As a recipient of the prestigious Safety Excellence Award from the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA) in both 2007 and 2008, it goes without saying that safety is a front-of-mind concern for the Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group, Inc., headquartered in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Stolt-Nielsen operates eight terminals worldwide, with United States operations in the New Orleans, LA area and Houston, TX, and international sites in Brazil, Malaysia, South Korea, Belgium and China.
As General Manager of Stolt-Nielsen’s Stolthaven New Orleans Terminal in Braithwaite, LA, Dan Cousins has put safety at the forefront.
“We are very proud of the two Safety Excellence Awards we have received from the ILTA,” said Cousins. “They provide tangible proof to both our employees and our customers that safety at all of our facilities is an important concern, and will continue to be so in the future.”
The Stolthaven New Orleans terminal opened in 2001 on an 118-acre plot of land on the banks of the Mississippi River. Since then, it has grown to currently consist of 1.94 million barrels (about 82 million gallons) of storage capacity with seven truck-loading bays, two river docks for barges and ships and 230 railcar loading/unloading positions. On a typical day, products as varied as vegetable and corn oils, base lubricating oil, glycol, glycerin, pesticides, herbicides and other specialty chemicals may move through the facility, which is in operation around the clock. Needless to say, ensuring the safety of terminal employees and visitors is an ongoing, critical task.
So, when terminal management determined two years ago that the fall-protection and gangway equipment used in the truck-loading area would need to be upgraded, Cousins was tasked with finding the best equipment for the job, equipment that could supply the safety that Stolt-Nielsen demands, at a price that made sense. His search led him to SafeRack LLC, the leading provider of stronger, safer and easier-to-handle truck loading-rack and fall-protection equipment.
“It was time to upgrade to a better system and SafeRack’s reputation in the industry is what really sold us,” said Cousins, who has been Stolthaven New Orleans’ GM for nearly five years, with a total of more than 20 years of experience in terminal operations. “We looked at different models and theirs was the best one at the best price. We liked the ease of operation and thought it offered a superior system to the others. It was competitively priced and we thought it was the best design on the market.”
At that time, Stolthaven New Orleans purchased a pair of MAU-I mobile truck-loading systems. These portable units are made of durable aluminum and roll into place next to a truck that is being loaded. The technician then climbs a ladder to the top of the unit, which is lowered over the truck’s access hatch. A safety cage built onto the top of the ladder provides protection from slip-and-fall incidents. When the truck is loaded, the unit is rolled away before the next truck enters the filling station.
Earlier this year, Cousins also had a fixed-position G4 Series Flat Ramp Telescopic (FRT) Gangway installed in the truck-loading area. SafeRack’s G4 Series Gangways are constructed using metal-stamping technology and a tool-and-die process to cut out pieces of aluminum, which are then bent into the required shape, eliminating the need for as many welds and creating a stronger, more durable gangway. Other features of the G4 equipment include spring-loaded gangway and platform operation, slip-resistant tread on the stairs, powder-coated handrails and mid-rails, heavy-duty bumpers and four-rail design for maximum fall protection.
Cousins is so pleased with the performance of the G4 Gangway that plans are in the works to install a second fixed-position unit before the year is out.
“The SafeRack products are so easy to use that they require no real training. We love them. SafeRack gives us great service, it’s a great company and they really are dedicated to the safety of the industry,” said Cousins.