IKO Blue Gate
Blue Gate Antwerp offers IKO a sustainable future
IKO is a pioneering producer of roofing, insulation and waterproofing solutions. Their Antwerp branch has been one of the most important production sites of the worldwide IKO group for many years. Their foothold in Antwerp will only get stronger in the coming years. As such, IKO Antwerp will definitely remain active in the Blue Gate Antwerp business park until 2070. In fact, as part of the first eco-effective, water-based business park in Belgium, IKO Antwerp is committed to sustainability and innovation with a clear long-term vision. IKO is ready for the future, anchored in its home port of Antwerp.
IKO and Blue Gate Antwerp: strong together in future-oriented business
The extended concession until at least 2070 gives a new boost to IKO Antwerp. CEO Dirk Theuns is an extremely happy man. “Not only does this agreement provides important business and job security at the Antwerp site for more than 200 employees of IKO nv and IKO Europe nv, it is also a great incentive for our shareholders to continue investing in this site. Thanks to this project, we have been able to win several attractive nice investment projects, including the complete renovation of one of our roofing membranes. As such, we want to leave an even bigger mark as “Lead Plant” within the IKO Group,” admits Dirk Theuns.
Mayor Bart De Wever is pleased that IKO is strengthening its historical ties with Antwerp. “IKO remains active at the new Blue Gate Antwerp business park. This eco-effective business park is only accessible to innovative companies with a clear ambition in terms of circularity and sustainability”, confirms Mayor Bart De Wever.
IKO and Blue Gate Antwerp: A perfect match
The fact that IKO has acquired a prominent place at Blue Gate Antwerp is due to various remarkable achievements. For example, IKO has set up its European headquarters, knowledge and competence centre in Antwerp. The site has become the hub for central IT, ERP, accounting and marketing. The European R&D laboratory is also based here. The highly educated workforce in Flanders, combined with broad language proficiency, are undoubtedly the most important trumps.
Moreover, the expansion of IKO fits fully within the ambitions of Blue Gate Antwerp. “Blue Gate Antwerp is the very first sustainable, eco-effective and water-based business park in Belgium”, explains Caroline Bastiaens, chairwoman and alderwoman for the economy. “The combination of research, training and an expertise centre with a leading production line is a fine example of an innovative company that consciously chooses for the unique qualities of the site and can benefit from the available infrastructure and facilities”.
IKO focuses on innovation with sustainable and ecological products. For example, IKO developed the white reflective bitumen roof roller “IKO Carrara”, which purifies the air through special technology and ensures a proven reduction of CO2. A good example is the Antwerp Sportpaleis which has an IKO roof with colourful plastic roofing and integrated solar cells.
IKO is involved in various initiatives in the circular economy. “For some years now, we have been recycling all the offcuts and production waste from our bitumen roofing rolls, grinding, homogenising and reusing it in our products,” continues Dirk Theuns.
A revamped production and logistics site
IKO is currently rolling out a comprehensive revamp of the production site. For example, the production hall and warehouse facilities will be significantly expanded, the existing buildings will be completely renovated and the entrance to the site will be relocated. The logistics zone will be extended and completely rebuilt. Everything will be ready around spring 2019. The collaboration with Blue Gate Antwerp also provides expansion opportunities for the IKO site, which is crucial for a company with strong growth plans.
There will also be a brand new training centre for the Benelux. Dirk Theuns: ”Training professionals is part of our core business. Just as we find it crucial to continuously invest in our own employees, it is at least as important to bring and maintain the technical skills of our customers/professionals at a high level. The reputation of our industry depends on it.”
And last but not least, IKO’s foothold in Antwerp as a knowledge and competence centre within the IKO Group in Europe. Dirk Theuns continues: “Brains are the most important raw material in Flanders. This brainpower will be capitalised on here to make IKO Antwerp a key location for the global group”.
Optimising the Scheldt
The IKO bitumen terminal is located on the banks of the Scheldt. Bitumen is supplied by ship. Partly by inland navigation, partly by smaller sea-going vessels. “That way, we eliminate more than a few thousand road transport journeys every year. We are also looking into the possibilities of transporting our outbound goods partly by waterway,” reveals Dirk Theuns.
Established in Antwerp since 1911
The company has a long tradition in the city on the Scheldt. As far back as 107 years ago, in 1911, the “Antwerpsch Asphaltbedrijf”, the forerunner of ATAB (the Antwerp Tar and Asphalt company), and since 2016 called IKO nv, was one of the first companies in Belgium to produce bitumen-based roof and waterproofing products. At the start of the last century Antwerp had become a hub for the Western European oil trade and refining, and this was largely based at on this industrial site at Petroleum Zuid. As a derivative of petroleum refining, bitumen became increasingly available for applications in the construction industry.
And now, more than a century later, the company is in fact still in the same business, namely manufacturing roofing, waterproofing and insulation products. Nonetheless, in recent decades, techniques and technologies have evolved considerably. But one thing is obvious: bitumen is a primal product, which is unbeatable for waterproofing roofs and buildings in terms of quality, performance and proven working life.
The production site, located on the d’Herbouvillekaai, now covers more than eight hectares, is running at full capacity and produces more than the equivalent of 2500 football pitches of high quality bitumen roofing each year. Exports are crucial. From the port of Antwerp, we export to more than 60 countries worldwide.
The IKO Group
IKO stands for “Isidore Koschitzky”, the founder of the company. IKO was founded as a company in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in 1951. It is still a family business, and the owners of the second, third and now fourth generation are still intensively involved in managing the business.
The production of bitumen shingles has been the core business in Canada since inception, and still accounts for the largest share of sales worldwide. The IKO group has a long-term industrial vision and strategy, and understands the importance of investment.
IKO has since become a world leader in the production and sale of shingles, bitumen and plastic roofing membranes, liquid waterproofing, and since the last decade also in high quality polyurethane insulation (PIR). In the space of ten years, IKO has built no less than 3 state-of-the art factories in Europe for this type of insulation. IKO manufactures at over 30 production sites in Canada, the United States and Europe, employing more than 4,000 people worldwide. In Europe, IKO has more than 10 production sites with over 1500 employees.
Isidore Koschitzky came to Antwerp in 1972. He built a factory in Tessenderlo, but lived and worked primarily in Antwerp. That’s how IKO started its European development, with the city on the Scheldt as its base for operations. In 2000, IKO took over the listed Ruberoid Group. The market leaders in the roofing industry, including ATAB in Belgium, became part of the IKO group. As a result, IKO became a top-tier player in the European roofing business.
We have a clear vision: IKO aims to be the preferred partner of building professionals in roofing, waterproofing and insulation, offering sustainable, innovative and high quality branded products.
IKO on ATV
Be sure to have a look at the accompanying report on the website of ATV.