What are the benefits of shipping in a flexitank compared to drums or ISO tanks ?
The quick answer is, flextanks provide several advantages over both of these modes of transport.
You can transport up to 6,340 gallons (24,000 L) of many products in a 20’ shipping container fitted with a BOLT flexitank but generally you can only fit eighty 55-gallon drums, meaning just 4,400 gallons (16,655 L) while paying the same oceanfreight rate. Isn’t the goal to reduce your costs so you can secure new business or keep the business you have ? Once you’re finished with the one-use BOLT flexitank, it you can dispose of it, recycle it or burn it up as a fuel source. Drums need to be cleaned, dried and warehoused if you plan on using them again.
The flexitank was patterned after an ISO tank, with the loading and discharging being nearly identical. With both offering similar sizes, there is very little difference with regards to the amount of product one can ship. But with ISO tanks, you’re paying for container prep, cleaning and tank rental. And, if you’re shipping somewhere that doesn’t offer your ISO tank operator much in the way of exports (ex. Latin America, the Middle East, Australia/New Zealand), you’re paying for repositioning of the empty equipment to where they can use it again, whether you know it or not. It’s built into your rate ! And with a one-use BOLT flexitank, you don’t have the risk of product contamination that exists when using ISO tanks.
Is my product suitable for transport in a flexitank ?
The easiest way to determine that is to send us a copy of the MSDS for the product(s) you’d like to ship and we’ll help you find the right equipment to suit your needs. Please not that your equipment must not be listed as hazardous by the IMO to even be considered.
I tried flexitanks in the past and they leaked.
While not as much of a question as it is a historical fact, it’s something we’ve heard time and again. As mentioned previously, flexitanks were patterned after ISO tanks, so they started out as multi-use modes of transport. They had to be cleaned and dried so they could be used again. The only way to do a thorough job of that was to pull the tank thru the 3” valve to wash it, then hang it upside down so that it would dry. I don’t know anyone who would feel confident there would be no product contamination with that process in place. The original flexitanks were made out of butyl-rubber. Butyl-rubber is what they make bicycle tires out of and no one thinks of them as being rugged. If you have or are picturing a flexitank like a water balloon, this is probably why. Now add to that the fact that it was a multi-use !
Fast forward to a point in time where plastics can be made better and less expensive … less expensive enough that utilizing a one-use flexitank makes sense and you’ve eliminated contamination issues. With multiple layers, you’ve increased the reliability over the original design many, MANY times over. According to recent studies by some of the largest global chemical manufacturers in the world, flexitanks now match the success rate of ISO tanks for international shipping.
How are BOLT’s flexitanks different ?
The BOLT flexitank utilizes a stainless steel flange, allowing for greater torque to be applied, securing the flexitank layers to the valve. Speaking of the valve, it also has a stainless steel handle and locking pin. The reasons for utilizing stainless steel for the flange, handle and locking pin when the rest of the industry uses plastic is simple: it increases our success rate. The flange, handle and locking pin are the top 3 areas that flexitanks fail from an engineering standpoint.
These factors, along with a container selection criteria and container preparation in line with the global flexitank initiative of the Container Owners Association, ensure that BOLT flexitanks have superior reliability in the industry.