Heike Clausen – Managing Director, VOTG & Vice President, ITCO

Questions regarding VOTG

How do you view the prospects for the future use of tank containers for bulk liquids transport ? In particularly, do you see take up in emerging markets such as the BRICs growing ?

Global economic growth today is mainly driven by the emerging countries with their huge numbers of potential consumers. Hence, the need for consumer goods as well as for construction, cars, trucks is particularly increasing in these countries affecting positively also their neighboring countries. Production of these goods is following demand and, as a consequence, influences also the demand of and the flows of chemicals. It is therefore inevitable that the demand for transporting liquid chemicals to and from remote locations around the globe where transport infrastructures are not yet as developed as in Europe or in the US, will increasingly require flexibility while offering also the opportunity for short term storage. The tank container therefore is the most appropriate mode of transport and shall see tremendous growth potential. In addition, being repeatedly confronted with accidents due to inappropriate handling and marking of hazardous material being stored in drums, customers may review their supply chains and, in favor of more safety, use tank containers.

The increasing for  food stuff around the world will allow further growth for the tank containers.

Can you give an update on VOTG’s joint venture in China – Cosco VOTG Tanktainer Limited ?

Since 2008 this Joint Venture has been active in China and perceived as a most reliable, experienced and skilled partner for the Chemical and the Foodgrade Industry. With 5 offices covering the major chemical clusters along the coast, we are able to accommodate all export and import requirements of European and American multinational companies as well as from the Chinese Industry. By the increasing use of intermodal transport structures to inland destinations or from inland origins, we are following our ambition to provide sustainable and environmental-friendly solutions.

In close cooperation with Cosco Chemical Logistics we are providing logistics concepts for domestic supply chains, in particular with regards to the new developed zones in Central and Western China.

How do you see the much talked shift in petrochemical production to the GCC/Middle East region affecting VOTG’s business ?

VOTG is providing transport solutions according to the needs of our customers. Undoubtedly the Middle East region requires high attention in regards of the huge production facilities being built. We are preparing various strategic options, but do not foresee a significant change to our business model.

Conversely, how do you see prospects for tank container usage in Europe ?

The demand for the use of tank containers in the traditional Western European countries will probably be stable, although there is some room for growth through transferring cargo from road tankers to intermodal structures. Interesting growth potential will be expected in the Eastern and South Eastern countries, provided that economic conditions will stabilize. Long distances from the heart of the Chemical Industry in Central Europe to the areas of demand will favor intermodal transport structures, and provide an interesting growth scenario for the tank container industry.

Questions regarding ITCO

What do you see as the advantages of belonging to ITCO ?

The increasing acceptance of tank containers as a safe and reliable mode of transporting liquid products – be it hazardous or non-hazardous – requires standards and adherence with international regulations. ITCO provides a platform for the whole industry to work on such quality standards. The input of manufacturers, lessors, operators, service providers, inspectors and surveyors on technical and regulatory topics is fruitful to further enhance the development of this industry and to increase the perception in the market that this industry is working according to industrial standards.

ITCO representing its members in regulatory bodies and promoting the industry’s interests is of significant importance to its members.

What has been ITCO’s biggest contribution so far to the tank container industry ?

Through ITCO’s activities the tank container nowadays is perceived as a most safe and reliable mode of transportation, supporting its users in pursuing their goals for safe and sustainable transportation.

New players in the industry are attracted by the global footprint of ITCO, promoting the objectives of responsible care also in emerging regions.

Is there anything in particular you would like to achieve, or any specific issues in advance, during your time as Vice President of ITCO ?

In close cooperation with the current President we are trying to further enhance the perception of ITCO as a platform for professional development of the industry. Joint initiatives towards better technical support, representation in regulatory bodies, general market development etc shall increase the benefit for its members and motivate individuals to play an active role in ITCO.

In view of the increasing complexity of the business done and the responsibility taken by the ITCO members in view of the challenges of international transportation, it is my personal ambition to strengthen the relationship with the users / the end-customers of the industry and to further enhance awareness of responsible care, in particular in the emerging countries.