Trans Ocean can now formally celebrate its success in achieving the long awaited COA (Containers Owners Association) approval for its RhinoBulk™ and VinBulk™ flexitanks in accordance with the Recommended Code of Practice for Flexitanks.
As the market leader in bulk liquid logistics, Trans Ocean was concerned about the high correlation between the increase in new market entrants and the number of incidents and as such pioneered an effort with the COA to address the industry-wide situation. As a result Trans Ocean and the COA with a group of flexitank companies, shipping lines and other interested parties have dedicated the last four years to the development and implementation of a more formal approval process embodied with the COA Code of Practice.
Brendan McKenna, JF Hillebrand Board Member and head of Engineering and Manufacturing at Trans Ocean commented as follows: "I am very encouraged by the progress to date and thank all the participants for their hard work and support. Four years ago this looked like a very tough hill to climb and to be where we are today is truly an amazing achievement and testament to the value the flexitank can bring to the market when manufactured and operated in a safe and professional manner. I also believe this is only the first step in a process which will eventually lead the industry to full ISO certification for flexitanks. This has to be our long term goal."
Since June 2007, when the Flexitank Working Group (consisting of container shipping lines, flexitank operators and manufacturers) was formed, and the first parts of the code were created, it was obvious that more parties were becoming interested in the standard, and, for example, insurance and container logistics companies began to participate in the process.
By December 2008 the final draft document was produced - the COA- recommended Flexitank Code of Practice, consisting of the five part standard. After this time it was agreed that there would be a 12 month compliance and implementation period to allow flexitank manufacturers and operators to test their products according to the methods laid out in Part 2 of the code.
Part 2 of the code, which is central to the safe operation of the flexitanks, focuses on rail and material testing. Consequently, Trans Ocean put a significant amount of effort and resources into preparing for and passing the stringent testing procedures, including significant investment in testing equipment and training in the wholly owned Trans Ocean factories.
In fact Trans Ocean exceeds the requirements of the code in many areas. These areas deal with incidents and insurance, supported by a package that is fully and comprehensively tailored for door-to-door logistics; and in manufacturing by implementing additional tests, for example, on the tank materials to ensure consistent quality of raw material.
Lloyds Register witnessed and certified the testing carried out by Trans Ocean in accordance with part 2 of the COA Code of Practice and will continue to play an on-going role in follow-up audits and testing. This achievement is a significant milestone for the liquid bulk industry because the introduction of an industry standard will ensure responsible companies can continue to do business, guaranteeing a safer and more professional industry and in so doing continuing to provide economic value to the market.
The Code has been prepared by a Management Implementation Group (MIG) compromising two shipping lines (Maersk Line and Hapag-Lloyd); two flexitank companies (Trans Ocean and Braid); and one classification society/QA company (Lloyds register) and the COA Secretariat has acted as Chairman of this MIG.