With Amsterdam being the biggest cocoa port in the world and Africa being the largest world producer of cocoa, transporting cocoa and cocoa products is a daily routine for Van den Bosch.
The Netherlands is one of the largest cocoa processing countries worldwide. While Rotterdam is still at the top of the list of largest ports of Europe, Amsterdam is the largest cocoa port in the world. 650,000 Tonnes of cocoa beans are transhipped annually in the Port of Amsterdam. A large part of that is also processed in and around Amsterdam. This means processing from the dark brown beans to cocoa semi-finished products such as cocoa powder, cocoa butter and cocoa mass.
A new trend is that the processing of cocoa is taking place in the countries of origin more and more often, so that the cocoa producers can have more control. While the Netherlands is still a large player in the processing of cocoa, production takes place around the equator. Four out of five largest cocoa producing countries are in Sub Saharan Africa. Over sixty per cent of the four million tonnes of cocoa beans come from Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The cocoa butter, which is produced in Africa, mostly comes to Europe from West Africa in blocks, packed in box containers. These blocks are unpacked in Europe and liquefied in melting ovens before being processed further into semi-finished product. Van den Bosch sees a lot of potential in converting the transport of these blocks to bulk transport. Kept warm during transhipment in West Africa, cocoa butter can then be transported to Europe in a tank container by ship. Upon arrival, the cocoa butter is heated (via the heating system of the container) with water to the right unloading temperature and unloaded into the storage tanks of the receiver without any manual labour.
With the start of a tank cleaning station in the port of Tema, Van den Bosch further meets the demand of the cocao processing industry in Ghana. Thanks to the cleaning station, outgoing cocoa butter flows can be linked more easily to incoming bulk flows, which leads to a further decrease of the logistic costs.
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