Trade mission Logistics and Plastic Resins 

Trade mission Logistics & Plastic Resins

On March 20 and 21 2017, the NBSO welcomed a delegation from the Netherlands. The delegation was formed by representatives from different logistic service providers looking for business opportunities in the expected plastic resin boom in Houston in the near future. Also part of the delegation was our colleague from the Netherlands, the general secretary of the Holland Logistics Network. The mission was focused on logistics and more specifically on the total chain of logistics of plastic resins. A plastic resin is the raw material from which i.e. plastics are made off. Because of all the new construction in the Bay Area Houston -almost $50 billion worth of new projects- Houston is the place to be for service providers in this industry.

The goal of this mission is to give Dutch companies access to market opportunities in the logistics around plastic resins in Houston, Texas. These opportunities arise from the current and future need for companies that have the knowledge and experience in packaging, chemical warehousing and the 3rd party logistics of these plastic resins. By organizing five site visits, a trade dinner and a network event, the NBSO introduced the Dutch delegation to the Houston market.

Day 1

We started the mission with a joint breakfast in Clear Lake, so the participants had the opportunity to introduce themselves and to pitch their expectations of this trip. Our first site visit was hosted at NASA Johnson Space Center Houston by The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership (BAHEP). The BAHEP engages approximately 270 investor companies, business professionals, local governments, and educational institutions to bring about prosperity and a high quality of life in south east Texas. Dan Seal, the Executive Director Special Initiatives at BAHEP gave us a comprehensive insight in the economy and business opportunities in the Greater Houston Area. After this presentation we had the opportunity to visit the famous Space Center and to picture ourselves in outer space. The afternoon was marked by our second site visit to Kaneka North America LLC in Pasadena, TX. Kanaka is a Japanese worldwide $5 billion producer of chemical products including plastic resins, pharmaceutical intermediaries, food supplements, synthetic fibers and fine chemicals. During this visit we had the opportunity to see the production process of the chemical products.

We concluded the first day with a trade dinner on a very special location; the historical Clipper ‘De Stad Amsterdam’ that was docked in Galveston during the week off the trade mission. The clipper has sailed all the way from Amsterdam around the America’s and was the perfect home base of this trade mission. During the trade dinner the Dutch delegation was matched with possible business partners and other valuable connections while enjoying a delicious dinner and a magnificent sunset aboard The Clipper.

Take a look at the photo's of day 1!

Day 2

After spending the night on the Clipper, the second day started with a site visit to Plastic Express in Pasadena, TX. Plastic Express is specialized in warehousing, transporting and trans loading of o.a. plastic resins for big procedures. The warehouse in Pasadena is brand new and especially build for the big plastic resin boom that is expected in the next few years. We are very grateful to Kent Thompson, the Asst. Vice President of the Gulf Coast Operations at Plastic Resins, for his time and information by touring us around the warehouse. It was especially interesting to see this part of the logistical chain, after our visit to a producing company the day before.

The next stop was the Port of Houston, where Will Whitehouse, Sr. Trade Development Manager and Jordan Frisby,Economic Analyst at the Port of Houston Authority welcomed us with lunch and a beautiful view on Downtown Houston from the Port of Houston. Both gentlemen informed us about the Port of Houston and the connections with foreign trade. The Port of Houston is the nation’s largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage and an essential economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas, and the nation.  It supports the creation of nearly 1.175 million jobs in Texas and 2.7 million jobs nationwide, and economic activity totaling almost $265 billion in Texas – 16 percent of Texas’ total gross domestic product – and more than $617 billion in economic impact across the nation. The Netherlands is the fifth leading trading partner on the combined import and export by tonnage and dollar value. The Port of Houston is thus an import hub for logistics from the Netherlands.

On our fifth and last site visit on this trade mission we visited the Manchester Terminals, to get a grasp of the actual handling of freight at the Port of Houston. Manchester Terminals is a 72.5 Acre facility located on the corner of The Houston Ship Channel and Sims Bayou. Manchester Terminal is a private marine terminal that is a United States Coast Guard approved break bulk cargo facility. They offer a unique combination of services that include warehousing, railroad access and Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). We visited the Manchester Terminals on invitation of one of its partners: BBC Chartering, a world leader in ocean carriage of heavy lift and project cargoes. BBC Chartering support leading clients with their fleet of currently 170 multi-purpose and heavy lift vessels. This fifth site visit added to a good overview of the total supply chain of the making, warehousing and handling of freight like plastic resins in Houston.

We concluded our trade mission with a network event on the Clipper ‘De Stad Amsterdam’, in joint organization with the Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce -Texas Chapter. The event was very well attended by familiar and new faces. Very successful connections for the future are made.

Take a look at the photo's of day 2!

We are looking back on two very successful days and are looking forward to see the successful connections in action!

 

Posted by Saskia Pardaans March 27, 2017 Categories: Handelsmissie

Dallas-Fort Worth 

North Texas is like a piece of fine art on a 9,000 square mile canvas.  It’s a collage of more than 150 cities and towns and 12 counties; each with their own unique shape, texture and color. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan region is sculpted by 4 percent employment growth; 3.5 million skilled employees; a diversified corporate portfolio strengthened by the services and manufacturing sectors; 16 major colleges and universities for blended learners; 13 professional sports teams; and 7.1 million optimistic residents.

Indeed, a vibrant picture exists before us, and under the new administration in Washington, it is predicted the growth will only intensify.  North Texas has some of the best and brightest municipal leaders in the country who share common goals to increase economic growth, strengthen the local talent pipeline, and create the best quality of life to attract families and workers from all over the world.  Our cities paint with the same brush made from pro-growth public policies designed for economic prosperity.

The region is not without its challenges.  Continued efforts are being made to manage growth with upgraded infrastructure (read traffic) projects, affordable housing and improved urban education opportunities.  One of the single most important infrastructure projects in the country is the high speed rail project that will connect DFW to Houston by 2022.  This rail project is on President Trump’s list of critical infrastructure projects to complete.

In the next five years, more than 30,000 jobs alone will be filled at the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121 (Plano/Frisco).  Toyota, JPMorgan Chase, Liberty Mutual, the Dallas Cowboys, FedEx, Hilti, Kubota and State Farm are just a few of the companies with recent designs on North Texas.  It’s a great time to bring business of all sizes and sectors to North Texas.  In fact, the picture has never been more clear.

For an overview on the demographics:

 

 

Posted by Mariella Priem March 08, 2017

Renewable energy in Texas: Wind 

If Texas were a country, it would rank 6th place globally for installed wind energy capacity and it does also rank first place for wind-energy related manufacturing. With 16.9 GW of installed wind capacity in 2016, Texas leads the nation. In 2012, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that Texas’s annual technical wind potential accounts for 17% of the entire nation.

Wind turbines convert the wind’s kinetical energy into mechanical power. The generator in the wind turbine converts this power into electricity. The adjacent picture shows high wind speeds above 7 meter per second in North and West Texas. Areas with 6.5 meters per second are considered a resource for wind development. Currently, 74% of the wind resources are located in West Texas. Capacity and availability factors are also relatively high. At windy days, an astonishing 49% of load can be served by wind.

Wind was embedded very early in Texas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard which prescribes renewable energy inclusion in energy producers’ portfolios. Long term contracting in Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs) and extended subsidies ensure that growth of renewables such as wind energy continues. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC) were very important subsidies for this development and extended to 2019. ERCOT, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, is the responsible party for energy generation, transmission and frequency regulation on the independent energy market of Texas. Already many project developers have signed Interconnection Agreements with ERCOT, so entering the market requires fast action. There is a 78% increase in new wind projects expected by 2019. Further, large corporates like Amazon, Google, Unilever, Adidas or Lockheed Martin are engaging in PPAs to fulfill their sustainability goals and reduce their carbon footprint. With the abundance of private land in West Texas, it is quite attractive to invest in wind power. Landowners leasing the land to wind developers gain. Cheap land limits offshore wind productions, although there is potential on shore, at the Gulf Coast. There are no fuel costs or variable costs in general for wind power and compared to conventional power plants, capital costs are lower, too. With the newly constructed transmission lines in Texas, there is less congestion to transfer power from remote locations to cities.  

Since wind does not always blow, intermittent wind energy supply represents a problem. But also here, there is market potential in ERCOT’s ancillary service market, a market to back up energy supply and ensure reliability. These resources are found in developing innovative energy storage systems, such as compressed air energy storage. The company Apex CAES is currently developing such a storage system and is looking for investors. Investors can also be wind developers seeking to secure their energy.

Moreover, Texas ranks first place nationally in wind industry employment, covering jobs along the entire supply chain. Texas itself is a leader in steel fabrication and transportation for wind energy. Advanced materials such as carbon fiber are exported from Texas to the world market. Business opportunities are also found in the market for financial hedging and banks. Research entities such as the West Texas A&M University Alternative Energy Institute, the National Institute for Renewable Energy or the Texas Tech’s National Wind Institute allow for knowledge expansion. To sum up, in the coming years, wind is still expected to dominate the renewable energy market in Texas.

Posted by Mariella Priem March 08, 2017