ITCO President's Report: February 2024

Time is passing fast, and we’re now already at the end of February – I’m sure it’s been a busy two months for everyone.

The ITCO Team has been very busy, too, working hard on a number of projects for its Members. In this Report, I’d like to report to you on progress so far this year, as well update you on a number of plans and projects for the year ahead.

Establishment of the ITCO Management Committee

One of the first changes this year was the replacement of the ITCO Board with a broader, more inclusive and more diverse “Management Committee”. This change was as a response to the feedback received from a number of members. I’m pleased to confirm that all the candidates who put their names forward for the Divisional Vice Chair positions accepted the invitation to become members of the newly formed Management Committee.

This is excellent news – above all, because it means that ITCO can retain, and benefit from, all of their expertise and commitment in setting the future direction of the Organisation.

The first meeting of the Committee takes place today (Wednesday 28 February) - and we will, of course, keep you informed on the outcome.

The new Management Committee structure has a number of representatives from each of the Divisions. This will simplify the organisation of Divisional meetings, as well as the gathering of opinions from the Divisions, and feedback to the Divisions on decisions taken.

Reaching out to other Industry Associations

Another request from ITCO Members was to develop stronger links with other industry associations and NGOs.

We’ve taken this request very seriously - and one of my first tasks was to make direct contact with both ECTA and EPCA, to explore areas of cooperation and mutual interest. These initiatives will be reviewed by the Management Committee and reports will follow.

Conversely, ITCO has been approached by a major international logistics asset player to explore opportunities for investment in the tank container industry. We made a strong argument for them to consider investment in depot infrastructure, as this is an area which has failed to keep pace with the growth in the tank container fleet. It seems we are getting some attention!

Tank Container Fleet Survey

While on the subject of the tank container fleet, this is the time of the year when ITCO produces its annual Tank Container Fleet Report. It’s a major effort to collect all the data, but the result is worthwhile, as it creates a valued document, which is used extensively for planning and investment decisions.

This means the Report needs to be accurate, and published in a timely fashion, if it is to retain any credibility. This has been my first experience of the process, and - whilst I would never expect 100% accuracy in the numbers - there are clearly areas where the Report can be improved and expanded. The 2024 Report will be published in early March.

ITCO Projects

Technical Projects are an important aspect of ITCO’s work:
The Digital Twin Work Group is making good progress, led by William Leigh-Pemberton and supported by a group of outstanding professionals, all of whom are experts in their field.
Alongside this, we are now establishing a Work Group to study Depot Audits, as promoted at the Members Meeting in Amsterdam.

ITCO Events

The ITCO team is also actively working on the Event Programme for 2024.

We’re currently preparing the Agenda for the next ITCO meeting, which is focused on Depot issues, and will take place at the Rotterdam Hilton on 18/19 April 18/19. We’re working on a challenging and stimulating agenda with external speakers, and perhaps a “less than conventional” approach to our three pillars of Safety, Efficiency, and Sustainability.

Make sure you register promptly…spaces are limited. Click on this link for further information and registration details: ITCO ROTTERDAM MEETING.

The ITCO Village at the Transport Logistic China exhibition in Shanghai at the end of June is nearly sold out. There are a couple of stands remaining – so please check with Kate if you need further information (

Finally, we have started planning the Annual Members Meeting which will take place this year in Houston in the week of October 21. Please block your calendars!

The Market

Last but not least, a few comments on the market.

  • Kuehne + Nagel are a “bell-weather” company on the state of the international logistics industry…they introduced a global hiring freeze on February 12, 2024.
  • Although not directly relevant to our industry, there is significant overcapacity developing in the polymer industry, as China approaches self-sufficiency. This is expected to last until 2030, unless less efficient capacity is shut down. Countries at risk include S Korea, Japan, and Singapore, followed by NW Europe.
  • There has been a growth in container flows into West Coast US ports as destocking slows, and East Coast and US Gulf ports suffer from restricted flows through the Panama Canal
  • The impact of disruption in the Red Sea has been well reported…but we need to be alert to any knock-on effects on tank repositioning in the Mediterranean.

Thank you for reading this Report. As always, your comments, feedback and suggestions are appreciated and encouraged.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or ideas that you may have.

Best regards

Paul Gooch
President - International Tank Container Organisation

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