The Tank Container Industry

Tank containers operate in the intermodal transportation industry. This industry was founded in the 1960’s in response to the need to reduce international transportation handling costs. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) developed a standard specification for twenty-foot and forty-foot box containers. This permitted shipping lines, port authorities, railway companies and road transportation companies to standardise the equipment used to handle and transport these standard box containers.

Over the last forty years hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in ships, ports, rail cars and over-the-road chassis, designed to interface with standard containers.

Initially, for transporting liquids, pallets of 200-litre drums were loaded into box containers.

In the 1970s a specification was developed for the tank container, designed to move liquids in bulk. A tank container is a stainless steel pressure vessel mounted in a frame that interfaces with standard box container handling and transportation equipment. The manufacture and operation of a tank container is subject to extremely stringent regulations set by various organisations such as the United Nations, European rail and road authorities, the US Department of Transportation, the International Maritime Organisation and the International Standards Organisation. These regulations ensure that the tank container is manufactured and maintained to extremely high standards. They also make tank containers the most ecologically responsible way of transporting liquid chemicals, a fact that is being recognised by regulatory authorities throughout the world.