ILTA members, suppliers assemble at 38th International Operating Conference for industry updates, annual safety awards presentation

Aug. 31, 2018
THE International Liquid Terminals Association experienced plenty of change in the past year, with new speakers, award winners and a new president, Kathryn Clay

THE International Liquid Terminals Association experienced plenty of change in the past year, with new speakers, award winners and even a new president, Kathryn Clay – who’s also the vice president of policy for the American Gas Association – debuting at ILTA’s 38th Annual International Operating Conference & Trade Show.

But one thing remained the same – the regular gathering in Houston, Texas, still is the unrivaled source of the latest and most essential information ILTA members need to thrive in the liquid terminal industry.

The multi-day event, which ran June 11-13 at the Marriott Marquis Houston and George R Brown Convention Center, included 39 educational sessions, four training courses, two networking receptions and a world-class trade show. More than 4,100 terminal industry professionals from around the world participated, including many ILTA terminal and supplier members.

Nearly 80% of trade show exhibitors were ILTA supplier members.

Clay opened the event by noting the terminal industry’s importance in the global supply chain and its role as a fundamental link between various industries and the transportation network. She said ILTA will work with allied associations to shape policy by achieving common goals, but the direct engagement of member companies remains equally important.

Breakout sessions during the conference covered a wide variety of topics, including standardized audits, emergency response, environmental due diligence, flood prevention, incident management, cybersecurity risk mitigation, terminal valuations and virtual reality.

Of particular interest was the “Approaches to Detecting Leaks and Measuring Fugitive Emissions” session featuring Brandon Mogan, president of Tora Consulting, Terence Trefiak, president of Target Emission Services, and Peter Weaver, vice-president of business development for Orbital Sidekick, which Bulk Transporter highlighted in this year’s comprehensive coverage of the annual event.

They discussed new ways to look for leaks from micro and macro perspectives, offering informed opinions on the advantages of new technology and why they advocate for optical gas imaging over traditional Method-21 “sniffing.”

“You’re not just looking at regulated components,” Trefiak said. “With a camera, you’re looking at all the equipment that has pressurized product. So, you might be looking at a component and you see a pinhole leak in a vessel, or a crack in a vessel, that’s leaking that you normally wouldn’t test with Method-21, because it’s not a regulated component.”

Weaver, an industry veteran, espoused similar confidence in his startup company’s ability to deliver breakthrough leak detection technology using aerial and space-based hyperspectral imaging.

“We asked the question, would a pipeline operator who’s obligated to do periodic overflights, periodic inspections of their pipeline, prefer or be willing to migrate away from a … subjective visual report from someone looking out of an airplane, and move to a much more objective, higher-value spectral analysis, especially if this shift can be accomplished with marginal increased cost to the operator?” Weaver said.

“We strongly feel the answer is yes. Pipeline operators are going to be very interested in that kind of information.”

Bulk Transporter also breaks down sessions on cybersecurity – a growing area of concern for terminal professionals in the modern era – transloading techniques for moving LPG and butane, and the new Mexican frontier for liquid terminals.

The conference concluded with the 12th Annual ILTA Safety Awards and a keynote address from author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, an innovation expert.

Building on themes from his book “Innovation as Usual: How to Help Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life,” Wedell-Wedellsborg examined six key behaviors of innovators, providing insights on how reframing problems can lead to better solutions.

Attendees learned how to apply his approach to set goals, recognize opportunities where innovative thinking can be applied, get buy-in from peers, obtain approval from management and garner organization-wide support for their ideas.

The annual safety awards recognized 20 terminal member companies for outstanding safety performance.

ILTA last year amended the qualifying requirements for the Safety Excellence and Platinum Safety awards to maintain a rigorous program coincident with industry-wide safety improvements. Despite the more stringent requirements, a record number of companies were recognized at this year’s breakfast.

“This is an accomplishment that is certainly worthy of public recognition, and it’s one of the most important things ILTA does as a terminal community,” said Clay, who presented the awards with Peter Lidiak, the organization’s vice-president of government affairs.

Recipients were picked from companies participating in ILTA’s 2018 Safety Survey, which included a record 65 percent of ILTA’s terminal membership. They averaged a record-low 1.46 total recordable incident rate (TRIR), which is based on data required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Our goal, in the long term, is to get that up to 100-percent participation, but we are very grateful for those who participated this year,” Clay said.

The 16 Safety Excellence Award winners, who achieved a TRIR of 0.75 or lower in 2017 (with the incident rate for companies with fewer than 100 full-time employees averaged over multiple years), were Andeavor Logistics, Benchmark River & Rail Terminals, Contanda, Demaco, Energy Transfer Partners, Enterprise Products Partners, Ergon Terminaling Inc, Intercontinental Terminals, Martin Operating Partnership, Motiva Enterprises LLC, Murphy USA, Petro-Diamond, Phillips 66, Plains All American Pipeline, US Venture and Vopak Americas.

Andeavor, Benchmark and Intercontinental also secured five-year Safety Milestone Awards, and Petro-Diamond garnered ILTA’s first 10-year Safety Milestone Award.

Winners of the Platinum Safety Award, the liquid terminal industry’s highest safety honor, were MIPC in the small company division and Citgo Petroleum Corporation in the large division, which includes companies with 200 or more full-time employees. Citgo claimed its fifth Platinum award.

Seeler Industries’ 3 Rivers Terminal and Apex Oil Company’s Petroleum Fuel & Terminal Company took home Safety Improvement Awards for demonstrating significant, consistent improvement in safety performance over a three-year period, and showing a current total TRIR that’s 40% less than the average of the three prior years.

The trade show featured 345 exhibiting companies, including 54 first-time exhibitors, and the ILTA’s Third Annual Trade Show Symposium, with sessions addressing ways to improve the terminal inspection process.

ILTA’s 39th Annual International Operating Conference and Trade Show is set for June 3-5, 2019, in Houston, where it will return to the Marriott Marquis, with the trade show taking place in Halls A and B of the GRB convention center. ILTA reported 85% of the 2019 exhibitor space already was sold as of July 1.

Sales for past exhibitors and ILTA members are open for 2019. General sales start September 3.

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