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On the road to success

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TALKE’s managing director Christoph Grunert speaks to Tank Cleaning Magazine about developments within the company and the challenges it has faced over the past 15 months.
Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company?
My name is Christoph Grunert and as a member of the management board, I am responsible for the European logistics activities and international project business at TALKE.
The TALKE Group is one of the leading supply chain partners for the chemical and petrochemical industries.
Core competencies include transportation, storage, and handling of both dangerous and non-dangerous materials in all physical forms. We also specialise in consultancy services such as design, engineering and implementation of logistical structures, buildings, processes, and systems.
Can you offer a brief overview of the liquid bulk transport sector within TALKE?
The safe and reliable transportation of liquid chemicals of all common hazardous goods classes has been part of TALKE’s core competency for decades.
We have the experience, the (specialised) equipment and the qualified staff to do the job right. Leading global companies in the chemical and petrochemical industries have entrusted TALKE with their sensitive goods for decades, in some cases.
This is because we always provide them with the right transport solution for their liquid products. In the liquid bulk business units, we have a well-sized, state-of-the-art fleet of bulk trailers and containers which can be used to reliably transport nonhazardous and hazardous liquids to their destination. With more than 1,200 tankers and tank containers at our disposal, we always tailor our services to the product concerned to ensure maximum safety and security, with single- and multi-chamber containers with stainless and rubber-lined specifications available as required.
Can you outline some of your tank cleaning processes?
TALKE offers a professional cleaning service for all the products and vehicles that it handles day to day – from intermediate bulk containers (IBC) to road tankers, and from non-hazardous to hazardous materials – complete with a waste disposal service.
The cleaning of liquid and silo trailers and containers is instrumental in assuring supply chain efficiency.
Vehicles that are cleaned promptly can be used more efficiently in precisely timed transport chains. Even more important is that the purity of shipped products can only be guaranteed if vehicles and equipment are cleaned according to professional standards. The right balance between temperature, pressure and chemical substances is the simple secret to an efficient cleaning process.
Over the years, TALKE has gained extensive know-how in balancing this triangle to ensure high quality cleaning, fast through-put of vehicles, and moderate use of resources. Consequently, you’ll find qualified specialists with extensive technical and safety equipment on hand at TALKE’s cleaning stations in Huerth, near Cologne, and Stade, near Hamburg in Germany as well as in Zaragoza in Spain and in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
We clean the tankers, silo trucks, containers and IBCs used to carry products transported by our company and third parties such as shippers, traders, freight forwarders and transport operators.
How does your company stand out from its competitors?
The fact that the TALKE Group can cover a very wide range of services along the supply chain for its customers producing or trading gas, liquids and dry chemicals is a unique selling point for the company.
Our services start with the consulting, planning and construction of logistics facilities, through to their operation onand off-site at chemical plants, combined with suitable transport solutions. In addition, it is our special expertise and many years of experience in handling hazardous substances that our customers particularly appreciate.
Finally, we offer tank cleaning services and associated activities such as heating, repair and inspection of bulk carrying equipment.
Digitalisation is a key component of the tank cleaning and transport sector. Are there any new digital projects or technologies in the pipeline?
We are continuously working on digital projects to expand services for our customers and transparency along the value chain. In this way, we create the basis for seamless integration into our customers’ processes.
This brings us even closer to them, creating deeper connections and genuine partnerships. Truck driver registration processes and the use of digital checklists are currently implemented in our cleaning stations. Upgrading the control of cleaning and water treatment process systems to monitor and steer the activities to improve quality and save energy and detergents is an ongoing topic under the ‘digitisation’ header, too.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the transport and logistics industry. What sustainability practices does TALKE employ? Sustainability plays a special role in all our business activities.
We regularly conduct audits to rigorously scrutinise our energy consumption and continuously improve our efficiency - going beyond regulatory requirements. This regularly results in innovative measures, for example, the introduction of alternative power systems, solar power on our hall roofs and a combined heat and power plant. Another measure for climate protection and resource efficiency is the establishment of our own energy monitoring and management system.
This enables us to identify consumption peaks at any time and take countermeasures. Our goal is to consume as little energy as possible in the future and to continuously improve our energy balance.
What are the biggest challenges facing tank cleaning facilities and your sector in general? Are there any new developments or investments in the pipeline? One of the biggest challenges for us, as for most companies, was the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting effects. Global supply chains were completely turned upside down.
The challenge now is to prepare for things returning to normal and take forward the lessons learned from the past year. To do this, we have decided to further invest in people and systems, scrutinise our processes again and radically optimise them to further accelerate the business.
Do you have any plans to expand in the near future?
TALKE has always been a pioneer in its industry, and of course, we are planning to grow again in the future. Specifically, we are currently planning to expand into the Russian and South East Asian markets, which we will explain in more detail soon.
For more information: Visit: talke.com