They are vital if the company is to support and serve the needs of its customers in the face of an ever-evolving supply chain.
This was the theme Bryan Davies, UM Terminals’ Managing Director, addressed in a talk at the recent European Bulk Liquid Storage Summit in Cartagena.
UM Terminals deliberately maintains a broad portfolio of around 40 products that it stores including vegetable oils, industrial, food and feed, chemical, fertiliser, fuels, biofuels and base oils.
It achieves this operating out of 8 terminals, strategically located across the UK, with a current capacity of over 300,000 cubic metres of bulk liquid storage, but with an ambition to increase this to around 400,000 cubic metres.
This more rounded portfolio means that the business is able to adapt quickly if demand is higher or lower in a particular sector and also plan strategically for the expected increasing demand to store products, such as green hydrogen, that will play an important part in the UK Government’s Road to Zero strategy.
Bryan said: “While there is an irreversible move towards reducing the world’s dependency on fossil fuels, there remains uncertainty about future product requirements, although there are lots of conversations at the moment about green energy and the role it will play.
“This uncertainty means that companies like ours need to be agile and ready to meet the needs of our customers to store new, more sustainable fuels.
“We have a track record of adapting and updating the services we are able to provide and this is no different as we move towards products that offer greater sustainability. Once a customer has a product they wish to take to market, it is our job to be ready to support them.
“While our business is diverse in the range of products we store for our customers, we keep a close watch on market trends so that we are positioned to be a leader in the field of green energy bulk liquid storage.”
Bryan said that companies were also looking at various ways to improve their carbon footprint, including strategically storing closer to their end customer.
He said: “Supply chains are looking a lot more closely at their last mile delivery, reducing road miles and storing nearer to their customers. It makes sense commercially, operationally and environmentally.”
Just over a year ago, UM Terminals launched a strategic growth plan, consisting of three core pillars.
The first concerns maximising its existing UK capability both in terms of current assets and, where appropriate, expanding existing terminals.
The second pillar involves optimising the assets of the wider UM Group and its network of facilities in Europe and other parts of the world storing molasses but which could be used to store other products.
The third pillar concerns looking for appropriate acquisition targets that would complement the current UM Terminals offer.
Bryan said: “We are already seeing the results of the growth plan we put in place, but the plan is ultimately driven by the way we approach new and existing customer relationships.
“We don’t just talk about being agile and innovative – it is part of the UM Terminals DNA.
“This extends to investing to meet customer needs if the business case justifies it. This could be part of the continual investment to ensure our existing facilities are best-in-class or investing to meet a new storage requirement. Ultimately, we are investing in long-term customer relationships.”
A recent example of responding directly to a customer’s request was UM Terminals becoming Halal and Kosher certified at its Regent Road terminal in Liverpool.
Led by Jo Winning, UM Terminals’ Quality Planning & Performance Manager, the company has also successfully completed the accreditation process for FSSC 22000, the certification scheme for Food Safety Management Systems, for Regent Road and its Gladstone Dock sites.
Ensuring the best possible customer service was also integral to the development of the Client Central Services team, providing customers with a wealth of important information including real-time data to make critical business decisions.
Based out of Regent Road and headed by Client Central Services Manager Lynn McCoy, the service integrates all weighbridge and administration from across UM’s 8 terminals.
A dedicated portal gives clients instant access to essential weighbridge documentation and current stock levels for each tank. They also have a secure log-in and can access their data 24/7, 365 days a year via a desktop, tablet or mobile device.
UM Terminals is part of the United Molasses Group, led by CEO Ben Macer, whose history dates back almost 100 years.
UM’s founder, Michael Kroyer-Keilberg, was involved in bulk liquid storage even earlier than this – he constructed his first tank for the storage of bulk molasses in 1911 at Victoria Dock in Hull.
The Group’s other services include the international trading of molasses, the sales and distribution of molasses and the procurement and marketing of vegetable oils for use in the animal feed industry.
You can read this article in the Winter edition of the TSA’s Insight magazine - https://www.paperturn-view.com/tsa-insight-magazine/tsa-insight-magazine-issue-8?pid=MTM138768&p=19&v=3.2