[ID] => 10610
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-02-14 13:13:39
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-14 13:13:39
[post_content] => Having seen off the sudden concern that Chinese-made tank containers would be caught up in the growing trade war between the US and China, tank container operators are looking forward to taking advantage of growing demand for the transport of petrochemicals in the booming US market. Continued growth in the petrochemicals sector, boosted by low feedstock costs as a result of the shale gas boom, is generating increasing volumes of cargo, for which tank containers will be one of the beneficiaries.
However, that picture is not without its problems, as David Kew, managing director of UK-based M&S Logistics, explains. “Increasing demand will present a number of challenges and pressures across the supply chain at all points, including ports, rail and trucking. In fact, the rapid growth of the chemical industry may well outpace the ability of the supply chain to adapt, which makes it vital that producers align themselves with logistics providers who can rapidly respond to changes in market conditions and for whom forward planning is a key element of their culture,” he says.
“New technology may offset some of these issues but improved IT systems are unlikely to solve those traditional problems such as falling numbers in the driver supply pool and continued congestion and labour concerns at our ports,” Kew adds.
SIZE OF THE MARKET
The sudden upsurge in petrochemical output in the US is staggering and, with the low input prices, comes with a concomitant increase in export volumes. “We anticipate that the US will continue to be a major export market for chemicals in the long term, based on the investments made by chemical companies. Forecasts indicate that production capacity will increase by some 40 per cent by 2040,” Kew notes.
That pace of growth is causing other concerns, quite apart from issues of infrastructure constraints. Environmental issues point to tank containers as a prime mode of transport, and not just for substances regulated in transport. “It is quite clear that growing public awareness of environmental impacts to both wildlife and human health will necessitate a major shift in logistical modalities and will require a major reduction in the volume of one-time use plastic flexi bags for transportation,” Kew says.
“The environmental credibility of such units is still unproven and, although much touted, the majority of flexi bags used to move chemicals still end up in landfill or are incinerated, neither of which is either environmentally sustainable or desirable.”
As such, Kew says, “products will continue to be moved in ISO tanks, which offer a much more positive and environmentally friendly method of transportation and do not suffer from the leakage problem that plagues the flexi bag industry.”
The outlook for the tank container sector in North America is, therefore, bright. But tank container operators need to be thinking about how they will respond to rising demand and the issues that have the potential to slow uptake of tanks in the chemical supply chain. “In order to cope and be ready for an increased level of demand, we are investing heavily in systems, human resources and training to facilitate our rapid growth and maintain our unprecedented high level of customer service,” Kew states.
[post_title] => M&S: Ready for anything
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => ms-ready-anything
[post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:02:01
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 12:02:01
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=10610
[menu_order] => 0
[post_type] => post
[comment_count] => 0
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Rapid increases in petrochemical production in the US promise greater demand for tank containers but the future is not without challenges