Global fleet grows but organisation warns of difficult road ahead

The global tank container fleet increased to 652,350 units across the globe in 2019, according to the International Tank Container Organisation’s (ITCO) annual tank container fleet survey.
The organisation said that growth in the global tank container business had slowed down in the past year to 7.88%, compared to 10.81%in 2018. This, it said, was reflected the fall in global trading conditions experienced by different sectors of the container shipping industry.
The number of tank containers produced was lower than in 2018 and the early indications showed a difficult time ahead for manufacturers unless the market saw a significant turnaround.
In a statement, it said: “This is the cyclical nature of the industry – a phenomenon witnessed by the industry over the past 25 years.”
In 2019, a total of 54,650 tank containers were built, compared to 59,700 in 2018, a decrease of some 5,000 units.
Elsewhere, the survey showed that “the industry continues to be dominated on a global level by a relatively small number of major tank container operators and leasing companies”.
It said the top ten operators accounted for over 235,000 tanks representing over 56% of the global operators’ fleet of 381,700 units.
The top ten leasing companies accounted for 240,000 tanks, which is about 80 per cent of the total leasing fleet of 305,615. The top three leasing companies account for 154,000 tanks, (over 50 per cent of the total leasing company fleet).
Reg Lee, ITCO president, added: “While the increase in tank container production in 2019 was lower than the previous year, the market has continued to expand – due to a large extent to the continued successful conversion of certain cargoes – previously shipped in drums or transported in chemical tankers – to tank containers.
“In addition, China continued to see significant growth in the use of tank containers for domestic transport of bulk liquids, while inter-Asia – especially South-East Asia – tank container operations continue to develop strongly.”

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