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ITCO survey reveals industry growth despite COVID-19 challenges

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Market uncertainty during the last 12 months caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in growth in the global tank container business slowing down, according to new data from ITCO.
The global tank container fleet expanded by 5.3% in 2020 - a much slower rate of growth than has been seen over the past 10 years, with manufacturing output falling from 54,650 units in 2019 to 35,800 – the lowest figure since 2011.
These new figures are from the International Tank Container Organisation’s (ITCO) Annual Global Tank Container Fleet Report.
The figures show that more shippers are adopting the tank container as a useful means of transporting liquids in bulk, especially at a time when supply chains were changing and there was a growing need for ‘just-in-time’ and even ‘just-in-case’ shipments.
In addition, ITCO remarked on significant growth in China for domestic use and strong development in intra-Asian trades.
The report said: “The top 10 operators account for over 246,300 tanks representing over 55% of the global operator’s fleet.
“The top 10 leasing companies account for over 250,000 tanks about 79% of the total leasing fleet. The top three leasing companies account for nearly 159,000 tanks, approximately 50% of the total fleet."
ITCO added that the industry was continuing to attract smaller fleets of over 1,000 units.
The organisation said more firms were turning to the tank container and operators were succeeding in successfully converting certain cargoes – previously shipped in drums or transported in chemical tankers – to tanks.