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A Comprehensive Guide on the Benefits and Usages of Flexitanks

Table of Contents

Flexitanks are the new way of transporting liquids. The old techniques were complicated, dangerous, and expensive. The good news is that flexitanks are now widely used which reduces the dangers and the costs involved. Flexitanks are easy to transport liquid forms in bulk. Check out this guide on exactly what flexitanks are, how to load and unload and which one is suitable for what you need to transport.

What Is a Flexitank?

Flexitanks are big bags/containers that go inside a conventional shipping container. These make shipping containers a safe and easy way to move bulk amounts of liquid. Many people now prefer to use flexitanks to transfer products that are suitable for consumption such as fruit, wine, oil, and food grade chemicals. Flexitanks can be transported via sea, land and the rail system. Flexitanks work well for transporting multi-purpose bulk liquid.

What Is a Flexitank Made Up Of?

A flexitank has many layers which are made up of polyethylene. The outside of the flexitank is made with polypropylene. Different flexitanks are manufactured in various ways, with some using certain materials such as these:

Bottom Discharge
Barrier Tanks
Double and single layered polyethylene
Multilayer polyethylene

To give you an easy description of a flexitank, if you were to fill it up with air it would represent a big soft cushion. Others say it looks like a big wine bag. The flexitank needs to be rectangular in shape so it will fit in a normal shipping container. A fun fact: The rectangular shape flexitank requires less seams than any other shape.

History of Flexitank Container

The flexitank has been around since the 1970s when people started to experiment transporting liquid in rubber bladders to Australia and South Africa. The downside to this was the pricing as they were over $5,000 for one. Once it had reached the 1990s and better technology evolved the rubber tanks became a thing of the past. They were improved by using thermo plastic also known as PVC. Going this way brought the price down significantly for those shipping out to $1800 per one. 

The first liquid to be shipped via the flexitanks was non-hazardous but many shippers didn’t want to take on the role of installing the tanks into the shipping containers. It became an opportunity for those selling the flexitanks as they started not only a supply service but also one that would fit them to.

People were starting to become drawn to the flexitanks not only for the supply and install tactic but because they have a lower tare weight when compared with shipping containers filled with metal drums. The difference is a 20-foot container has a capacity to hold 4,400 gallon which is around 80 drums. The flexitank can hold around 6,000 gallons. The other factor to consider is that the flexitank is more eco-friendly. A flexitank container with 24,000 litres has the capacity to hold 30,000 wine bottles whereas the containers can only hold 9,000. Thats a huge difference.

The drums are an environmental issue for chemical companies when it comes to the disposal of the drums. Better priced flexitanks came out in 2001 that used several layers of polyethylene. The downside is certain countries are making the flexitanks but they are using cheaper materials so they are lacking in quality and may not last as long as the other types available. The ept manufacturers use advanced automotive technology for the BIG Red flexitanks that are manufactured in the Michigan plant. Due to this and the improved quality control the creation costs have significantly reduced by 30% when not sourced from overseas. Even now the flexitanks are only used to deliver non-hazardous liquid.


The 5 Best Uses for Flexitanks

To Store Fuel

Oil, gasoline, and diesel can be stored in Flexitanks. In this case, they serve primarily as storage facilities who are protected by protective linings and berms, which provide additional containment protection. In emergency situations, both military and civilians use flexitanks to store fuel. During an emergency, fuel might be needed fast and thus, flexitanks would be useful for hospitals, emergency airports, and points of natural disaster.

Storing Portable Water

Flexitanks are used in many situations such as emergency operations and disaster relief worldwide. The good thing with flexitanks is they use minimal space and don’t take much to get them prepared for short notice transport. Flexitanks are perfect for transporting portable water off to areas where it may be in short supply. Portable water is perfect for field hospitals and emergency airports. Flexitanks can be used to store drinking water so the materials in which they are made must comply with certain regulations.

Liquid Storage in Food Grade Conditions

Flexitanks are used to store and transport food grade liquids safely. From milk, wine, fructose syrup and oils. Certain food grade products will require the tank to have certain types of inner linings to ensure there is no microbial contamination. The linings and outer materials of the flexitank need to be approved by the FDA/EU. 

The Storage for Industrial Chemicals

Flexitanks are important for safely transporting industrial strength chemicals. These can be anything from liquid latex, detergents, fertilisers, paint, and lubricants.

Non-Reusable and Temporary Storage

In different circumstances when liquid storage is required temporary it isn’t worth the money and hassle to get a composite rigid tank or even a steel one. These scenarios are mainly used when the liquid storage is fluctuating in such cases as droughts or when they are needed for industrial applications. It’s more cost effective to use flexitanks than other storage options. These types of tanks can transport liquids for temporary storage as they can be loaded when they are already inside the shipping container making it easier to ship and prepare.

5 Benefits Flexitanks Can Offer

Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs

When you are shipping out goods affordability is essential. Lowering costs where you can be important however you need to avoid compromising the products quality. This is where flexitanks come into cost management. If you are not using the drums and totes, then you are going to lower costs and save more space in the overall shipping container. It will allow you to transport a bigger volume amount and increase the speed time which will work to lower the costs as well. 

Reduce the Risk of Contamination

Due to the single-use nature of Flexitanks, contamination is not a concern. Whatever you have on board will be protected from start to finish. You do not have to worry about liquid loss or any type of contamination. 

Speed Up the Handling Process

The handling process can be time consuming when you are using totes and drums. This is due to the use of the machine assisted labour that move the containers to their shipping destination. Flexitanks avoid this issue. The handling process is easier and quicker because the tanks get emptied directly to the receiver’s storage area.
Food and Pharmaceutical Products Can Benefit from a More Effective Process
The flexitanks are produced with components that have been approved by the FDA. Pharmaceutical liquids and food liquid products can be transported and remain compliant. It can drastically improve the productivity of the transport process unlike transporting via totes and drums.

Reduce the Cost of Cleaning

These tanks are one-time use, but they can be recycled, decreasing the amount of waste that enters the environment. As the tanks don’t have to be returned to the starting point, you can reduce the amount you pay on the shipping fees. Now you are just left with hiring a container to be used for the one way which will lower the costs again. There is no cleaning fees and aftercare maintenance that comes into play. 

Capacity Recommendations by Liquid Type

Flexitanks capacity is measured in litres and it has a mass equivalent to 1g/cm3. It means the maximum load capacity for liquid types such as wine and water. A flexitank holds between minimum 16,000 up to 26,000 litres. The recommendations are as follows:
A flexitank that is transporting latex is no more than 24,000 litres
A flexitank tank transporting oil can be from 24,000 litres to 26,000 litres
A flexitank that transports wine is around 24,000 to 26,000 litres 
A flexitank for glycerine is between 19,000 to 20,000 litres

What is The Best Way to Use Flexitanks?

First, the flexitank is placed into a dry container. The liquid that is being transported will be put into the flexitank via a pump. Once it is full it is sealed up with a frame attached so it does not move around too much inside the unit. 

Tips for Using your Flexitank

Use Proper Hoses

Before any liquid goes into the flexitank you need to make sure that the hoses were previously cleaned properly and are compatible and safe to be using with the product it is being filled up with. It is best to check over before filling to ensure the valves are in the correct spot.

Setting Up Hoses Correctly

When you are setting up your hoses they must be installed and connected correctly. This will avoid adding extra pressure to the valves. Always ensure that the hose support mount is sitting at the same level as the valve. Any gases can change the quality of the products such as wine. Therefore it’s important to avoid the filler letting gases into the tank both before and after.

Use a Low Rate when Filling

When you start filling up 200 litres filling rate is a good place to start. Once you have reached 2,000 litres then you can up it to 700 litres each minute. Avoid going over 1,000 each minute. You also want to avoid overfilling and underfilling the bag.

What is the Process for Unloading a Flexitank?

First, you need to have spill prevention in place. It’s important when dealing with liquid products to have a drip tray there to avoid too much waste. The front side of the tank is lifted and then moved forward with a rolling motion to the door. The liquid can then flow to the valve easily. From here it continues until the tank is emptied. 

Can You Reuse a Flexitank?

Most flexitanks are a one-time use for temporary liquid transporting. Others can store liquid products for several years while others can be reused.

What is the Maximum Capacity of a Flexitank?

In most cases the flexitanks can hold a capacity of 10,000 to 24,000 litres. There are a couple of companies that do offer smaller ones of 1,000 litres and extra-large at 100,000 litres.

Pricing for a Flexitank

The great thing about flexitanks is the fact they are affordable. The cost depends on the type of flexitank you get and the capacity. The price range goes from 100 USD to 500 USD for a set. For the 20’ container you get heat tested valves which go for about 150 to 200 USD a set.

Flexitank Preparation

When it comes to preparing your flexitank it’s important that the outer shipping container is cleaned and organized before the flexitank goes in. If the correct preparation isn’t followed, then you could suffer punctures or flaws in the flexitank. Avoid putting a flexitank inside a container with a dirty or damaged floor.

Make Sure the Container is Clean

Before you even consider putting the flexitank anywhere near the container you need to remove any first or debris that is on the floor or the walls. Check the floor for any damage such as dents, scratches and screw sticking up that can damage the flexitank and cause it to leak. If you do see any screws sticking up or rough spots on the floor or wall you can cover with heavy duty duct tape. This will give the flexitank a soft smooth spot to rest on. Do a final check and ensure that you have a safe, clean, and hygienic area for the flexitank to go.

Cover Rough Welds

Inside the shipping container there are normally two welds and some on the front wall of the container. You need to make sure the welds are covered, and duct tape will do the job. The tape will stop any chaffing from occurring and creating weak spots.

How to Install a Flexitank

Before you go ahead and install the flexitank you need to check the box for any damage. If none is observed, then go ahead and remove the tank from the box. In nearly all cases you need to place the flexitank on the right side of the container on the floor. Now you can unfold it by going towards the nose and unroll carefully so it comes out evenly. Next you need to push the long folds towards the walls and make sure that the flaps are even on each side. There are a few flexitanks that come pre-folded to the size of your container making it easier to install.
How to Install the Bulkhead

Ensure there are no cuts, dents or scuffs on the flexitank and ensure the valve is in the correct position on the right side facing the door. Now you can go ahead and install the bulkhead. For the first step you need to get the bulkhead into position and ensure you have the fold underneath the tank. The adjustable bar goes in now but make sure the adjustable part is situated on the left side. You need to now press the button, so the inner bar retracts and then put it in the shoring slot then release the bar into position. The second bar goes in the shoring slot and is held down by Velcro. The same process can be used for the other bars.

Along the centre line you need to place the door buffers which are for the top bars only. It is important that you avoid putting a buffer on the button. You can now fit the valve retention plate by pulling it through the hole that should already be pre-cut. It will come through the bulkhead sheet area. Grab the clip and place it around the valve then it will go into the slot and kept secured with the ties that came with it.

Are There Any Risks of Contamination for Multiuse Tanks?

Bulk liquid contamination can also occur during the transportation of liquids. A tank container that hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly could cause contamination. Having been designed as single-use containers, their contents are contaminant-free. No matter what liquid you are moving, disposable containers are generally preferable. It is still possible for liquid residue to cause contamination, as with fresh milk.

Flexitank: FAQs

Does Flexitank Have a Maximum Temperature They Can Hold?

The LLDPE liner can withstand temperatures of 80°C maximum. For safety measures it’s best to stick to a loading temperature of 65°C maximum. If the product loading temperature gets to between 60-70°C the flexitank needs to stay static for a minimum of 8 hours once the lading is finalised.

Is It Possible to Get Flexitanks in Custom Sizes?

Some companies offer customised flexitanks for the perfect size that you need.  You can also add extra features to the flexitank if needed such as:

Air venting system 
Oxidation protection
Heating pad system 
Bottom or top loading
Multiple or single layers

Do Flexitanks Have an Expiry?

The good thing about flexitanks is they can last for over 20 years when used correctly and under the right conditions. Most will come with a ten-year warranty. It is advisable not to use them past the 20-year mark as they can start to wear down.

Are Flexitanks Better Than Drums?

There’s a few advantages that flexitanks have over drums and tanks such as:

Flexitanks are safer than drums and tanks
Are ready for use at short notice as no cleaning is required.
Flexitanks are reusable and can be recycled making them eco-friendly
You can reuse ocean containers when you use a flexitank.
Easier to use and don’t require any maintenance
More affordable

Is the Heating Pad Reusable?

The good thing about flexitanks is the fact their heating pads are re-usable. The heating pad will take up to 6 hours to heat what is inside the flexitank which is positioned on the bottom on the tank, so it gains proper even distributed heat. 

Is Any Maintenance Required?

Flexitanks do not need much maintenance but what they do require will be dependent on whether you are using a single use flexitank tank or not. It will also depend on what you are transporting. To be honest there is basically no maintenance required.

Does Products Stay Fresh in a Flexitank?

Due to there being no air and light inside the flexitank products like wine, oil and water stay fresh. People who order water in always compliment how fresh it stays which offers positive effects on any produce they are growing.

How Are Flexitanks Stored?

Flexitanks are stored into a box and are pliable making them easy to store. Flexitanks don’t need to be stored in a large space and their size makes them easy for transporting or relocating. They can be folded to save space.

We Have the Flexitank Solution for You.

So, after reading all about flexitanks in this helpful guide you should have a fair idea of what you are looking for just how a flexitank can benefit you and exactly how to use one. Whether you want to lease or you are after a more permanent solution it’s easy to proceed. All you need to do is open a tab and start browsing our affordable offers available to you. There is no commission, great offers, and a friendly team who are ready to help you make the right decision based on your needs. If you are still undecided about whether this is the right solution for you give the team a call and their helpful staff will answer all your questions. If you are new to flexitanks and shipping not a problem we can help, explain how it all works in easy-to-understand terms. We reduce the costs and pass the savings onto you.


Flexitanks are an easy and affordable transport solution to help get your liquid where it must go. Other products don’t offer as many advantages and affordable options for liquid transport as flexitanks do. With our products you can be sure we have the safety standards in place and proper transportation to get your product where it must go safely. Many methods out there are unreliable and cannot be trusted to do right by their customers, but you can trust our flexitanks to efficiently and safely transport your goods.