The February 1990 issue of HCB kicked off with comments from editor Mike Corkhill, fresh back from the MariChem 89 conference in Amsterdam, where delegates had debated the environmental challenges facing the industry. As he said, reflecting on a long day’s discussion:
The realisation swept over everyone that, irrespective of all the fine effort over the last 20 years, solving the problem of ensuring the safe transport of chemicals by sea has only just begun.
At the time, he was thinking primarily of Marpol Annex II (covering liquid chemicals carried in bulk), which had been implemented in 1987, and the imminent arrival of Annex III, covering packaged chemicals, which was due to be ratified by the US with implementation scheduled for 12 months later.
He predicted that implementation and enforcement of Marpol Annex III would be a struggle, given the large number of disparate players in the supply chain. And, he observed, “Misdeclared and undeclared shipments are endemic in the packaged goods sector.” It would certainly prove a severe test for Bill O’Neil, who had taken up the role of secretary-general of IMO at the start of the year. And if Mike thought the previous 20 years had failed to solve the issue, the lessons of the subsequent 30 years show that little progress has been made, despite the best and ongoing efforts of many stakeholders involved.
The February 1990 issue continued with two lengthy reports from ‘HJK’ on the recent sessions of the UN Sub-committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the Joint Meeting of the RID/ADR experts, which covered a huge range of topics, many of which still feature regularly on those bodies’ agendas.
There was plenty of coverage too of the tank container sector, still very much in its infancy, which had then only recently come together in a trade organisation, the International Tank Container Association (ITCA). Growth of the business also meant that it was taking a greater presence at the MariChem show, which initially concentrated on seagoing tankers, with three of the nine sessions at the December 1989 event taken up by discussions of tank containers.
We noted at the time that, while intermodal bulk transport had taken a significant slice of chemical business in Europe, the same could not be said of North America. European lessors and operators were, though, making efforts to get the concept accepted in the US and they had been joined more recently by a number of domestic tank truck operators, two steamship lines and a major railroad. There was, though, still a shortage of suitable cleaning and repair depots and the tank container had to battle against a highly competitive and deregulated tank truck sector, as well as ingrained business habits. Those impediments are still evident in some of the current emerging markets for tank containers, particularly in Asia.
Another concept still making headway in the industry was the intermediate bulk container (IBC). The recently formed Rigid Intermediate Bulk Container Association (RIBCA) had been in discussions with the US Department of Transportation about regulatory specifications, which, it was hoped, would remove the need for DOT to issue exemptions. At a time when the US was adopting UN specifications for all types of packaging, this would be no easy task.[post_title] => 30 Years Ago: February 1990 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-years-ago-february-1990 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-28 15:06:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-28 15:06:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=15713 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )