Asia Tank Container Organization (@TCO) Launched

The Asia Tank Container Organization (@TCO) has been established by founder members Reginald Lee and Graham Wood to help foster the use of intermodal tank containers throughout the rapidly developing Asian marketplace. A formidable @TCO board of directors, with senior officers from amongst the leading tank container companies worldwide, has also been formed. @TCO is a non-profit-making organization.

“In recent years Asia has emerged to take on a key role in global tank container activities,” states Reg Lee, @TCO president. “Asia is the fastest-growing tank container market in the world, while China is now the leading manufacturer of tank containers by a wide margin. The multimodal nature of tanks, with their ability to be moved easily between deepsea container ships, regional feeder vessels, rivergoing craft, road vehicles and rail cars, suits the geography of Asia.

“Yet until now Asian tank activities have not been well represented by industry bodies. We believe that the approach of the existing International Tank Container Organization (ITCO), for example, is too Eurocentric and does not pay adequate attention to either the needs of its members with interests in Asia or the promotion of tank container use in the Asian marketplace.

“Intermodal tank containers have proven themselves eminently suitable for the safe and efficient carriage of a wide range of bulk liquids, gases and powders, including hazardous cargoes, in Europe and the Atlantic Basin over a period of many decades. Our industry is now in a position to make available the valuable lessons that have been learned to a wide range of newcomers.”

@TCO has established tank operating, leasing, manufacturing and survey and inspection divisions and has appointed chairmen and vice chairmen for each of the groups, as set out in the table below.

@TCO board of directors

Name (company affiliation) @TCO board position

Reg Lee President
Graham Wood Director and Technical Secretary
Mike Kramer (STC) Chairman, Operator Division
Mr Ljun (Sinochem) Vice Chairman, Operator Division
Jeremy Bergbaum (Exsif/Haite) Chairman, Leasing Division
Mike Broadhurst (TAL) Vice Chairman, Leasing Division
Leo Yang (CMIC) Chairman, Manufacturing Division
Elton Liu (Fort Vale) Vice Chairman, Manufacturing Division
Jim Silver (Silver/CIMS) Chairman, Survey & Inspections Division

“Our intention is to invite to join us, at least initially, 30-35 companies which we believe can help our new Organization to develop the use of tank containers in a safe and efficient manner to meet the needs of shippers in this fast-growing Asian marketplace,” adds Reg Lee. “Our board members are recognised industry leaders of unquestioned calibre and their presence will undoubtedly facilitate the creation of a sound organization and the achievement of @TCO’s aims.”

There will be no separate division within @TCO for tank container service providers as such. However, within the next few months the new association will issue an @TCO-recommended code of practice for Asian tank container depots and hauliers with the aim of helping such companies achieve and maintain the standard of performance necessary to ensure the safe handling of tank containers. Tank depots and hauliers meeting or exceeding the provisions laid down in the code of practice, and agreeing to be audited by independent assessors, could be invited to join @TCO.

Reg Lee and Graham Wood bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise to the new Asian tank association. Reg Lee has been involved with tank containers since the inception of the industry, having been appointed managing director of Suttons International in 1968. When he left Suttons a decade later, it had been transformed from being a freight forwarder to a pioneering tank container operator. In 1982 he was part of a team that sold United Tank Containers, a small operating company with 400 tanks, to the Stolt-Nielsen group and when he retired from the company in 2003 the Stolt Tank Container fleet numbered 21,000 units, by far the world’s largest operator-controlled fleet.

For the last seven years Reg Lee has been the president of ITCO. Under his leadership ITCO introduced a number of important measures that have benefited the tank industry in general. However, he decided to resign from his post in December 2010 when he felt that his fellow ITCO board members did not fully appreciate the importance to the tank container industry of the emerging Asian markets.

Graham Wood and Reg Lee have been ITCO colleagues over the past seven years. Graham Wood, as ITCO’s independent technical expert, played a key role in the realisation of many of the tank container promotional projects implemented by the Organization in recent years. Prior to his ITCO consultancy work Graham served with tank leasing companies Sea Containers, Tiphook, Transamerica and Exsif. Amongst his achievements was participation in the design team that developed the original Sea Containers beam tank, a groundbreaking concept that is still the basis for many tanks manufactured today. Davlis Ltd, Graham Wood’s consultancy company, is heavily involved in tank container survey work in China. Graham Wood also severed his connections with ITCO in December 2010.

For further information about the Asia Tank Container Organization (@TCO) please contact Reg Lee, President, Tel: +44 7748 114 542, reglee@atcoasia.com or Graham Wood, Technical Director, Tel: +44 7590 414 845, graham.wood@atcoasia.com. Web site: www.atcoasia.com.

Photo: Reg Lee, @TCO founder member and president