Katoen Natie Invests Heavily in the US
Multinational logistics powerhouse Katoen Natie is geared to invest 130 million euros in new platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and at the American east coast. Their new 47-hectare synthetics terminal in Houston Texas, where the sorting and packing of synthetic materials will take place, can shunt 500 train carriages. And that’s not all. "We have purchased 220 hectares in Baytown, Houston," says CEO Fernand Huts, who adds that they plan to set up 80 hectares of buildings and sheds and a facility for 2 000 carriages on the site." During the first phase until 2015 we will be investing almost 80 million euros on fifteen hectares of warehouses, shunting yards and roads. During the same period we will also build new platforms in Baton Rouge on the Gulf of Mexico in Lousiana and in New Jersey on the East Coast." These two new sites alone will take 50 million euros of investments during the next 3 years and offer 10 hectares in extra storage space. 'Never waste a good crisis' is only one of the mottoes of Huts, who sees countless business opportunities in the US. "We foresee a growth in the stream of exports in the chemical and petrochemical industry from the US. Businesses don't succeed any longer in selling all their products in the domestic market. They are now looking further afield to Latin Amercia, Europe and Asia. We are seen as the 'intermediary station' for their exports." Katoen Natie further hopes to benefit from imports to the US. Says Huts: "We have been buying Ford’s old factories in Norfolk, Virginia, where we are already processing traffic from foreign destinations and from other ports within the US." Since establishing their activities in the US in 1997, Katoen Natie managed to secure a sevenfold increase in turnover to about 55 million euros with major clients such as Exxon Mobil, Total, Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola.