International tank container use expected to grow
Jan 2, 2007 11:54 AM
The use of intermodal tank containers on sea routes is expected to rise steadily around the world over the next five years, according to information from the International Tank Container Organization (ITCO).
“The study represents the first step in a series of ITCO initiatives to explain more fully the market prospects and capabilities of tank containers to a wide audience of existing and potential users,” said Reginald Lee, president of ITCO.
Because the majority of new seagoing chemical tankers are being built with fewer but larger capacity cargo tanks than in the past, tank containers are poised to win more business involving the movement of specialty chemicals in bulk. In addition, chemical companies are expected to follow the current trend of outsourcing the management of their tank activities increasingly to specialist tank container operators, according to the ITCO information.
Annual growth of tank containers being shipped from the United States to Europe and from Europe to the US, as well as from the US to Asia, is projected to grow between zero and five percent in the next five years. Although the study did not address the use of tank containers traveling from Asia to the US, industry representatives estimate that annual growth could top out as much as five percent, as well.
Similarly, the use of tank containers in Europe and on most other deepsea routes worldwide is projected to expand by as much as five per cent per annum.
Driven by the commissioning of new chemical production plants, particularly in China, tank container trade levels on the Asia to Europe route are set to expand by 5-10 per cent per annum over the next five years, while the annual growth in the intra-Asian movement of chemicals using tanks will exceed 10 per cent.
The study, Longer Term Trends and Developments of the Tank Container Industry, was conducted by Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Interviews were carried out with senior logistics managers at Europe's 10 leading chemical manufacturing companies.
All the manufacturers make extensive use of tank containers, among a number of bulk and packaged goods transport options, in their supply chain operations. The report's authors found that for deepsea movements on intercontinental routes chemical producers favor tank containers over the drum, intermediate bulk container, and flexitank bag-in- the-box options in many applications for safety, efficiency, and environmental protection reasons.
In mainland Europe, where the tank container concept was born almost four decades ago, chemical shippers increasingly favor the use of intermodal swap body tank containers over tank trailers on longer haul routes. Furthermore, the attractiveness of the tank container option in Europe will continue to increase as trade with Eastern and Central European nations blossoms and as efforts are made to promote rail transport and shortsea shipping to help relieve the continent's congested roads.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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