Global tank container business continued to grow in 2018

Global tank container business continued to grow in 2018

The global tank container business continued to grow in 2018, with a record number of new tank containers being manufactured – and many operators and leasing companies increasing the size of their fleets.

There are a number of reasons for this growth. The trend continues to successfully convert certain cargoes – which were previously shipped in drums or transported in chemical tankers – to tank containers.

In addition, China has seen a significant growth in the use of tank containers for domestic transport of bulk liquids.

This has resulted in high levels of demand for the services of ITCO Members – in all sectors of the industry – reflected in higher equipment demand and utilisation.

This year’s ITCO Tank Container Fleet Survey again reports a record growth in the tank container business during the past 12 months, with one high-volume new manufacturer in China entering the market.

According to the 2019 ITCO Global Tank Container Survey, the worldwide tank container fleet grew by almost 11 percent in 2018 over 2017. 

This year’s Survey estimates that, at 1 January 2019, the global tank container fleet stood at 604,700 units worldwide, compared to the figure of 552,000 on 1 January 2018.

This represents a year-on-year growth of 10.81%, compared to the growth the previous year (8.66%).

The number of tank containers produced last year also showed a significant increase. In 2018, a total of 59,700 tank containers were built, compared to 48,500 in 2017, an increase of more than 11,000 units over the previous year.

As in previous Editions, this Survey analyses the growth in the world’s tank container fleet and the development of production of tank containers on a year-by-year basis.

It shows how, numerically, 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 225,000 tanks representing nearly 60% of the global operators’ fleet. The top 10 leasing companies account for 227,000 tanks, about 82% of the total leasing fleet. The top three leasing companies account for 150,000 tanks, almost 55% of the total fleet.

An on-going trend is that the growth in the demand for tank containers globally has enabled smaller players to enter the market – usually offering niche products or working in a regional market.

Companies operating or leasing tank container fleets of over 1000 units are listed in the Survey. Companies with tank container fleets of less than 1000 units have not been named individually, but an “educated estimate” has been made for the combined fleets.

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11th March 2019