The International Tank Container Organization (ITCO) released its 4th fleet survey, which saw that the tank container industry grew by 7.2% since the previous year’s survey. The world’s fleet now stands at 458,200 containers, up by 43,780 from the 3rd survey.
In ITCO President Heike Clausen’s opinion, the growth is a result of “accepted recognition of the tank container as a safe, reliable, economic means of transport”. This growth offers obvious safety and economic advantages considering Brexit and the 2016 presidential election.
The global container fleet is comprised of:
- operators (72%)
- shippers or other owned fleets (24%)
- leasing idle (4%)
The survey includes 205 operators, the top ten of which comprise nearly 178,000 tanks; this is about 54% of the global operators fleet. The survey also covers 36 leasing companies, with 201,750 tanks, and 18 manufacturers.
The survey noted growth in demand for cryogenic tanks for refrigerated liquefied gases. Unfortunately, survey responders for gas tank fleets provided little detail, leaving ITCO to make assumptions. The survey predicts that the volume of cryogenic tanks manufactured since the last survey is likely 2,500. This is based on the numbers from 7 manufacturers that specialize in cryogenic tanks, Chinese manufacturers that include the gas tanks in their total numbers, plus other manufacturers not listed.
A report by Grand Research Inc. released in April 2016 predicts that the global cryogenic equipment market will grow to $25.05 billion by 2022. It states that in 2014, natural gas contributed to 40% of the market’s overall revenue.
For a while now, Europe has been referred to as the “last resort” market for LNG. In 2015, Japan’s and Korea’s markets accounted for about half of global imports, but their demands are decreasing. Europe, the world’s biggest importer of LNG, is picking up the surplus as its demand for LNG increases.
In a previous blog post, A Global Look at View of Shale Gas, Now and Future Outlook, we discussed the U.S.’s surplus due to unusually warm temperatures during the 2015/2016 winter. As Europe’s demand increases, the U.S. sees this as an opportunity to increase LNG exports to Europe.
The ITCO predicts continued growth on a global scale for the tank container market. With potential growth coming from diverse industries such as the cryogenic tanks, LNG, chemicals and liquid fertilizers opportunities remain strong, despite the risks.