About tank storage Verbeke – Our History

Five generations of the Verbeke family

A terminal with a history

Tank Opslag Verbeke, as a family-owned company, has been active in the shipping industry for five generations now. Actually, the very history of the Antwerp petrochemical industry started with Verbeke’s tank terminal

Our history

In 1875 the great-great-grandfather Jozef Verbeke started shipping dry cargo in the Ghent area. In those days this was done by means of a tugboat.

Great-grandfather Emile Verbeke followed in his father’s footsteps and bought his own tugboat. Unfortunately he died at a young age in the act of saving a drowning person from the canal. At the time his son Philemon was still a child, but he was old enough to be inspired by his father’s work.

Filemon turned Verbeke into a household name in the shipping industry. In 1969 he built a ship named River, a contraction of the family names Ringoot and Verbeke.

In the seventies Marnix Verbeke, Filemon’s son, joined his father’s company. The family acquired the motor tanker Starblender and concluded a lucrative exclusivity contract with Texaco. It marked the start of Verbeke Bunkering. At the end of the eighties Verbeke ended its contract with Texaco and started purchasing its own products on the market. Verbeke became the number one supplier of fuel to large vessels by way of inland navigation vessels. And in 2008, with a turnover of 1.2 billion Euros, the family-owned company had grown out of proportion.

One year later Verbeke Bunkering was taken over by The Greek bunkering multinational Aegean Marine. But the Verbeke family are entrepreneurs by nature: in 2007 already Marnix Verbeke had founded Tank Opslag Verbeke in association with partners Transcor and Astragroup. In April 2010 the Verbeke family obtained all of the company’s shares. Today Ryan Verbeke is head of the tank terminal.

Tank Opslag Verbeke’s tank terminal is the country’s second oldest tank terminal and therefore one of the pioneers of the petroleum refining industry in the port of Antwerp. Its story commenced in 1929 when Antwerp Oil Wharves purchased an old brickyard on the present location. The factory’s old chimney is still to be seen on the site today. Because the infrastructure of the Antwerp inland port was still very limited in those days, very soon the old brickyard turned out to be the perfect location. In 1932, quickly after the building of a shipping jetty the terminal welcomed its first sea-going vessel.

The memorial stone for this historical occasion still adorns the wall of the office building.
In 1936 a fire broke out on the site that reduced to ashes a large part of the terminal

In 1940 the German invaders confiscated the tank terminal.

After the war the tank terminal was rebuilt. The floating shipping jetty was replaced by a concrete version which also had a loading platform.

In 1970 the terminal is acquired by the international logistic group Panocean. Ten years later the terminal operator Vopak (the then Pakhoed) took over the site
In 2008 the Verbeke family, in association with Transcor and Astragroup, bought the shares from Vopak. Upon the sale of Verbeke Bunkering nv the family decided to buy the remaining 2/3d shares of the ASTRA GROUP.
Since Verbeke has gained full control over the firm in 2010 they have transformed this multinational into a family-owned company.

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