Flexi-Tanks and tanker trucks are both used to transport bulk liquids. Depending on what you’re shipping, from where, and to where you’re cargo is going, one method might be better than the other.
Flexi-Tanks and Flexi-Bags
A Flexi-Bag is a large bladder that sits inside a 20-foot container, called a Flexi-Tank. These two terms are often used interchangeably. They’re typically used to transport food grade liquids, but they may also be used to transport non-edible liquids.
|Food Grade Liquids
· Oils and fats
· Juice and juice concentrates
· Wine and water
· Food additives
· Industrial oils
· Cleaning liquids
· Latex and waxes
To prevent certain liquids from thickening during transport, heat pads can be added to the tank. Refrigeration is also available to prevent milk, wine, or other products from spoiling during transport.
Flexi-Tanks comes in a variety of sizes with standard volumes ranging from 16 to 24 thousand liters. Some will go as low as 10,000 liters.
This form of bulk liquid transport became popular because of the Flexi-Tanks’ ability to cut costs and save time.
- Depending on the size of your shipment, using Flexi-Tanks can save you several thousands of dollars on extra packaging because the Flexi-Bags (the bladders inside the Flexi-Tanks) are the largest packaging size.
- This can also save time on packing and unpacking.
- Thirdly, they reduce cargo loss during loading and unloading because the liquid can be readily drained from one vessel to another.
- Shippers only have to pay for one-way freight unlike tank containers where return freight is required.
- Flexi-bags are disposable, so shippers don’t have to pay a fee to clean them as is necessary with tank containers.
- Flexi-bags are made out of materials that are cheaper than tank containers and drums.
- Dry container chassis to transport cargo in a Flexi-bag are often more available than tank containers.
- And lastly, because the liquid stays in the Flexi-Tank throughout the entire shipping process, you can save money and time on door-to-door international shipping.
Food grade Flexi-Tanks have to meet strict sanitation standards. The bladders are typically for one-time-use only for hygiene purposes. Despite having to purchase new Flexi-Tanks for each shipment, there is still a net savings due to the advantages of Flexi-Tanks outline above.
Tanker trucks lack the large bladder lining on the inside, and are easily distinguished by their cylindrical shape. They are often used for transporting liquid fuels and gases, but the tanks can be built specifically for food transport as well.
|Food Grade Liquids
· Milk and other dairy
· Liquefied sugars
· Vegetable oils
· Heating oil
· Industrial chemicals
· Liquefied petroleum gas
Depending on their contents, tanker trucks can be pressurized, insulated, or refrigerated.
Tanker trucks come in several sizes with the ability to transport between 5,500 and 11,600 gallons (approximately 20,800 to 42,900 liters) with respect to weight restrictions. Small tanker trucks used for local deliveries will carry less than 3,000 gallons.
An advantage of tankers over Flexi-Tanks is that tankers can have up to 6 compartments. This makes them ideal for transporting gasoline because multiple grades can be transported in one trip. The delivery options are also greater with tankers than with Flexi-Tanks because tankers enable the transportation of multiple customers’ juice deliveries, milk deliveries, etc. all at once. In addition, tank containers and tankers are more durable and will have a longer lifespan under proper operating conditions. Thus, they may be more cost effective over the long-term if the same product is being moved.
Before a tanker or tank container is used again, it must be thoroughly cleaned and certified. This often costs the recipient of a shipment a few hundred dollars. There are stringent sanitation procedures for food grade tankers depending on what food is being transported. For example, the Juice Products Association has its guidelines for the juice industry. Tank containers are typically designated for a particular trade or product be it foodstuffs or chemicals. This reduces the likelihood of contamination.
Tank containers have some advantages over Flexi-Tanks including durability and longevity, but depending on your requirements, they might not pertain to bulk-liquid shipping needs. If you’re looking for ways to reduce shipping costs, Flexi-Tanks are worth researching.
Read about the benefits of Flexi-Tanks for bulk liquid wine transport.