Global tank fleet up nearly 9%

The global tank container fleet grew by 8.65 percent in 2022, according to ITCO’s 11th Annual Tank Container Fleet Survey.


The number of units in use around the world reached 801,800 at 1 January 2023, compared with 737,935 a year earlier.

Reflecting continued strong demand for new equipment, a total of 67,865 new tank containers were built, compared to 53,285 new units in the previous year – an increase of 14,580 units.

The survey shows how, numerically, the industry continues to be dominated on a global level by a relatively small number of major tank operators and leasing companies. The biggest 10 tank container operators account for over 281,160 units, representing over 49 percent of the global operators’ fleet. The top 10 leasing companies account for 299,300 tanks, about 83 percent of the total leasing fleet.

Commenting on the results of the survey, ITCO president Reg Lee noted: “This growth in demand in 2022 was fuelled by the massive disruption and challenges in the supply chain during the Covid-19 Pandemic – which has underlined the critical role that the tank container can, and does, play in the logistics requirements of major customers.”

Lee went on to point out that this resulted in manufacturers ramping up production to meet short-term high demand. However, the knock-on effect of this will be an oversupply of tanks, reduced levels of new production, and, possibly an increase in the number of tanks being disposed of.

“As it was not possible to guarantee regular deliveries to end-users during the pandemic, the tank container strengthened its role within a dedicated logistics supply chain, being used as a shipping tank, a road/rail intermodal tank and a storage tank,” Lee stated.

Looking ahead to the coming 12 months, he noted: “Many tanks being held by chemical companies are being returned – in part due to the easing of supply chain problems and in part due to the cost of holding tanks on demurrage. These include leasing tanks, which will put pressure on the leasing sector and the depots where they are stored.”

This year ITCO is celebrating its 25th anniversary. During this time, the organisation has worked to promote safe working practices in the industry and the safe handling of tank containers, as well as its sustainability and efficiency.

The complete survey can be downloaded from the ITCO website.