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Belgian firm Ahlers to set up chemical warehouse in Gujarat - 2012-08-27

Belgium-based logistics and maritime service provider Ahlers plans to set up a chemical warehousing facility in Gujarat. The warehouse will handle and store packed chemicals, including hazardous goods, said Pradeep Joseph, Managing Director, Ahlers India.

Chemical storage in India is still at a nascent stage, with factories finding it difficult to transport critical products to their customers/ports without adequate storage facility in the supply chain. There is huge scope for such investment. Foreign players like Rhodea have already entered the chemical storage business in India, Joseph told Business Line. Local players are also active in this trade with their own brand of chemical warehousing, he said.

“The competitiveness of mid-size freight forwarders like Ahlers in the coming years will hinge around niche areas where we can be different from our competitors,” he said. Ahlers has in Ghent (Belgium) a chemical warehouse facility to handle all type of chemicals, including hazardous ones. It also has warehousing facilities in Russia, the Ukraine, China and Indonesia for warehousing goods other than chemicals, such as tobacco, he said. Joseph said the location of the Gujarat facility has yet to be finalised.

However, it could be in the Ankaleshwar-Panoli-Mumbai belt, where major chemical factories are located. The facility will be of around 20,000 sq ft, he said. Ahlers has been present in India since 2004 and has revenue of around Rs 94 crore.

It has 13 branch offices and plans to add two more in Vadodara and Gandhidham. It also plans presence at Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, Joseph said. Ahlers specialises in transport to the CIS, Russia and the Baltics. It is also a leading player in project and break bulk shipments.It carried a sizeable share of cargo for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and is a major transporter for Indian Premier League cricket tournaments. The group ferried the biggest mobile crane in the world called Big Ben, manufactured by Sarens, from Belgium to the US, he said. Ahlers India handled around 20,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2011-12 and about 15,000 tonnes of project cargo, mainly to the Africa region, he said.

Source : Hindu Business Line