Flexitank Logistic Challenges Turned Into Competitive Advantages

Better logistics create benefi ts for local business and are vital for its competitiveness. A decade ago, the word ‘fl exitank’ was not familiar, even among those quite knowledgeable about bulk packaging technology.

However, since 2000, there has been unprecedented expansion of this new and effi cient method of transporting liquids. The growing popularity of fl exitank has been demonstrated by the increasing numbers of flexitank shipments and volumes shipped globally. The fl exitank market has been expanding at a rate of 20% per annum on average over the last seven years. This is due not only to the product’s obvious advantages over other packaging/transporting options, but also to certain market trends: Depressed economies are a major market driver of increased fl exitank usage because flexitanks are cheaper than alternatives and most companies are under pressure to reduce cost of delivered product.

The fast growing emerging markets often lack logistics infrastructure. Flexitanks present a cost- and time-effi cient method of transporting non-hazardous liquids to destinations which cannot be reached by tankers or larger volumes carriers. Environmental concerns and regulations put pressure on companies, forcing them to reduce volume of packaging and the impact of their supply chains on the environment.

Flexitank is single-use packaging and part of its material can be recycled. The weakness of key consumer sectors (such as automotive) forces industrial consumers in the lubricant industry (which represents about 43% of fl exitank deliveries) to reduce stocks in order to limit exposure to market volatility and to order smaller volume, i.e., using fl exi-tank rather than regular cargo. Other major flexitank consuming industries – like wine and vegetable oils, with about 20% and 27% of the market respectively – depend on sourcing product largely on a global basis. With the current economic slowdown, the manufacturers are looking for cost-effective ways to handle shipping and logistics. Modern fl exitanks overcome many of the problems associated with ISO tank containers, IBCs, or drums. Our customers prefer fl exitank because of its major advantages: Bigger capacity: Due to its fl exibility, every inch of container space is available allowing the shipment of 31% more content than with IBC, totes, and drums. Delivery period is as fast as bulk cargo. No significant cash involvement: No price risk (prompt loading and short transit time). Lower positioning costs: Less need for packaging, handling, and loading; and no return freight costs. ‘Eco-friendly’ packaging: The polyethylene material of the flexitanks can be recycled. Indeed this plastic material can be melted down and re-used almost indefinitely for making products. Flexitank can be used for storage: Either temporary or even as an alternative to a permanent storage tank. Integrated service: Shipping containers can be transferred to trucks, so flexitank can serve as a cost-effective door-to-door package for deep inland and diffi cult to reach destinations.

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