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Soliflo: Taking Charge In Africa, One Terminal At A Time

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Picture of Anamika Talwaria

Anamika Talwaria

Editor & Head of Content for Tank Storage Magazine & StocExpo and Chair of Women in Tanks.

The experts at Soliflo explain how its evolving liquid control products have transformed terminals across Africa


Soliflo has been working closely with terminals and depots within the sub-Saharan region for more than 20 years, its original focus the supply of loading arms and safe tanker access systems. Fast forward to the present and the company is now providing fully integrated systems to encompass flow metering, additive and blending solutions together with vapour recovery and destruction solutions and actively assisting oil companies and operators in this region to bring their tank and terminal storage facilities up to international standards. ‘Great strides are also being made in automated terminal management and in-transit monitoring and tracking of product. In fact, we recently completed the first of many terminal automation and additive systems for a major European company operating in East Africa,’ says Soliflo director, Phil Dawson.

‘Over the years we have seen oil majors leave the continent and refining capacity dwindle, and this presents significant opportunity for the tank storage sector, which is growing and will continue to grow rapidly, to satisfy demand for product,’ adds Dawson. ‘The challenges we are facing relate in the main to poor infrastructure and lack of investment with most terminals outdated and still adopting top loading of product for example. We are, however, gratified to see a decided leaning towards transformation and improvement.’


South Africa In Perspective

Soliflo has put significant effort into building collaborative working relationships with all the major players in the SA oil industry, all of which are operating substantial storage terminals with vast capacities, as well as distribution facilities, countrywide. These include, but are not limited to, BP Southern Africa, Astron Energy, Engen Petroleum, PetroSA, Sasol Oil, Shell South Africa, TotalEnergies South Africa, Vopak, Bidvest Tank Terminals and Oiltanking. They are being provided with holistic solutions that not only get the job done, but also address environmental and sustainability concerns that challenge the industry.

South Africa’s National Key Points Act, together with the obligatory client non-disclosure agreements the company is required to sign, precludes Soliflo from providing specifics on any projects undertaken on their behalf. The most recently available statistics outlined in the accompanying diagram indicate that ‘petroleum and other liquids’ accounted for 21% of primary energy consumption in SA. According to Statista, a global data and business intelligence platform, as of 2021, the total primary energy consumption in South Africa amounted to roughly 5.42 quadrillion British thermal units.


Service & Support

Soliflo’s locally and internationally (factory) trained technical service team members have years of experience in the fuel, chemical, loading and unloading and related sectors and cover the Southern African Development Community, East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa regions. ‘It’s a feather in our cap that they are in demand by several of our international principals to undertake global project management work on their behalf; in particular, the assembly, installation and commissioning of marine loading arms,’ says Dawson.

Soliflo ranks as one of the leaders in the fields of liquid control and tank loading and unloading in Africa. Formed in 1984, and under its current ownership and management since 2004, 2024 is a landmark year for the South African company. Over the years, Soliflo’s product offering has evolved, but loading arms have been a cornerstone of Soliflo’s product offering since inception and continue to be an area of specialist expertise 40 years on. ‘We are providing environmentally friendly systems and holistic solutions for the petroleum, oil, chemical and energy industries,’ says Dawson. ‘With our service teams working at full capacity, locally and internationally, and the recent awarding of a substantial petroleum industry tender, we are extremely upbeat about the year ahead.’

The company has its head office in Johannesburg with a satellite operation, Soliflo International, in Nairobi, Kenya. Both are strategically located business expansion points into the African continent. The two operations are ISO 9001:2015 and ISO/TS 29001:2020 Quality Management System certified.


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