Number of Tank Containers December 2015

Dear @tco Members

At the end of December 2015 I again updated my records on the number of ISO Tank Containers manufactured on a worldwide basis.  This was done with the help of various tank manufactures in each region and also some of their suppliers as a way of cross checking. I said last year that I would be including Gas Tank Container in this year’s report but I am sorry to advise I have not been happy with the feedback received, therefore I have omitted them again and hope to do better next year.

I have been able to get a better understanding on the number of tanks scrapped this year due to a design problem that came to light with some 16/17year old tanks. This has included tanks owned and/or leased to tank operators which I had not seen in previous years. The remanufacturing and major refurbishing of older tanks continued during the year at various tank manufacturing factories and also by the operators themselves. Best estimates I have been able to establish is approximately 3,200 tanks that have been involved in this process and many have already returned to the market as good as new.

Breakdown of remanufactured tanks by regions:

South Africa700

Going forward I do not believe that companies will maintain this level of remanufacture as the current price for new tanks has dropped below the level that makes economic sense. When you take into consideration down time, effort in getting tanks to agreed locations and total cost involved in remanufacturing it may be better to buy new at the current price.

This year I have increased the number of tanks scrapped to 2,000 and again subtracted this from the total fleet size. The total number of tanks manufactured by world region at the end of 2015 is as follows.

China34,000 (this is between 5 different manufactures)
South Africa6,000
Rest of the world say1,000
Total 44,000
Less Scrapped2,000
Total increase of fleet 42,000 which is just a small increase on last year (2014)

My own estimate of the current world fleet as at the end of December 2015 is between 454,000 and 497,000 which is allowing 10% for miscounting and misinformation.

This is still a healthy increase of almost 10% year on year. However, I believe this was achieved not to meet market demand but rather by the tank container manufacturers dropping prices mid-year to boost sales. This in turn encouraged many existing companies to take advantage and buy tanks to hold in stock, plus allowing other new companies to enter the tank leasing sector with cheap tanks.

I believe that we now looking at a possible oversupply situation for the next year or so with more tanks entering the market all looking for the same business. We need to create more demand for the tank containers and continue to demonstrate and prove they are the safest, most environmentally friendly method for transporting bulk liquids door to door for the customer.

As with my previous reports I have not tried to break the world fleet down into how many tanks each company own i.e. Leasing companies or Operating companies, because that is of no value to our members and there would be too much double counting.

What I believe is important is to demonstrate that the tank container market continues to grow. The Asian market will continue to be the driving force behind that growth once we get the right infrastructure in place; the local government authorities enforcing the law on waste disposal and we continue to promote the safe handling of bulk liquids in tank containers against other cheaper options.

Best Regards

Reg Lee
The Tin Can Man


The information in this report is my own personnel view, @tco Asia and its Board of Directors accept no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information supplied or the opinions expressed regarding the number of tank containers manufactured.

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