The global flexitanks market was estimated at USD 208.5 million in 2014. Flexitanks offer huge cost savings as compared to traditional transportation methods for bulk commodity traders. The market is expected to experience substantial growth due to high need for flexible, efficient storage and portability of liquids. Furthermore, characteristics such as foldability, portability, and ease of setting up are expected to drive the growth over the forecast period.
Flexitanks are economical than drums & ISO tanks and hence, have become an important alternative for companies looking to save on transportation costs of non-hazardous liquids. In addition, they offer low loading costs and no repositioning cost, which is suitable for transport of bulk liquids to remote destinations.
Disposable bladders made up of polyethylene and polypropylene have overcome various problems associated with other IBC’c, ISO, or drum containers there by enhancing the global flexitanks market potential. Furthermore, with the usage of flexitanks, the risk of cross-contamination has reduced significantly since these bladders provide for one-time usage only.
Rapid globalization along with the easy availability of advanced means of transport has increased commodity trade. Sophisticated means of transport has helped in increasing efficiency and reducing costs. For example, bulk transportation helps reduce transportation costs and is an attractive option for shippers as it is cost effective.
Shipping commodities in bulk have proven to be environmentally and economically visible option. Rising popularity of bulk transport is expected to fuel flexitanks market over the forecast period. Flexitanks are a commercially economical solution to bulk liquid transportation needs.
Risks such as leakage of contained products are associated with the bulk fluid transfer and result in subsequent clean-up activities. These tanks cause distortion in the container as they are filled up to the brim. Therefore, most tanks have a maximum capacity constraint.
Single trips disposable bladder accounted for over 90% of total product demand in 2014 and hence was the leading product segment. These are preferred over multi trip bladder owing to cost effectiveness and greater carriage capacity. In the recent past, multi trip bladders were more popular than single trip bladders, however, extra costs of cleaning and repositioning resulted in the loss of share.
Single trip bladders help in eliminating these costs as there is no need for cleaning the tank after it is used. They also have very low repositioning costs associated with them. The single trip bladders are fabricated by using polyethylene sheets which are environment-friendly and hence disposal and recycling of used container are easier.
Multi-trip bladders are used in applications where the commodity is to be stored for some time before and after being transported to the destination. Multi-trip bladders find application in transporting irrigation water, potable water, and fire water.
Food stuff application was the most dominant application segment. Flexitanks also find application in transporting semisolid foodstuffs such as fruit concentrates, fruit juices, animal and vegetable fats, potable water and edible oil. They are also used to carry wine in bulk quantities.
Flexitanks are also used for transporting all types of non-hazardous liquid chemicals. They not only reduce cleaning and repositioning costs but also carry more quantity of liquid than its counterparts. In addition, oil and industrial product also can be easily transported through flexitanks.
Asia Pacific was the most dominant region and accounted for over 60% of the total volume in 2014. The growth can be attributed to factors such as the positive growth of commodity export from countries such as Vietnam, China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Asia Pacific has become a manufacturing hub for most of the industrial and chemical products. The region has been exporting various food items since a long time. High commodity exports from Asia Pacific have increased the demand for disposable bladders in the region. High chemicals and industrial product export from the U.S. along with massive food stuff export from Mexico and Canada is expected to fuel market growth in the region.
Europe is an important exporter of wine and other foodstuffs. Countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, and Denmark are key exporters of products such as olive oil, malt extracts, and fruit juices. Rising manufacturing industry in UK and Germany has increased flexitanks demand from oils and chemical application segment. Bladders being a new form of transportation are expected to witness substantial growth.
Some of the major companies manufacturing flexitanks include Qingdao LAF Packaging Co. Ltd, Environmental Packaging Technologies Inc., SIA Flexitanks Ltd. and Trans Ocean Bulk Logistics Ltd. High level of integration has been witnessed within logistic suppliers, manufacturers, and distributers. Other manufacturers of flexitanks are Bulk Liquid Solutions, Mak & Williams, BLT Flexitank, Trust Flexitanks, MY FlexiTank, and KriCon Group BV. The companies have integrated throughout flexitanks production and logistics services.
Research Support Specialist, USA