Number of Tank Containers December 2016

Dear @tco Members,

At the end of December 2016, 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 some of their suppliers as a way of cross checking. I have not included the Gas Tank Container again in this year’s report as I am still not happy with the feedback received, maybe next year if I can get better feedback.

I have been able to get good understanding on the number of tanks scrapped this year, which I have estimated as 3,000, many of which were due to a design problem that came to light with some older tanks built 16/17 years ago. This figure included tanks owned and/or leased to tank operators which started to appear very early last year.

The remanufacturing and major refurbishing of older tanks slowed down during the year, at the various tank manufacturing factories and 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

With the current low cost of purchasing new tanks in China I do not believe that many companies will be remanufacturing tanks in future unless as part of an insurance claim. This year I have increased the number of tanks scrapped up to 3,000 and again subtracted this from the total fleet size. The total number of tanks manufactured this year, of all types, by world region at the end of 2016 is as follows:

China35,150 (this is between 5 different manufactures)
South Africa6,300
Rest of the world say1,500
Less scrapped tanks3,000
Nett total increase41,450
Which show about a 9% increase on last year (2015)

My own estimate of the current world fleet as at the end of December 2016 is between 495,450 and 520,220 which is allowing 5% for miscounting and misinformation. (I have changed this percentage from 10% down to 5% this year as I have been able to get better understanding from other reliable sources.)

This is still a healthy increase of almost 9% year on year. However, this was achieved not to meet market demand but rather by the tank container manufacturers dropping prices to an all-time low just to boost sales. This prompted many existing companies to take advantage and buy tanks which are now being held in stock. It also allowed other new companies to enter the tank leasing sector with cheap tanks. (Currently there are thousands of new empty tanks sitting waiting to be put into service in the manufactures and other outside depots.)

We are now experiencing an oversupply situation which may last for the next year or so with more tanks entering the market than the market requires. We need to create a demand for these tank containers by demonstrate they are the safest, most environmentally friendly method for transporting bulk liquids door to door for the customer when used as part of a liquid supply chain.

In this report, I have not tried to break the World fleet down into how many tanks each company own i.e. Leasing companies or Operating companies, however, in conjunction with ITCO we will be publishing the “ITCO Tank Container Survey Report” by end of February 2017. The survey will try to break down operating companies with fleet size of more than 1000 tank containers and attempt to cut out much of the double counting by estimating how many own and how many are leased in each fleet.

I believe it is important to demonstrate that the tank container market continues to grow. The Asian market will continue to be the driving force behind much of the growth as they continue to improve the infrastructure. In addition, the local government authorities in Asia are now enforcing the law on waste disposal and closing depots that do not meet the regulations.

@tco Members should continue to promote the safe handling of bulk liquids in tank containers against other cheaper options and make sure the end users recognise these benefits.

Best Regards

Reg Lee


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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