In a spooky premonition of what was to come thirty years later, our June 1990 issue led on the storage terminals market, with the introduction to the main story saying: “Although utilisation rates are running high, terminal operators feel there is no great need for new tankage”. In the current disrupted oil markets, most tanks – especially in North America but also in trading hubs around the world – are full to the brim but terminal operators, fearing what this might all mean for upstream investment, are cutting capital expenditure rather than building more capacity.
But back in 1990, HCB reported that the boom year of 1989 was based largely on increased demand for chemicals storage and we noted that, with the introduction of increasingly strict requirements to reduce vapour emissions in tank storage activities, many in the business were predicting that the handling of particularly hazardous substances would become concentrated among a few dedicated facilities. That separation has indeed taken place to a large extent, though there are still multi-purpose terminals in operation, particularly in smaller ports.
Back in June 1990, HCB carried its annual review of terminal expansion and investment projects in a listing that ran to 6.5 pages – but included nothing east of Suez. These days we are more clued up about developments in Asia and the equivalent article in last month’s issue covered ten pages of the magazine.
There were pre-echoes of 2020 also in the Regulation section of the June 1990 issue, with a report by ‘HJK’ on the January 1990 session of the UN Sub-committee of Experts’ work to review the provisions for gases of Class 2. This was the point at which it was agreed that hazards such as flammability, toxicity, oxidation and corrosivity should take precedence over the pressure hazard posed by Class 2 gases and it was therefore appropriate to split Class 2 into three divisions.
Not only that, but these three divisions should also bear different labels and placards – something that has come back to the UN experts over the past year, with discussions about how to differentiate those labels for Divisions 2.1 and 2.3 from the corresponding labels for flammable liquids and toxic substances. This was the point too when the new entries UN 3156 to 3163 were introduced into the Dangerous Goods List.
Also at that session, the UN experts were asked to discuss the problems being presented by waste material generated by hospitals; at that time, it was felt that infectious substance wastes should be disposed of or decontaminated at source. That may be the case but the recent Ebola virus outbreaks and the current Covid-19 crisis show that it is not always possible.
Over in London, IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) had met in March, for the first time since Bill O’Neil had taken over as secretary-general of the organisation. Opening the MEPC session, O’Neil reminded delegates of the impact of the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska in March 1989 as well as the potential pollution impact in Morocco following the explosion aboard the VLCC Khark-5 in December 1989. Those two incidents did much to accelerate MEPC’s work towards the development of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, which was rapidly adopted in November 1990.[post_title] => 30 Years Ago: June 1990 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-years-ago-june-1990 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-06 14:42:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-06 13:42:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://hcblive.com/?p=20637 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )