The Container Owners Association in 2013
As it enters its 9th year, the Container Owners Association is on course for its busiest 12 months todate, with a wide range of Technical and Research projects under way. In addition to these projects, the COA will also be organising several General Meetings and Industry-specific Meetings – and we will again be participating at relevant industry exhibitions during the course of 2013.

As the newly elected Chairman of the COA, I would like to take this opportunity to give you details of the principal activities that the COA will be working on in 2013.

A. Technical Projects
1. Database of refrigerant gas bottle testing facilities at reefer service centres
As part of the COA’s on-going work to act as an information platform for container owners, container depots and equipment suppliers, it will shortly be commencing work on the development of a database of reefer service centres worldwide, giving details of their refrigerant bottle testing equipment and capability.

2. Cargo Incident Notification System
The COA is continuing to manage the CINS, the Cargo Incident Notification System, the information-sharing project initiated by five shipping lines in 2011, and now expanded to 24 Members. Further development of the project will be taking place this year.

3. Participation in the IICL’s Floor Audit Program
As in previous years, COA Full Members can participate in the IICL’s Audit Program of container floor manufacturers, providing key information about floor suppliers.

4. International Standard for Flexitank Manufacturing
The COA’s Flexitank Code of Practice has contributed to a reduction in flexitank leakages and in container damage. The Code will continue to be enhanced in 2013, while work on a PAS (Publically Available Standard) has also started, which will become and internationally recognised and certifiable standard for flexitank manufacturing has begun.

5. Report on Water-based Container Coatings
In mid-January, the COA’s New Materials Committee published the latest revision to its “Report on the Availability of Water-based Paints for the Container Industry”, available to Members. The Report focuses on the issues relating to the search for water-based paints, the problems associated with the use of solvent-based paints and reviews the possible alternatives.

6. Study on Alternative Flooring Systems
At the end of last year, the COA published the latest update to its “Report on Alternative Flooring Systems”, which has proved to be an important industry reference work.

B. Conferences and Exhibitions
The COA will be organising a number of Conferences and Meetings:

1. COA General Members Meetings
• 12th COA General Meeting: Shanghai, 6/7 May 2013

• 13th COA General Meeting: Hamburg, 7 October 2013

2. 7th COA Flexitank Meeting: London, 23 May 2013
The COA will also be organising its COA Container Pavilion at the Intermodal Europe 2013 Exhibition in Hamburg (8 – 10 October 2013).

Please make a note of these dates, and I would like to warmly invite you to participate at these important and useful meetings.

C. Website and PR
In addition to the wide range of projects being undertaken by the COA, and the events that we are organising this year, the COA will also be enhancing its promotional activities.

Work has started on the re-design of the COA website (unchanged since 2005); and we are also introducing a structured PR programme, to ensure that the COA is promoted successfully via both traditional and new media.

Membership Fees: no increase in 2013
Recognising the tough business conditions for all companies in the container shipping business, the COA Board has agreed that, once again, there will be no increase in the COA Membership Fee in 2013. Compared to other similar international associations, the COA’s fee is still relatively low.

However, in order to maintain the continued efficient management of the Association, and at the same time to invest in the new projects which will benefit the membership, the COA Board would request that you pay your company’s membership invoice as quickly as possible.

I am sure that you recognise the value that Members receive from the COA, and I trust that your company will continue to be a member of this important and dynamic industry association.

Further Information and Contact Points
If you would like to receive further information on any of the items covered in this letter, please contact either myself or Patrick Hicks (COA Secretariat)

Thank you for your continued participation in the COA. Please accept my best wishes for 2013 – and I would like to wish you every success for the year ahead.

Michael Callus

Chairman, Container Owners Association