Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
ITCO, the International Tank Container Organisation, has published its 8th Annual Tank Container Fleet Survey. This year’s survey estimates that, at 1 January 2020, the global tank container fleet had reached 652,350 units worldwide, compared to the figure of 604,700 on 1 January 2019, a year-on-year growth of 7.88%.
Reflecting the downturn 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 complete survey can be downloaded from the ITCO website: www.itco.org
The survey 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 ten operators account for over 235,000 tanks representing over 56% of the global operators’ fleet of 381,700 units. The top ten 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.
Commenting on the results of the Survey, Reg Lee, ITCO President, noted: ‘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.’
He continued: ‘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, Lee continued: ‘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.’
As part of its mission to attract a new generation of professionals to the tank container industry, ITCO has recently donated a tank (illustrated) to the Shanghai Maritime University, which will be used for educational and training purposes.
Our picture shows a Carnival line up. Five Carnival ships are due in Durban in week commencing 24 May. (Photo: www.africaports.co.za )
No less than five Carnival Cruise ships are due to arrive in Durban between 26 and 28 May to take on bunkers and to restock depleted supplies.
These five ships are part of a group of 12 engaged in the humanitarian task of repatriating over 26,000 crew from the Carnival fleet and other companies, as well as personnel from entertainment centres ashore, who because of the coronavirus pandemic, have had their employment suddenly curtailed.
Hotel staff and entertainers
These are the entertainment staff, the onboard shop workers, beauty salon practitioners, waiters and bus boys, chefs and kitchen staff, cabin cleaners, pursers and front desk people all making up the staff working on board cruise ships.
With cruising curtailed these former employees are finally returning home to destinations like India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines after having remained on board their ships for more than two months, unable to go ashore or receive visitors ever since cruising operations were suspended in mid -March. Ahead they face another three or four weeks at sea before being allowed to disembark. However, there’s something of a problem.
Call to governments
IFSMA* calls upon Governments to adopt the ‘Framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic’ without delay to allow ship owners and management companies to change over their dangerously tired crews.
Governments must act now in order to avoid personal injury to, and mental breakdown of, seafarers and avoid the significant risk of accidents and consequential danger to life and the environment.
Concern at IFSMA
IFSMA is receiving an increasing number of reports from its ship masters’ associations around the world concerned for the welfare and safety of crews and the increased risk with which they are operating in an already high risk environment. Seafarers are feeling let down and abandoned by their Governments.
Following concerns from the maritime industry, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a circular to all Member States, the UN and agencies and IGOs and NGOs in consultative status with IMO. This document concerned recommendations to Member States about measures to facilitate ship crew changes in seaports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IMO Secretary General has received a framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the pandemic, proposed by a cross-section of global industry associations in consultative status with the IMO, for example: ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IFSMA, and P&I Clubs as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA).