germany and France, so most of the barges travel a fair distance.
The company transports around 800,000 tonnes a year by barge.
The firm only tends to use trucking if a customer wants a very
fast delivery or in close vicinity. Most customers want to use
the more economical barge transport.
The third main role of ICL Fertilizers Amsterdam is that of
European headquarters, performing the management, marketing
and finance services for the European division. This includes
potash and salt mines in the UK and Spain, fertilizer production
in Germany as well as feed phosphate production in Turkey. The
close vicinity to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and a major
European financial centre is extremely important within this
international business context.
A new development for the plant in Amsterdam is the
recycling of phosphate. The worldwide phosphate reserves are
decreasing and phosphate will become scarce in the future. “We
see it as an obligation for future generations to reuse phosphate
in our products to ensure food production” says Zanelli. The
plant in Amsterdam has become quite successful in reusing
phosphates from various sources.
“We think Amsterdam is very well located and we are happy
here,” says Zanelli. “Although we believe that the pricing and
policies of the city of Amsterdam are becoming less favourable
for large companies compared to other harbours in North
Western Europe”.
“ICL experienced a period of reduced production due to the
economic crisis, but has now returned to 100% production”, says
James Hallworth, Commercial Manager Port of Amsterdam.
Looking to the future the expected output remains high. The
Port of Amsterdam continues to work with ICL on innovative
technology and efficient land use. Together ICL and the Port of
Amsterdam will continue to explore new fertilizer markets. ICL
is one of the leaders in the urban mining project run by the Port
of Amsterdam encouraging exchange of recyclable materials with
the green companies in the port area. “We hope that ICL
remains a strong customer of the Port of Amsterdam,”
Hallworth concludes.