The controversial ATPC refinery in the south of the port of Antwerp is closing its doors. That was announced on Thursday. More than a quarter of the staff is at risk of being fired. “But we don’t agree. There are still many open questions’, says ABVV secretary Levi Sollie.
Antwerp Terminal & Processing Company (ATPC) provides storage activities as well as refining activities on the Beliweg, between the Vierde and Fifth Havendok in the south of the port. The latter activity has now been stopped, Gazet van Antwerpen learned, and the news is confirmed by a trade union.
“Yesterday we received the announcement at a special works council that the company intends to cut 30 jobs by shutting down the refinery,” said Sollie. ‘It would be 18 operational people and 12 staff members. We do not agree at all. There are still many questions.’
Import and storage
“They say the deal with parent company VITTOL, one of the largest oil traders in the world, is ending and they are not finding any other clients. They want to stop the refinery and also convert the organization into an import terminal for bitumen, because that product will continue to be needed.’
ATPC actually only had 1 customer, who refined crude oil into bitumen, a product that is used, among other things, to build roads. At the same time, the company has come under the attention of governments several times in recent years because of odor nuisance and oil pollution. The company was already under stricter inspection supervision and it was also imposed an action plan from the Flemish Environment Department.
‘There are difficulties at the company’, Sollie also admits. ‘There has been an element of odor nuisance, but that is also related to the crude oil supplied by the parent company, which put the installation to the test. If you supply more selectively, it is easier to refine.’ An insider from the company already speaks of ‘shitty crude’.
‘The fact that VITTOL is now dropping out as a customer is actually caused by them. People now say that no other customer has been found, but the will to search must of course be there. We believe that there are still possibilities,” Sollie told news agency Belga.
It also reports that 18 jobs in the production unit and 12 in support services are at risk. ABVV says it is not yet resigned to the intention of collective dismissal. The union wants to enter into talks within the framework of the Renault law, according to Belga.
The company could not be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon.