As part of its 2020 Strategic Plan, the National Renderers Association will continue to target the introduction of international markets. This attention is timely considering the new realities taking shape for North American renderers: opening of China markets for tallow and poultry products, a demand shift to vegetable diets from the feed industry, and increased usage of rendered fats and oils as feedstock for biodiesel, to name a few. Many U . S . suppliers who wish to survive in a ever-changing marketplace must prepare to compete abroad.
A presence in foreign markets requires a capable logistics partner and the right modality. For rendered fats and greases, flexitanks are uniquely suitable for the demands of international transportation, yet the flexi bag is just one half of the equation. Employing a vertically integrated flexitank provider reduces risk, miscommunication, and also the challenges of managing multiple points of contact. Shippers should exercise due diligence while seeking for the best logistics partner. As Red Adair, the famous oil well firefighter, said, “If you feel it’s expensive to hire a professional for the job, hold back until you hire an amateur.” In this spirit, following is really a brief background about the flexitank industry and questions to guide shippers in distinguishing between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized logistics providers.
From the 1980s on the early 2000s, most flexitanks were reusable rubber tanks that needed to be repositioned and cleaned between loads, contributing to costs and lead times for shippers. This made them operationally indistinguishable from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) tanks. In 2001, the only-layer, recyclable flexitank was perfected utilizing a linear low density polyethylene, thus transforming the industry.
The key benefit flexitanks offer nonhazardous liquids, including animal fats and recycled oils, is a reduction in unit shipping costs by maximizing product payload. By some estimates, as much as 30 percent more product might be shipped per container using flexitanks in comparison with totes, intermediate bulk containers, or drums.
The safety of product and personnel ought not to be overlooked. After all, what good can be a competitive freight rate if product is rejected or personnel are injured? The only-layer, single-use chemical Flexi tank made out of virgin polyethylene is kosher, halal, European Union, and Food and Drug Administration compliant, and eliminates contamination risk from prior products. Unlike ISO tanks, which require repeated washes and often entry by cleaning personnel, flexitanks are a closed system from manufacturer to supplier to receiver. Additionally, there is not any probability of moisture as a result of inadequate cleaning practices or condensation because of fluctuations in ambient temperature. Both of them are common causes for rejection of ISO tanks by loading supervisors.
Personnel should not need to manually manipulate the flexitank to attain an entire discharge. There is a common misconception that flexitanks needs to be “rolled like a toothpaste tube” to obtain all the product out. Shippers are usually surprised to find it is a breach of safety and health protocol. The only-layer flexitank system was designed to be operated externally – no climbing into or along with the container similar to ISO tanks. Translucent material is yet another good thing about single-layer technology and allows load supervisors to find out the item inside the flexitank during loading and discharge, an issue that is not possible with multilayer flexitanks as a result of an outer layer of polypropylene.
No less important than cost and safety is ease of use. Full-providers request the container to come pre-fit with the loading facility. For rendered fats and greases, a heater pad is positioned underneath the flexitank to promote efficient discharge at destination. What’s more, most single-layer flexitanks come with the identical cam lock valve as ISO tanks. Precursors towards the present day flexitank possessed a valve at the top, but newer designs have reoriented the valve to the base of the flexitank. Bottom discharge procedure provides an improved experience for receivers.
Finally, single-layer flexitanks are sustainably designed. They can be recycled to be used in consumer packaging, geomembranes, as well as other large-scale applications.
First, shippers should elect to use globally integrated providers. Most companies that manufacture flexitanks will not take part in the logistics process and vice versa. Moreover, many forwarders who purchase flexitanks do not have appropriate tech support with a global scale.
Second, shippers should know how to buy flexitank providers and distinguish between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized providers. The following questions should help shippers get past marketing gimmicks and look for a robust partner using a global network.
The amount of wholly-owned factories does the business have? If none, they can have difficulty guaranteeing quality without managing the methods of production. Even joint ventures between logistics providers and flexitank manufacturing companies have proven insufficient to ensure quality. The most costly flexitank can be a cheap flexitank.
How can the logistics provider guarantee flexitanks are not sourced from different manufacturers? Quality standards vary among flexitank manufacturers. Shippers should expect the identical quality product whether or not they are exporting from South Dakota or South Korea. Further, global inventories are difficult to manage so positioning flexitanks to meet shipper demand should be handled with a dedicated fleet manager to guarantee flexitanks are properly handled and meet uniform quality standards.
The amount of research and development staff are utilized by the company? Scale matters, as does a collaborative design process, which yields a better product and more frequent innovation.
What technical presence and service is provided, and also at what cost? Tech support should be contained in the door-to-port/door rate and available globally night and day. Technical personnel must be onsite for load and discharge to exercise plant personnel and as needed throughout the supply chain.
The amount of full-time technical personnel are hired by the organization? Where are they located? Ask the provider to distinguish between dedicated technical personnel and sales or other staff doubling as technicians.
Just how many facilities and offices does the business have globally? Can they communicate from the local language of the customer? Ask the provider to differentiate between their particular offices and third-party agents to understand the actual size of their network along with the capital investment they have got made therein.
What automated key performance indicator reports are shipped to customers? Shippers should have the option to acquire regular, automated reports detailing transit times, expected departure and arrival dates, container numbers, vessel changes, non-conformities, and so forth.
How are non-conformities measured? Something that results in a delay or disruption inside the supply chain must be investigated by qualified personnel (often technical managers), documented, 95dexlpky communicated on the shipper straight away.
What insurance guarantees are available? Marine cargo transit insurance covers all modes of transport, namely sea, road, rail, or inland waterways. Product and freight must be covered within the policy. Shippers should also confirm whether general average is covered beneath the standard policy.
What exactly is the deductible in case of a loss? Some flexitank emergency support providers give you a no-deductible insurance policy for a reasonable premium.
Once shippers get a globally integrated logistics partner, opt for door-to-port/door service. The right partner will consolidate tasks and provide support at critical points from the supply chain. This implies fewer vendors to handle, less invoicing, reduced chance of miscommunication and delays, as well as a transfer of liability clear of their business. Who doesn’t want that?