The strongest link in your supply chain
Business View Magazine interviews Frank Marrocco, CCO of BW Terminals, as part of our focus on best business practices in the liquid storage industry.
True to their core belief that environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business practices are compatible with profit-making, BW Terminals has made operating safely and bringing the highest level of stewardship to its customers’ products the mainsprings of its business philosophy. It’s a strategy that’s paid off for them in a big way, and with their current expansion project at their terminal site in Harvey, LA, the company has really firmed up its position as a major player in the area of bulk liquid storage solutions for a wide range of petroleum, chemical, and agricultural products.
“We began the company back in December 2008, as Blackwater Midstream Corp. and our first acquisition was our Westwego facility,” says Frank Marrocco, Chief Commercial Officer for BW Terminals. “Since our inception, we have always strived to stay true to our initial mission to be an industry leader in providing safe, effective, and innovative bulk liquid storage solutions while achieving the highest level of stewardship for our customers, employees, communities, and stakeholders. Our successes are grounded and driven by our belief in our core values of Safety, Customer Service, Integrity, Environmental Stewardship, and Social Responsibility.
“Immediately upon acquiring the site, we began systematically upgrading the facility. Our initial focus was to add marine access to support our growth objectives for the terminal. In 2010, we signed a long-term contract with a new customer that led to our first tank expansion project along with the addition of a new ship berth with 55’ of draft. In July 2010, we expanded our reach with the acquisition of a second facility in Brunswick, Georgia that provided us with further opportunity to offer our services to a broader customer base.”
But today it’s the Harvey site, containing 60 acres of land along with 1,500 feet of waterfront along the Mississippi River on mile marker 98, that’s become the company’s major growth engine. “We’re very proud of the success that we have had in developing our Harvey site,” shares Marrocco. “We purchased it as a relatively blank piece of property in 2013, and a few short years later, the facility will have two million barrels of storage capacity in 2020.”
Upon purchasing the property, BW Terminals hit the ground running; they immediately began working with local and state officials to get their operating and air permits. “When we received approval to develop the site, we developed a five-year construction plan for roughly half the 60-acre site,” says Marrocco. “We began that expansion process at the end of 2014, and within two years we had completed that five-year plan. We grew much faster than we’d anticipated.”
Marrocco attributes this outperformance to building upon long-term customer relationships and adding new cornerstone customers. “We built the systems specific to our customers’ requirements,” he notes. “We brought on a handful of clients and were able to offer our outstanding customer service to meet their exact supply chain needs. That’s what really drove the growth here at Harvey.”
The whole of BW Terminals is more than the sum of its parts because they’re able to offer a hands-on approach. “What it comes down to is our responsiveness,” Marrocco asserts. “I have been on both the customer and supplier side of our industry, and in both large and small terminal companies, and the common denominator to success throughout is responsiveness. When a new customer opportunity is identified, we assemble our management team, review the customer’s requirements, lay out the scope, develop the budget, put together the commercial options, and get back to the customer within a matter of days. That’s unheard of in our industry, and that’s what we find separates us from other terminal companies.”
That level of agility and responsiveness is something that the entire executive management team prides itself on. “We strive to make our customers’ access to us as seamless and as unfettered as possible,” says Marrocco. “That’s what we prove to our customers time and time again. The secret to maintaining a lasting, loyal position with customers is finding your link in their supply chain, holding that link up, and making it as strong as possible. That’s what we strive to be. If we can do that, we’ve already formed long-term relationships.”
With the market’s fluctuations in response to operational costs, global freight rates, and shipping economics, BW Terminals makes every effort to be one step ahead for its customers so that when the markets do change, they’ll have the ability to change with them. “Effective January 1, 2020, there are regulations from the International Maritime Organization that will require all marine vessels calling on U.S. ports to use very low sulfur marine fuel,” Marrocco reveals. “The petroleum markets are currently adapting to this new supply dynamic, and there are a lot of moving parts to meeting the low sulfur spec. Our current 800,000-barrel expansion at our Harvey facility is in response to that regulation change.”
With these assets all being new, Marrocco says they’re not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. “This 800,000-barrel project, for instance, was designed with the customer’s very specific needs in mind,” he says. “We tailored everything—product blending, product segregation, all the things that were important to our customer. Behind that expansion project, which should be completed in early 2020, we have a few hundred-thousand barrels of additional capacity that can be built that we’re working on developing. Within the next year or so, Harvey will reach its full potential of approximately 2.5 million barrels of capacity.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: BW Terminals
WHAT: A developer and operator of liquid terminal storage facilities.
WHERE: Westwego, Louisiana
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