Mourik International BV

A clean sweep

Mourik is a family-run group of companies with activities ranging throughout a number of industrial and engineering sectors.

First established during the 1920s in the Netherlands as an electrical cable laying business, it has expanded hugely over the last 80 years and now claims nearly 2000 employees across 12 countries.

Mourik International, a Rotterdam-based subsidiary, is a company specialising in refinery catalyst handling and plant cleaning operations. It split from Mourik Services in 1981 and has made a name for itself through creativity and high quality services in the refining, petrochemical and steel industries. The range of services it offers includes catalyst change-outs, inert entries, mechanical works and cleaning of reactors, inspections, repairs and revamps. Alongside these services, the company is also invested in remaining at the cutting edge of technology through its own research and development.

Jelle Kramers, managing director of Mourik International, explains further: “In the early 1980s, catalyst handling was a specialism but today the basic process of unloading and reloading (tubular) reactors, for example, has become a routine activity. Our company has tried to distinguish itself by remaining innovative, whether in how the job is approached, completed or managed, or in the development of specialised equipment.”

He continues: “With the facilities Mourik has in our engineering workshops we build state-of-the-art equipment in-house. This is what makes us stand out from our competitors: often they don’t have the same facilities, so we are capable of more advanced engineering. That is our market focus after all, to improve and to separate ourselves from the competition.”

With 195 employees and an annual turnover of 20 million euros, this approach to the industry has served Mourik International well. Furthermore, during the last 30 years it has created a global network of branches and partners in countries as diverse as Aruba, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the UK, creating one of the industry’s furthest-reaching businesses. By being skilled not only in catalyst handling but also in clean up operations as well, clients are able to rely on the company to provide an all-encompassing service regardless of their location.

Safety is the essential component of the work that the company undertakes, as it will often be working with highly toxic and hazardous environments. To ensure high standards in its commitment to health and safety, Mourik International shares a dedicated department with its sister companies that is staffed by people with expert knowledge in various fields of discipline, including high-pressure and vacuum cleaning, the transportation of hazardous substances, asbestos treatment and removal, respiratory and skin issues, and industrial hygiene and gas measurement. The company also holds a number of industry certifications including ISO 9001 and ISO 1400 standards, the Basic Safety VCA Petrochemical safety certificate, and Safety for Operational Supervisors SCC award.

Furthermore, as Jelle explains, the company has a history of being dedicated to developing safety technologies: “From the beginning we have been very involved in designing of our own safety equipment because, when we started, there were no industry standards. During the mid to late 70s we became the initiators of inert entry equipment in Europe. Today there are both industry standards and specialised companies for this, but we are still very much a front-runner in the improvement of safety measures for gas analysing, vacuum and nitrogen recirculation equipment.”

Current projects being taken on by the company are focused on the improvement of efficiency and environmental issues such as the reduction of energy use and dust emission by machinery. Improving the efficiency of equipment in this way becomes a benefit to the client because not only can it increase volumetric output from their reactors, or reduce downtime, it can also result in more reusable catalyst for the customer. Mourik is also focusing on the reduction of its own down time through the development of specialised applications that, for example, enable humidity sensitive catalyst to be loaded during severe weather conditions.

The future for the company will see predominantly organic growth, but as Jelle highlights this means quality over quantity: “We do not see future growth so much in volume of contracts as in improving the quality of our work. If one expands too large too quickly, the control over operations from a safety and management perspective becomes weak and therefore hazardous. We want to maintain a focus on safety and quality for our clients, hence a controlled growth is paramount.”

Mourik International BV
Services: Catalyst handling and industrial cleaning