Tank Containers: The Safe, Sustainable, and Versatile Choice Over Flexibags

At Suttons International we provide our customers with efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly solutions for their bulk chemical logistics requirements. The choice between UN portable tank containers and flexibag containers has long been a consideration for chemical producers looking to improve sustainability and safety in their operation.

Tank containers offer unmatched versatility compared to flexibags, making them the preferred choice for bulk liquid transport across diverse industries. While flexibags are limited to certain types of non-hazardous liquids due to their design constraints, tank containers are engineered to accommodate a wide range of liquid cargoes, including hazardous chemicals, food-grade products, and pharmaceuticals. With various sizes and configurations available, tank containers provide tailored solutions to meet the specific requirements of each cargo type, ensuring ease of handling and compatibility across different industries and cargo types. This versatility not only enhances operational efficiency but also expands the applicability of tank containers in addressing various logistical challenges, reaffirming their superiority over flexibags in liquid transport.

Flexibags are neither eco-friendly nor sustainable. Predominantly composed of soft plastic film—often polyethylene and polypropylene and weighing upwards of 40kg, flexibags frequently end up in landfill sites after a single use, owing to the challenges associated with recycling such materials. Each flexibag equates to over 7,500 single-use shopping bags! In stark contrast, our tank containers are reusable, usually requiring only a simple wash between each journey. Our tank containers have a service life extending well beyond 20 years, and at the end of life, are approximately 90% recyclable through metal recovery services.

Furthermore, environmental stewardship and ownership of flexibags becomes a challenge as responsibility is lost along the supply chain with no traceability. Once the shipper has delivered the flexibag, they could absolve themselves of any responsibility for its fate after delivery. This stands in stark contrast to our tank container shipments, where we maintain all accountability for the environmental impact of the container, its residue, and the cleaning process. We willingly assume full responsibility of our tanks throughout the supply chain.

From a safety perspective tank containers outperform flexibags thanks to their robust and durable steel construction which protects products inside from contamination, leakage, damage, and potential spills during transit. Flexibags in comparison are much less durable, which poses a tangible risk to the environment and potentially human life. Handlers and shippers at destination points worldwide are compelled to extract contaminated flexibags from containers for disposal in skips in the event of a leak or damage. The lack of regulated procedures and controls on how to safely extract contaminated flexibags exposes workers and the environment to potential hazards, a concern reduced by tank containers, wherein damage is much less likely, and audited safety protocols serve to reduce and manage risks effectively.

The transportation of flexibags over road also poses significant risks when compared to tank containers. Transporting bulk liquid cargoes by road demands specialised driver training due to the inherent risks associated with liquid surge. At Suttons International, we prioritise comprehensive training for our third-party trucking companies to educate drivers on liquid surge dynamics within tank containers and its impact on vehicle stability.

The advantages afforded by UN portable tank containers—ranging from environmental sustainability to enhanced safety and security—accentuate their superiority over flexibags for bulk liquid transport. Suttons International remains unwavering in its commitment to delivering unparalleled service while championing sustainability and innovation in the industry.

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