INEOS: safe hazardous goods transportation with satcom & satnav

The Company

INEOS is a world leading chemical company headquartered in Switzerland founded in 1999. It employs a staff of 17, 000 and produces 60 million tons of products yearly. With a turnover of €50 billion in 2014, the company operates 65 manufacturing facilities in 16 countries, as well as the largest ethylene oxide terminal in Europe and the second-largest in the world. Its diverse portfolio includes textile and packaging companies, as well as fuels and other chemical products.

The opportunity

Ethylene Oxide is used in many agricultural products and as a steriliser for medical equipment and supplies. It is highly flammable, reactive and very toxic, so it is risky to transport. During transport, the units are exposed to shocks and extreme weather conditions, which can lead to accidents with very serioussecurity and health risks.  Despite such risks, whether delivery containers travelled by sea or train, INEOS had little information on their exact location and route.

Traditional track-and-trace systems rely on an external electricity supply to function. When on rail or boats, this is not the case. Rechargeable batteries, as well as GSM technology are inherently incompatible with highly flammable products such as Ethylene Oxide. Finally, real-time monitoring on global transports, including cross-ocean travels, required a complete rethinking of the technologies to use so as guarantee the functioning of the tracking device in those conditions for a minimum of 4 years.

The satellite solution

Recently, Ovinto, a Belgian SME, developed a satcom solution that relies on Globalstar (a commercial satellite network provider). In combination with satnav, it allows for a real-time tracking and monitoring of unpowered assets. INEOS tasked Ovinto to equip its fleet with the monitoring device and to set-up additional services based on the data monitored. The equipment enabled the company to monitor its wagons and containers carrying Ethylene Oxide worldwide. The system provides a continuous stream of data, such as location, temperature, pressure, leakage or shocks in near real-time.

The result

Thanks to the innovative tracking system, INEOS managed to cut maintenance costs, improve delivery times, and optimise the use of its wagons, thus increasing their economic cycle.  Last but not least, INEOS can better achieve its safety, health, and environmental objectives. As the service provides near real-time data, the company is better equipped to act accordingly in case of failures or accidents.

There was at times an insufficient grip on the whereabouts of our INEOS Ethylene Oxide containers. Now, thanks to a satcom based EX-proof system we can not only track our entire fleet remotely, but have also the possibility to retrieve safety critical parameters by using an internet-based software.

Patrick De Block, Business SHE Manager, INEOS Oxide