Global tank container fleet grows, survey reveals

The International Tank Container Organisation (ITCO) has just published its 8th Annual Tank Container Fleet Survey.
This year’s survey has revealed that as on New Year’s Day this year the global tank container fleet had reached 652,350 units worldwide. This is compared with 604,700 units 12 months ago - a year-on-year growth of 7.88%.
Due to the fall in trading conditions experienced by many sectors of the container shipping industry, the number of tank containers produced last year was lower than in 2018.
In 2019, a total of 54,650 tank containers were built, compared to 59,700 in 2018, a decrease of some 5000 units over the previous year.
The survey revealed that the industry continues to be dominated on a global level by a relatively small number of major tank container operators and leasing companies.
The top 10 operators account for over 235,000 tanks representing over 56% of the global operators’ fleet of 381,700 units.
The top 10 leasing companies account for 240,000 tanks, about 80% of the total leasing fleet of 305,615. The top three leasing companies account for 154,000 tanks, over 50% of the total leasing company fleet.
Reg Lee, ITCO president, said: “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.
“In 2019, the majority of new tanks were purchased by leasing companies – mainly to service the equipment requirements of tank container operators. As more leasing company tank containers become available, the industry has seen the growth in the number of 3PLs and 4PLs entering the market; these companies often have little – or no – accredited infrastructure to support their growing fleet of tanks, which we can assume they have taken on because of the low lease rates on offer, and on a shorter lease period.”
Commenting on the future development of the industry, Reg Lee added: “While the main aim of this survey is to meet the data and information requirements of a wide range of stakeholders, ITCO has another reason for publishing it.
“ITCO is aware that one of the most important issues facing the tank container industry is how to ensure the successful development and education of a new generation of personnel (management and staff) entering this sector of the shipping industry.
“All ITCO Members face the challenge of recruiting staff who can participate in the development of their businesses, introduce new ideas and technology, and ensure the long-term future of their companies.  It is an important aspect of ITCO’s role as an organisation representing the interests of its members to create an environment which can attract a new generation of professionals. Within this, ITCO has a responsibility to support its members with the tools to provide training and education.”
Visit www.itco.org for more details.

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