FFS Refiners partners with Rubis Asphalt to ensure security of bitumen supply

Bitumen – commonly used in road construction and maintenance –  is now more widely available to the Western Cape market after a landmark partnership agreement between FFS Refiners and Rubis Asphalt South Africa. 

The agreement has already seen the arrival of the first bulk bitumen import into land-based tanks. The first shipment arrived on 3 March, at the Cape Town Harbour, and was met with a welcome celebration.

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Prior to FFS Refiners setting up land-based tanks for direct offload, bitumen was offloaded from the shipping vessel via a mobile gantry into a truck tanker or bitutainer. Now, FFS Refiners provides Rubis with reliable and safe bitumen storage and handling under a 12-month agreement, which includes the rental of 4700m3 of tank storage at FFS Refiners’ facility in the Port of Cape Town.

“We believe this is the start of a great partnership, which we hope will last for years to come. This discharge marks the first time that we’re discharging directly into these tanks from the vessel Viveka from the Eastern Mole quayside,” says Wilhelm Wasserman, FFS Business Division – Marine. “With current shifts in the petrochemicals landscape in South Africa, we are ready to rise to any occasion.”

FFS Refiners specialises in various hydrocarbon solutions, operating in the fields of industrial energy; base oils; marine fuels; waste recovery; coal-derived products; and tank terminals such as those rented by Rubis Asphalt South Africa.

Mark Simonsen, Commercial Manager at Rubis Asphalt, is delighted to ensure security of supply of bitumen in South Africa. “South Africa has a world-class national road network, and our product helps ensure this infrastructure can be extended and maintained.” Further, Simonsen comments that Rubis is importing with ‘peace of mind’ knowing that FFS is handling the viscous material in a way which is safe, economical and compliant with the relevant regulations. 

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Wasserman adds: “Offloading bitumen is no simple task. Before you can even think about discharging the fluid, standard operating procedures must be followed. Pipelines must be heated, and pressure tested. Independent surveyors undertake quality assurance on the product, and our team works with the vessel captain to ensure a smooth process. We have dedicated teams to who work together to ensure that health, safety and compliance is top of mind. We are proud to be custodians of this important product for Rubis.”

“This 12-month agreement is a great addition to our marine services division, and we hope to see more opportunities such as this in the future. To this end, we plan to expand to Durban, where work has started on new bulk storage tanks for bulk bitumen imports. With this move, we hope to be in time to support the industry through what is anticipated to be a difficult supply environment,” concludes Wasserman.

While building its marine division, FFS Refiners is known best for their supply of energy solutions. The company’s diverse supply lines coupled with large storage, refining and processing capacity, and multiple supply points, ensure that the company is best placed to maintain supply to customers regardless of supply disruptions such as refinery outages and transport strikes. 

Ongoing investment into FFS Refiners processes and quality control systems ensure that products meet and exceed specifications and industry standards. All FFS Refiners facilities have fully equipped ISO9001 accredited laboratories to monitor and control quality.

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