[ID] => 11415
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-08-28 13:37:42
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-08-28 12:37:42
[post_content] => Over my time at HCB – more than 25 years now – I have had to introduce any number of new recruits to the wonderful world of dangerous goods and what we do to help industry keep up to date. Even for people who have worked in trade journalism before, HCB offers a different perspective: not only do we deal with a comparatively complex aspect of the supply chain, we also look at the end-to-end journey of products from the manufacturer to the end user.
In our terms, we cover a vertical. That is in sharp contrast to most other trade titles, which cover horizontals: trucking magazine cover trucking, whatever the cargo; air publications cover air transport, not just dangerous goods; the big maritime press deals with all manner of topics of interest to the sector. On the other hand, we deal with all of these sectors, and more, but only from the point of view of the transport, storage and handling of dangerous goods.
That approach brings us into contact with a lot of different industrial sectors, although our coverage of them is much the same: what are they doing to improve safety and regulatory compliance, what new products and services have they developed and, at least for the larger companies, how is this translating into their financial results.
Bearing in mind that I have reported on that through several business cycles now, including the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 crash, it has often been noticeable how bulk liquids storage terminals have managed to sail through the ups and downs relatively serenely, often only reporting a blip in earnings just as things begin to pick up and cargo owners draw down their stocks.
Things have been different over the past year or so. Terminal operators are facing many of the same macro-economic and geopolitical factors as other players in the chain, not least the changing product flows as new material is stemming from producers in cost-advantaged locations in North America and the Middle East, and more recently growing political tensions and expanding trade wars and sanctions.
Terminal operators are also being disproportionately affected by the ‘IMO 2020’ rule on the sulphur content of marine bunker fuels, which is forcing many companies to take tanks out of service for modification in anticipation of having to handle a larger number of grades.
Further ahead there will be the phasing out of hydrocarbon-based fuels, with 2050 emerging as the favoured year for a carbon-neutral future. This will inevitably affect many terminals quite fundamentally but, as we are beginning to hear, there are other carbon-neutral and carbon-free options that might offer alternative cargoes for terminals. This month we report on Vopak’s investment in a project to deliver hydrogen in the form of a liquid fuel, using an organic carrier, that would fit seamlessly into the existing bulk chemical supply chain; work is also going on to develop viable e-fuels, using electrolysis powered by renewable electricity to generate liquid fuels.
These topics will doubtless be on the minds of terminal operators as they gather for the big autumn events: Tank Storage Asia in Singapore and the UK Tank Storage Association annual conference both take place this month, with the EPCA Annual Meeting just a couple of weeks later. By the end of all that we may have a better idea of where we’re going. Peter Mackay
[post_title] => Terminal letter from the editor
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => terminal-letter-editor
[post_modified] => 2019-08-28 13:37:42
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-08-28 12:37:42
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=11415
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[post_type] => post
[comment_count] => 0
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