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Tank storage industry reveals top concerns

Published by , Senior Editor
Tanks and Terminals,

A survey of 171 decision-makers in the bulk liquid storage sector has revealed that their key priorities this year include boosting capacity, reducing costs and meeting environmental standards, as the oil price slowly rebounds and demand for more specialist storage grows.

The survey, conducted by the organisers of StocExpo Europe, revealed that the participants viewed cost reduction as the number one priority (49%), followed by increasing efficiency (44%) and increasing profitability (35%).

The International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) recent decision to reduce the content of sulfur fuels by 2020 is the latest environmental regulation that will impact the industry. This has resulted in many operators having an increased focus on more environmentally sustainable operations in the face of more exacting customer requirements. Environmental standards were listed as the top priority by 27% of survey participants.

In Europe, 40% of respondents listed environmental standards as a key issue for operators. However, only 14% of respondents in the Middle East and 11% in Asia see it as one of their top three priorities. In North America, 62% of respondents see environmental demands as a key storage issue.

Storage issues

The volatile oil price remains a key issue that impacts the sector in all key storage regions.

A total of 46% of participants said that the oil price is a crucial issue that impacts the success of the industry.

Significant investment cuts, which have led to a slowdown in new upstream projects, have also impacted the industry, with 39% of respondents listing the lack of investment opportunities as a key concern.

More than one in four participants say that investment has been affected the most by the fluctuating oil price. However, 16% say that cash flow has been impacted the most, while 13% say that growth in general has been the biggest casualty.

Nick Powell, StocExpo & Tank Storage Portfolio Event Director, said: “The results of this survey highlight some very interesting themes that are affecting the industry. It is not at all surprising that the fluctuating oil price is a key concern for the sector, however there is the hope that oil prices will continue to rise in the future.

“It is encouraging to see how important environmental standards are for those working in tank storage, particularly given the emergence of new legislation around this, and it is something that all our events strongly focus on.”

Many of the issues highlighted by the research are addressed by the StocExpo Europe 2017 conference, which returns to the Ahoy Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 28 - 30 March. One of the event’s seven expert panel sessions will feature Abel Noordanus, Commercial Manager at Odfjell, Martijn Notten, CEO of Vesta Terminals, Laurent Hatzopoulos, Manager of Third Party Storage at Shell Trading, and Walter Wattenberg, CEO of LBC Tank Terminals. The panel debate will cover issues affecting terminal costs, efficiency, new investments and ways to increase throughput.

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