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Flexitanks & ISO tank containers – a shipper’s guide to liquid goods

Not all cargo fits into the standard boxes. Sometimes, the ideal container is both square and round. In this shipper’s guide to liquid goods, you will learn everything you need to know about flexitanks and ISO tank containers.

What are flexitanks?

Flexitanks are shipping containers that carry non-hazardous liquid goods. Imagine a bag-in-box of wine. A flexitank container works pretty much the same way. A large bag is fitted into a standard 20 feet container, filled with up to 24. 000 litres of liquid cargo, and secured in place to avoid movement during transport. ​​Flexitanks are made of multiple layers of polyethene and a woven outer layer of polypropylene to provide the strength, flexibility, and durability required to carry liquids across the globe safely.

What liquid cargo can I ship with flexitanks?

Flexitanks are suitable for a large variety of non-hazardous liquids ranging from foodstuffs, feed, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and industrial goods. Examples of common liquids shipped by flexitanks are cooking oil, water, wine, beer, biodiesel, base oil, transformer oil, automotive oils, glycerin, emulsions, detergents, and additives.

What are ISO tank containers?

ISO tank containers are shipping containers that carry both non-hazardous and hazardous liquid goods. They have the same frame dimensions as standard containers but are cylindrical and designed to withstand hazardous substances. ISO tank containers are made from stainless steel with insulation and a protective layer of aluminium or polyurethane to carry liquids according to high safety standards.

What liquid cargo can I ship with ISO tank containers?

ISO tank containers have long proven to be a safe, flexible and universal transport solution for any type of liquid cargo as well as pressurised and refrigerated liquid gases. You can ship a wide range of items, from edible fluids and non-hazardous liquids to dangerous materials such as toxins, flammables and explosives.

What are the benefits of flexitanks?

1. Flexitanks are environment-friendly 

Flexitanks are 100% recyclable. They are constructed from materials that meet food-grade quality standards and comply with FDA, BGA, and EEC directives.

2. Flexitanks have large shipping capacity

The shipping capacity of flexitanks ranges from 12. 000 to 24. 000 litres. They can ship 40% more cargo than drums and 15% more than intermediate bulk containers.

3. The risk of cargo loss is minimal with flexitanks

Flexitanks are easy to handle and install. As they are light in weight and do not require a forklift at loading and unloading, the risk of cargo loss is minimal.

4. No empty positioning costs with flexitanks

Stocks of Flexitanks are available on the ground at almost all major ports worldwide. This means no need for costly management at loading facilities, potentially thousands of miles from its last cargo journey.

5. Flexitanks eliminate cleaning and storage costs

As flexitanks are disposable, there is no cleaning cost when using flexitanks. Also, no additional storage is required as flexitank itself is a reliable storage unit.

6. Flexitanks can be designed to meet exact needs

Flexitanks can be equipped with bottom discharge, foil barrier, insulation, heaters, or auto-air vents for liquid goods sensitive to oxygen, moisture, or temperature.

What are the benefits of ISO tank containers?

1. Less carbon footprint with ISO tank containers

ISO tank containers are reusable and can be used over and over again. Their carbon footprint is also 50% less than an equivalent drummed shipment on long-haul routes.

2. ISO tank containers allow you to ship large goods volumes

The shipping capacity of tank containers ranges from 21.000 to 26.000 litres. A 20-foot tank container can carry up to 70% more liquid than a 20-foot container with drums.

3. ISO tank containers reduce the risk of cargo damage

The stainless steel shells of ISO tank containers ensure liquid goods arrive safely and free from contamination. The robust tank also protects the goods from corrosion and extreme weather conditions.

4. Manage product temperature with ISO tank containers

ISO tank containers feature an insulated, protective layer that minimises heat impact when in transit. It is also possible to adjust temperatures for goods requiring heating or cooling during transit or prior to discharge.

5.  ISO tank containers are easy to handle

Thanks to rooftop manholes and bottom valves, ISO tank containers are easy to handle and require minimal manual effort during cargo loading and unloading.

Hecksher ships your liquid cargo safely overseas

Hecksher has vast experience in handling both flexitanks and ISO tank containers. Our highly trained logistics professionals are dedicated to ensuring your liquid cargo is shipped safely overseas. We offer:

  • Installation
  • Loading and unloading
  • Disposal supervision
  • Door-to-door delivery
  • Pre-carraige and on-carriage
  • Customer clearance
  • Documents handling

Quickly need to get your hands on flexitanks or ISO tank containers?

We see a high demand for flexitanks and ISO tank containers as more shippers realise the benefits of these containers. However, not all freight forwarders offer them. To quickly get your hands on flexitanks or ISO tank containers in time for your shipment, contact us.

Yes, I need flexitanks or ISO tank containers today.

Susanne Olsson

Team leader Ocean Export Gothenburg