INEOS and Imperial Logistics to build the largest butane barges ever used in Europe

11.12.2017 – Duisburg. INEOS has today confirmed it has signed a contract to partner with Imperial Logistics to design and build the largest butane river barges ever used in Europe. These barges will link the world’s largest butane tank being constructed at the Oiltanking Antwerp Gas Terminal (OTAGT) in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, with the INEOS site in Köln to enable one of the largest crackers in Europe to be supplied with large volumes of butane as well as naphtha as a source of feedstock.

Hugh Carmichael, Director INEOS Trading & Shipping, says: “This agreement represents a further step in a strategic investment in the future of our naphtha crackers in Köln. The new butane tank in Antwerp and the Imperial butane river barges will provide INEOS with increased flexibility and security of supply that will significantly improve our competitiveness in Europe. It also positions INEOS as a major player in global LPG markets. We are pleased to work together with Imperial Logistics as a major barge operator in this unique project. Our joint expertise and experience will help make this a successful project.”

Steffen Bauer, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Imperial’s Business Unit Shipping  says:  “We are very delighted to be awarded as project partner from INEOS.” He adds: “To design and build the largest butane river barges ever used in Europe, is an extraordinary challenge.”

INEOS continues to invest in supply chain flexibility of its European facilities. Today’s announcement builds on its commitment to invest more than 1 billion USD into the supply of ethane from the USA, securing the competitiveness of its gas crackers in Europe, located at Grangemouth, UK, and Rafnes, Norway.

These new state of the art barges will move about 3,000 tons butane each, which is about three times as much as the current barges move on the Rhine system. The shipyards to build these new barges will be selected in the near future and the barges will be operational in 2019.


INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products. It comprises 25 businesses each with a major chemical company heritage. Its production network spans 105 manufacturing facilities in 22 countries throughout the world, employing 18,500 people. INEOS products make a significant contribution to saving life, improving health and enhancing standards of living for people around the world. Its businesses produce the raw materials that are essential in the manufacture of a wide variety of goods: from paints to plastics, textiles to technology, medicines to mobile phones – chemicals  manufactured by INEOS enhance almost every aspect of modern life. 

Imperial Logistics International 

As a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African company Imperial Holdings Limited, Imperial Logistics International is responsible for coordinating and managing all the international logistics business of Imperial Holdings Limited outside Africa. The varied portfolio of services at Imperial Logistics International, which has its headquarters in Duisburg, is separated into two divisions: the Group pools all its transport services in the Shipping, Road and Express Freight business units in the Imperial Transport Solutions division. The Imperial Supply Chain Solutions division covers all the services in the contract logistics, contract manufacturing and warehousing sectors for the Automotive, Industrial, Retail & Consumer Goods and Chemicals business units. Working together, both divisions provide a full and transparent range of services from one source along the complete supply chain. Beyond its pure logistics services, Imperial Logistics International has also become established as a process consultant for third parties, a fleet manager for outside car fleets and a provider of insurance services related to particular sectors. Imperial Logistics International employs more than 9,300 people and, including the new acquisition, Palletways, generates turnover amounting to EUR 1.6 billion at 170 business locations. 

Press contact details:
Richard Longden (INEOS)
Phone: +41 21 627 7063 or +41 7996 26123

Claus Grimm  (Imperial Logistics)
Phone: +49 203 3188-7551

Andrew McLachlan (Media Zoo)
Phone: +44 20 7384 6980 or +44 7931 377162

Joseph Wade (Media Zoo)
Phone: +44 20 7284 6980 or +44 7758 074576

INEOS refinery in Cologne

The INEOS cracker in Cologne will be supplied with butane transported by Imperial river barges. Foto: INEOS

INEOS refinery in Cologne
Back to overview

Get in Contact

Senior Specialist
Press & External Communication
Phone: +49 203 3188-7551
Fax: +49 203 3188-7562