Multistar Tank Leasing Company poised for tank container growth
Dec 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
While tank containers traditionally have been a small part of the US tank truck industry, compared to the number on the road in other parts of the world, the situation is beginning to change, says Pamela Glusic, regional vice-president for business development, Multistar Tank Leasing Company.
“The devaluation of the dollar is one reason for export growth in the United States,” she says in a recent Bulk Transporter interview from the Multistar office in Houston, Texas. “Another explanation is the movement by shippers away from transporting product in drums, especially considering the growing concern for protecting the environment.
“We're also seeing shipbuilders constructing parcel tankers with larger capacities, but not all liquid producers need that volume, and because of this we see a growth opportunity for tank containers. We also are experiencing demand for tank containers to be used for on-site storage applications.”
The tank container, although regarded as a multimodal method of transporting bulk liquids, is a versatile alternative. By its nature a tank container can be utilized as static storage where space is limited or investment in permanent storage construction is cost prohibitive, Glusic adds.
Multistar Tank Leasing, an agent for Multistar Leasing Limited, headquartered in Sandbach, England, has about 1,100 ISO tank containers in its leasing fleet throughout North and South America. Worldwide, the number totals over 4,500. With offices also in France, Germany, and Singapore, and agents throughout the world including Argentina and Brazil, Multistar is well-situated to benefit from growing demand.
The company was established in 1979 in South Africa by David Jenkins, who saw the worldwide opportunity for tank containers. The operation also allowed for investors to hedge their income against the volatility of the rand, the basic unit of money in South Africa. Early on, the tank container was used to transport South African wine throughout the world.
“The founders realized that tank containers could provide safe, economical, and efficient transportation for the international movement of bulk liquids,” says Glusic.
Johnna Brock, regional vice-president, operations, also in Houston, notes that today Multistar serves a wide range of customers, including chemical, food, and pharmaceutical companies, as well as tank container operators, shipping lines, and truck lines.
Multistar's fleet includes stainless steel tank containers with capacities ranging from 17,500 liters (4,624 gallons) to 26,000 (6,868 gallons) liters. Tank containers are manufactured to international standards, including those for products that are flammable, toxic, oxidizing, and corrosive, and undergo an extensive certification process that includes CSC and AAR600. Other tanks are available that are heated, as well as those with twin compartments.
Newest tank containers provided by Multistar typically are manufactured by Welfit Oddy Industries (Pty) Ltd in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and are specified according to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code portable tank instructions. The stainless steel containers are housed in 20-by-8-by-8-1/2-foot frames. They come equipped with air inlet, bottom outlets, and pressure relief valves, in addition to domelids, thermometers, and steam-heating connections. Fort Vale, Perolo, Pelican Worldwide, and Girard are just a few of Multistar's component suppliers, but other non-standard equipment may be installed by customers that lease the vessels.
The containers include:
T11 tank containers manufactured in beam and full frame design for transporting highly flammable, toxic, and corrosive liquids. These tanks can also transport low and non-hazardous liquids.
Foodgrade tanks dedicated to oils, alcohol, and juices, including concentrates.
Electrically heated IMO 1 tank containers designed for sensitive cargoes where temperature control is required either during transport or static storage.
US DOT51 tank containers for higher hazardous liquids. The tanks, supplied in various capacities, are designed and manufactured to meet the requirements of the US Department of Transportation's 49 CFR Regulations, which restrict the use of standard T11 tanks for certain hazardous liquids.
Swap tanks are available in capacities ranging from 29,500 liters (7,793 gallons) and upwards for the carriage of both hazardous and non-hazardous liquids. These tanks allow for greater volumes than a standard tank container. The benefits of reduced tare weights and increased payload capacities allow for greater efficiencies in product distribution, especially within Europe.
Brock points out that Multistar containers available for lease are shipped to various third-party depots around the world where they are stored until put in use. Among the depots designated by Multistar in the United States are Specialized Tank Services in Houston, Texas, Quality Distribution in Carteret, New Jersey; and Boasso America in New Orleans, Louisiana; Charleston, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; and Detroit, Michigan. South American depots include Depotrans in Brazil, Ecotank in Argentina, and Industria De Procesos Ecologicos in Colombia.
Companies that lease the containers are responsible for preventive maintenance and repairs, but Multistar provides for periodic inspection services and sends reminders to its clients when inspections are due. “Multistar US requires the depots to follow strict repair and maintenance guidelines as set forth in the Multistar Approved — International Tank Container Organization ACC Manual (MA-ITCO),” says Brock. “All Multistar tank containers are repaired to those standards to ensure safe transportation. We continually monitor the performance and service levels of the depots where Multistar US containers are maintained prior to leasing. It is essential these containers are in compliance with national and international regulations, and that takes diligence on our behalf and a trusting partnership between Multistar US and our designated depots.”
“We consider our leasing service as giving ‘quiet possession,’ to our clients ” says Glusic. “They control the tank containers almost as if they were their own. Some choose to paint the containers specific colors and apply their own logos.”
Multistar currently is undergoing a remanufacturing program on a large scale with 10% of its fleet having been through the process to date. Plans are to remanufacture at least 5% each year as leases expire and tank containers are returned.
To handle administrative functions, Multistar chose Mistral Solutions Pvt Ltd software for inventory content and other uses. “The program helps us to provide speedy responses and advice,” Glusic says. “It captures tank specifications, maintenance and repair control, individual tank records, and lease details.”
Another project underway is revamping the Multistar Web site, multistar.com, with emphasis on value-added information and advice to assist bulk liquid shippers with day-to-day needs.
The use of tank containers provides a door-to-door service in combination with truck, rail, and ship. These factors, and Multistar's well-placed operation, indicate the company will be ready to handle the demand as global trade increases the volume of bulk products — and the subsequent transportation requirements.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus