The chemicals, power generation, oil and gas, and petrochemicals sectors have created a significant demand for tanktainers, says container supplier Container World.
Tanktainers, or tank containers, are intermodal containers used to transport liquids, gases and powders as bulk cargo.
Container World group operations director Dhamendra Singh explains that tanktainers are manufactured from stainless steel and mild steel, with 470 mm top-loading man lids that are fitted with six locking wing nuts, one pressure relief valve and a standard 3'' gravitational discharge valve.
Tanktainers can store nonhazardous, semi-hazardous and hazardous materials and products, and are also used to export chemicals globally. They are subjected to a standard two-and-a-half-year hydrostatic test, as well as a five-year test. All pressure relief valves are bench-tested before being refitted into the tanks. Singh says clients providing information, such as the type of product to be transported, as well as requesting a material safety data sheet from Container World helps the company to identify the correct seal that needs to be fitted to the tank.
The storage of transformer oil at various substations of State-owned power utility Eskom currently provides Container World’s biggest demand, says Singh.
Further, last year, Container World completed a contract with a company that bought three tanktainers that were exported to the Antarctic for the storage of jet fuel.
This year, the contract was renewed with the same company requesting five tanktainers. Singh enthuses that, in addition, tanktainers are in demand from municipalities and shipping lines.
The recent oil and gas market slump has negatively affected the industry, with many companies cutting back on staff and equipment for the offshore and onshore sites.
To mitigate these challenges, Singh says Container World has reduced its leasing rates, and is encouraging clients to look into long-term rentals. “We are also looking into repositioning tank containers into Cape Town to help reduce transport costs by having tank containers meet the local demand.”
Container World intends to reposition containers into depots that it has identified can provide the necessary services and has the expertise to test tank containers and provide a maintenance programme when containers do come off-hire and require repairs. “This is crucial to tank operators – to have tanks that meet the high standard of maintenance and that meet with our approval,” Singh explains.
Skills Development and Growth
Singh says there is currently a significant demand for expertise in the tanks and container sector, which is a highly specialised field.
He explains that regular training courses are offered to educate staff and personnel, including those who are office-bound and those working in the field, on the “finer details” of working with pressure valves and the dangers of working with them.
Education further centres on skills development and training in the health, safety and environmental aspects of tanktainers.
“We are also involved in skills development and training, and with health, safety and environmental matters; we are ISO 2015 accredited,” Singh says.
To further grow Container World and solidify an African footprint, he adds that Container World’s oil and gas division is looking to make inroads into the sub-Saharan market, keeping in mind that growth of the sector depends on the oil price.
Singh says there is a possible new market for tank containers, notably the number of requirements for petroleum stations, with clients requesting that the station be fitted with pumps and meters. While Container World does not supply these components, Singh says this could be a market for Container World to look into.
“We are engaging with suppliers of pumps and meters to see how this could be coupled with our tanks to supply complete solution,” he concludes.