International Liquid Terminals Association
ILTA adapts to meet the needs of an innovative, dynamic liquid terminal industry
By Kathryn Clay
Terminals provide essential logistics services that connect the U.S. economy with overseas markets and support domestic commerce in bulk liquid products. Liquid terminals facilitate the movement of bulk liquids between transportation modes, whether it be from ship to truck, ship to barge, or pipeline to rail. Our members’ facilities are a critical link in the movement of liquid commodities, such as crude oil, petroleum products, chemicals, fertilizers and liquid foods that are central to the U.S. and world economies.
Global markets for crude oil, petroleum products and chemicals are changing dramatically, and that means trade flows are evolving as well. As a key link needed to facilitate transportation of liquid commodities, liquid terminals are a dynamic and growing sector. In response to shifting trade patterns such as increases in U.S. oil production, new construction and expansion of terminals is underway to serve growing export demand. This includes facilities to store and handle commodities destined for use in the United States, as well as those slated for export.
The International Liquid Terminals Association is the only North American-based trade association with an exclusive focus on the liquid terminal industry. We understand the unique challenges confronting terminal owners and operators and serve as a committed advocate and key resource for our members. Founded in 1974, ILTA represents over 80 companies operating liquid storage terminals in all 50 states and in nearly 40 countries. ILTA’s membership also includes over 400 companies that supply products and services to the terminal industry.
From our metropolitan Washington, D.C. headquarters, ILTA closely monitors developments on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. To achieve common objectives in public policy discussions, ILTA works collaboratively with stakeholders in related industries such as oil extraction and refining, chemical manufacturing, ports and waterways, railways and pipelines. ILTA currently has eight full-time staff, and we are likely to expand in the coming year.
We know the knowledge base of our membership is our greatest resource, and it is the largest benefit that we offer to perspective and existing members. Our committees and working groups offer unparalleled opportunities to terminal professionals – whether they are executives, environment, health, safety and security professionals, or field operators – to gain new knowledge and job skills. Our Annual International Operating Conference and Trade Show is the industry’s premiere event, bringing as many as 4,500 industry professionals from around the globe to Houston each year. The trade show grows each year, and this past June nearly 350 companies came to showcase the latest products, services, tools and innovations on our trade show floor. We’re gearing up for our 40th annual conference and trade show in June 2020, marking a huge milestone not only for ILTA, but also for the tank and terminals industry.
Safety is the number one priority for the tanks and terminals industry, and another key benefit to ILTA membership is our annual Terminal Operating Practices Symposium, or “TOPS.” This important forum, exclusive to terminal company employees, allows operators to share with their peers best practices and lessons learned from incidents and near misses. ILTA members are also eligible to participate in our annual safety survey and awards program, which enables tank and terminal companies to benchmark their own safety performance relative to others in the industry. ILTA gives its highest safety recognition, the Platinum Award, each year to one large and one small company. The selection process is peer driven, with a committee of member company representatives evaluating the applications for the nominees’ commitment to safety culture. ILTA also provides online forums to allow terminal members to share ideas on safety and operations throughout the year.
The ILTA Board of Directors recently developed a strategic plan laying out a vision to grow our organization’s communications and advocacy dimensions. ILTA reaches out to policymakers in Washington and provides resources and tools to our members to aid them in communications efforts in their local communities. As we become an even stronger advocate for the tanks and terminal industry, we are also growing as an information resource for our members. We provide an information-filled monthly newsletter as well as a weekly supplemental newsletter that summarizes the most recent news and developments affecting the terminal industry. We produce an annual membership directory, host tailored training and educational programs, and are growing our social media presence.
Earlier this year, ILTA brought a group of terminal company executives to Capitol Hill for our first-ever industry “fly-in” – a full day of meetings with key lawmakers and their staffs. At these meetings, we made our case on key legislative issues that affect our industry.
For example, we relayed to Congressional offices the importance of rededicating the funding available in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to its original purpose – investing in maintenance and improvements to our nation’s ports, waterways, and harbors. We also asked Congress to ensure proper treatment of gasoline, diesel and fuel mixtures under the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Act as it proceeds with reauthorization of the program. Finally, we thanked Congress for listening to our industry and enacting legislation to require that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security study the effectiveness of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) before finalizing requirements for biometric readers at port and terminal facilities.
Another important area of ILTA advocacy on behalf of our membership this year is our engagement with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) regarding proper demurrage charging practices. Through meetings with the three members of the STB and their staffs, and through formal testimony, we have raised the STB’s awareness of the unfair implications for terminals of its earlier decisions pertaining to demurrage charges.
ILTA is committed to serving the tank and terminal industry, and we’re proud to be telling its story. We’re excited about the work ahead, particularly by growing and evolving to represent this dynamic industry.
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: International Liquid Terminals Association
WHAT: A trade association with an exclusive focus on the liquid terminal industry
WHERE: Arlington, VA