About the Report
As demand for flexible packaging solutions rise, flexitank deployment is increasing on a large scale across various industries. Gains are being underpinned by increasing adoption across the food, oils, chemical, and industrial goods domains. Preference for single trip flexitanks due to their easy disposal is being recorded.
Over the years, manufacturers have incorporated a wide range of flexitanks made from highly sustainable materials, including high-grade biodegradable plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene. Prominent players are finding lucrative opportunities across the North American market, as key industries adopt the transition towards flexible packaging on a priority basis.
In its new study, consulting firm Fact.MR offers insights about key factors driving demand for flexitanks. The report tracks the global sales of flexitanks in 20+ high-growth markets, along with analyzing the impact COVID-19 has had on the industrial goods market in general, and demand for flexitanks in particular.
Historical Trends Vs Future Growth Projections
In the recent past, mounting concerns over increasing transportation costs associated with key events such as product losses due to spoilage and accidents, high labor and raw material costs, and surging business operations have ushered in a global transition towards more affordable alternatives. As such, the development of flexitanks acquired center stage.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a deceleration was experienced with respect to transportation of industrial goods, attributed to government-imposed shutdowns to enforce social distancing protocols. Furthermore, ceasing trade activities ushered in a contraction in global transaction levels, with only essential commodities such as food and pharmaceutical products being transported.
However, with economies picking up again, a gradual resurgence of production activities is rebounding previously estimated forecasts, restoring the trajectory to pre-pandemic levels. Prolific opportunities are anticipated across the food and liquids segments in particular, as global population explosion stimulates higher food production.
How are Rising Shipping Costs Accelerating Adoption of Flexitanks?
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), global trade as of 2019 was valued at nearly US$ 25 trillion, including both, merchandise and commercial services. Manufactured goods represented 70% of global merchandise trade during the year. As global trade volumes surge, demand for efficient transportation and packaging solutions have also experienced a major incline.
E-commerce giant Amazon, for instance, reported a 46% increase in its global shipping costs by Q3 2019, reaching US$ 9.6 billion. Also, a report published by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals stated that, U.S. businesses spent a record US$ 1.64 trillion on logistics in 2018, representing a 11.4% upsurge from 2017, while storage and inventory costs jumped by nearly 15%.
Taking into account these figures, key industries are looking to invest in cheaper transportation and packaging solutions, thus stimulating demand for flexitanks in recent years.
Flexitanks offer 15% greater payload than IBCs, 44% more payload than drums, and 50% more payload than bottles. Furthermore, flexitanks help reduce labor costs as loading procedures are quicker. Incorporating environmentally friendly material also helps reduce raw ingredient costs, rendering this approach highly economical.
How is Increasing Food Wastage Bolstering Demand for Flexitanks?
According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 33% of the world’s food is lost to waste, amounting to 1.3 billion tons in volume terms each year.
In micro-terms, this translates to roughly 1,000 tons per minute. Nearly half of this is lost during the production stage. Besides throwing away surplus food, spoilage due to inappropriate storage is contributing to a significant proportion of wastage.
Moreover, improper transportation from the harvest to retail stage is a major culprit behind this loss. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that, 14% of the world’s food is lost during transit. This is largely because in certain containers, deterioration occurs through spontaneous breakdown of complex organic molecules. Additionally, produce is also destroyed by insects, rodents, and other unwanted biotic components.
Conventional food containers manufactured from metals often lead to accumulation of microbes due to the presence of moisture and air.
Hence, food distributors and producers are investigating more sustainable transportation and storage solutions, contributing to enhanced uptake of flexitanks across key geographical regions.
High-grade plastics containing high-grade polyethylene or polypropylene help inhibit microbial growth by preventing heat and moisture accumulation, thus enhancing food longevity during transit.
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Will Increased Frequencies of Liquid Spills Spur Market Growth?
With increase in maritime trade and seaborne transportation, incidence of accidents with respect to oil and chemical spills in international and domestic waters has surged.
According to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) Limited, in the 2010s, there were 63 oil spills of 7 tons or more, resulting in 164,000 tons of oil wastage, with 91% of it being lost in just 10 incidents, with one responsible for 70% of the quantity spilt.
Majority of these spills occur as a result of improper storage while in transit. Containers manufactured from metals and alloys are generally heavy, at times superseding the weight of the vessel.
Due to this imbalance, ruptures often occur in the container and the ship, leading to massive damage and losses. Hence, uptake of lightweight yet high-capacity transport solutions is rising, providing a wide ground for flexitanks adoption.
Hence, production of flexitanks capable of transporting liquids up to more than 20,000 liters are being manufactured on an increasing scale.
These containers are not only lightweight and less accident prone, but can also yield significant cost savings by minimizing storage space, enabling key liquid chemical manufacturers to concentrate on other operations.
Will Mounting Concerns over Single Trip Flexitanks Restrain Market Expansion?
While significant tilt has been witnessed towards single trip flexitanks due to perceived benefits, concerns have mounted regarding their piling up. Just like conventional discarded packaging containers, single use flexitanks also end up as landfills, despite being impregnated with sustainable materials.
As the global community rushes to achieve its environmental sustainability targets, single trip flexitanks are proving to be a significant impediment, delaying achievement deadlines and implementation of stricter regulations.
Anticipating this trend, manufacturers are now emphasizing on producing multi trip flexitanks so as to increase their usage frequency, thus sustaining market growth.
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How is the Booming Flexible Package Industry Fueling Flexitank Sales in the U.S.?
According to estimates by the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), the U.S. flexible packaging industry generated nearly US$ 32 billion in sales in 2018, accounting for around 19% of the total US$ 170 billion packaging industry.
Almost three out of five flexible packaging solutions were deployed across the food industry. Going by these trends, the scope for flexitanks is poised to enjoy a high growth trajectory through 2021 and beyond.
Consequently, a number of regional level manufacturers have experienced wide revenue margins in recent years. Houston-based Environmental Packaging Technologies Ltd. (EPT) is a prominent player manufacturing huge polyethylene flexitank pouches designed to transport liquids.
These pouches are capable of holding over 15% volume as compared to intermediate bulk containers, and 40% more as compared to traditional drums. As of the beginning of the previous decade, the company accrued US$ 65 million in revenue.
Likewise, Techno Group has a significant presence offering proprietary flexitank designs that eliminate contamination risks and environmental hazards.
Their core application areas include wine, oil, and food products transportation, respectively. The company’s flexitanks are manufactured from polypropylene, and can withstand volumes of up to 24,000 liters (6,340 gallons), fitting inside a standard 20 foot freight container.
Why is the U.K. an Emerging Market for Flexitank Packaging Solutions?
According to the Packaging Federation, the U.K. packaging industry employs nearly 85,000 people - representing 3% of the total manufacturing industry workforce, with sales in excess of £11 billion.
With productivity levels expanding twofold as compared to other industries’ average, the country is at the forefront of product innovation and manufacturing technology.
Such promising figures have generated a wide platform for prominent flexitank manufacturers, leading to positive growth prospects. Prominent players operating within the U.K. landscape include BSFL Packaging, Ethimex Ltd. and SGS UK, among others.
BSFL Packaging, for instance, offers standard 20-foot sea and railway containers for transporting non-hazardous liquids of volumes ranging from 14,000 to 24,000 liters. They are designed for single-trip use, and are recyclable besides being environmentally friendly.
Likewise, Ethimex Ltd. offers flexitanks capable of transporting wines from 16,000 to 24,000 liters. These flexitanks comprise multilayer polyethylene/PVC, inserted into a 20 foot container. The company has its operations spread throughout Europe and Asia. Also, SGS UK is a pioneer in offering flexitank solutions for the oil & gas industry.
Will High Chemical Exports Bolster the Growth Outlook in Germany?
Germany is a major player in the global chemical industry, accounting for 70% of the European export market, according to Germany Works. As of 2019, German chemical exports were valued at € 118 billion, with a global market share exceeding 9%.
Furthermore, according to Germany Trade & Investment, more than a quarter of EU-28 chemical industry revenue is contributed by German companies, with an average annual growth rate nearing almost 5% since the past six decades.
Such prolific developments have provided a massive impetus to the logistics industry. Already generating an annual turnover of €50 billion, it contributes nearly 30% of global revenue.
Attributed to all these aforementioned broad developments, flexitank sales are anticipated to experience substantial increase in the short- and long-term forecast periods.
Players such as Büscherhoff Packaging Solutions GmbH offer multilayered flexitanks comprising a minimum of four layers and film length beginning from 125 µm.
These flexitanks are highly suitable for transporting technical and industrial oils, chemical additives, mineral oils, and other petrochemical products. Additionally, they can also be used to transport edible and animal oils and food additives.
Why are India and China Emerging as Lucrative Growth Pockets?
India is slated to experience high growth amid a burgeoning agricultural industry. Despite contributing less than a fifth of the total GDP, India has emerged as a highly self-sufficient producer and a net exporter of key agricultural products. For FY 2019-20, total food grain production was estimated at 291.95 million tons, expected to reach 345 million tons by 2030.
An interesting aspect of Indian agriculture is increase in oilseeds production, with total production reaching 32 million tons in 2018-19, with soybean, rapeseed, mustard, and ground nut comprising 90% of total production.
This led to an increase in agriculture oil availability, which has ultimately stimulated demand for efficient transportation solutions, inclining the need for flexitanks. Rishi FIBC is a prominent vendor producing customized food- and pharmaceutical-grade flexitanks, fabricated from FDA approved virgin polyethylene and polypropylene.
Similar to Germany, China is a pioneer in chemical manufacturing. Attributed to robust developments across allied industries, the Chinese chemical manufacturing sector is the 4th largest in the world. As of 2017, the East Asian giant contributed US$ 1.4 billion in revenue.
Hence, numerous regional level flexitank players have emerged, rendering it an extremely lucrative market in recent years. Also, by 2030, China will supersede all regions to become the world’s largest manufacturer, further widening flexitank growth prospects.
Why are Industries Exhibiting Preference for Single Trip Flexitanks?
By product type, popularity of single-trip flexitanks is anticipated to soar significantly through 2021, experiencing over nine out of ten sales.
Bulk transportation of hazardous liquids, especially by chemical manufacturers, is augmenting the need for single trip flexitanks, driven by the need to reduce contamination risks. This is likely to remain the chief growth driver for single-trip flexitanks growth.
A number of manufacturers are specializing in single-trip flexitank solutions. Amongst them, the TIBA Group is a prominent face, offering a wide range of single-use flexitanks, from 10,000 to 24,000 liters.
These are highly suitable for transporting various oils, non-hazardous chemicals, lubricants, glycerols, malt extracts, emulsions, and sweeteners, to name a few product categories.
Will Food Transportation Constitute Bulk of Flexitank Application?
By application, food transportation and logistics is anticipated to retain its paramount position, yielding over a third of the revenue share. Rapid expansion of food retail chains amid growing demand for food attributed to an exploding global population is stimulating demand for ingredients such as edible oils, sauces, and concentrates.
Simultaneously, wine transportation is expected to post substantial gains. Easily prone to spoilage, wines require robust packaging solutions. Studies have concluded that, using flexitanks to transport vulnerable liquids reduces wastage by over 30% as compared to conventional carriers, in addition to lesser freight and handling charges.
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Acquiring small-scale manufacturers is one of the most prominent strategies relied upon by certain players to expand their geographical footprint. For instance, in October 2020, JF Hillebrand acquired Braid Logistics, a key player in bulk liquid logistics. With this acquisition, Hillebrand aims to consolidate its logistic services for alcoholic beverages as well as non-hazardous bulk liquids commodities.
Offering new products is another useful expansion strategy. In 2018, for instance, TRUST Flexitanks developed a series of aseptic containers, in collaboration with the Spanish juice industry, equipped with a customized filling valve for steam sterilization.
Likewise, in February 2021, SIA Flexitanks announced the offering of a comprehensive and ready-to-use service package, offering top quality flexitank products, accompanied by a full set of certificates, approvals, technical data, and operational manuals.
As sustainability concerns acquire precedence, manufacturers such as Qingdao LAF Packaging Co. Ltd. are offering eco-friendly packaging alternatives. It offers LAF Flexibag made from 100% clear virgin polyethylene material. These are fully compliant with FDA and EU Regulatory Food Contract regulations, and are devoid of carbon black.
Historical Data Available for
US$ Mn for Value & ‘000 Units for Volume
Key Regions Covered
Key Countries Covered
Key Segments Covered
Key Companies Profiled
Key Market Segments Covered
- Single Trip
- Multi Trip
- Wines & Spirits
- Industrial Products
- Pharmaceutical Goods
- North America
- Central & South America
- Middle East & Africa
- FAQs -
The market is expected to witness credible gains through 2021, primarily driven by burgeoning research & development to foster lightweight transportation and packaging solutions so as to reduce additional costs
According to Fact.MR, suppliers and manufacturers are increasingly targeting the North American market. Maximum growth opportunities are visible across the U.S. amid heightened forays by prominent end-use industries to develop flexible packaging soluti
Demand for flexitanks to transport food is increasing because of rising concerns over food spoilage and wastage during transit. Conventional food containers often lead to reactions due to the presence of various microbes that grow due to high heat and<
Fact.MR’s report has profiled the following players in its study: JF Hillebrand, Full-Pak, K Tank Supply Ltd., Qingdao BLT Packaging Industrial Co. Ltd., Bulk Liquid Solutions Pvt. Ltd., KriCon Group BV, Mak & Williams Flexitank Supply Ltd.,<
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Is the market research conducted by Fact.MR?
Yes, the report has been compiled by expert analysts of Fact.MR, through a combination of primary and secondary research. To know more about how the research was conducted, you can speak to a research analyst.
What research methodology is followed by Fact.MR?
Fact.MR follows a methodology that encompasses the demand-side assessment of the market, and triangulates the same through a supply-side analysis. This methodology is based on the use of standard market structure, methods, and definitions.
What are the sources of secondary research?
Fact.MR conducts extensive secondary research through proprietary databases, paid databases, and information available in the public domain. We refer to industry associations, company press releases, annual reports, investor presentations, and research papers. More information about desk research is available upon request.
Who are the respondents for primary research?
Fact.MR speaks to stakeholders across the spectrum, including C-level executives, distributors, product manufacturers, and industry experts. For a full list of primary respondents, please reach out to us.
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