As an element of its 2020 Strategic Plan, the National Renderers Association continues to focus on the growth of international markets. This attention is timely due to the new realities taking shape for North American renderers: opening of China markets for tallow and poultry products, a need shift to vegetable diets from the feed industry, and increased utilization of rendered fats and oils as feedstock for biodiesel, for example. Many United States suppliers who want to survive in an ever-changing marketplace must prepare to compete abroad.
A presence in foreign markets demands a capable logistics partner and the right modality. For rendered fats and greases, flexitanks are uniquely designed for the demands of international transportation, however the flexibag is just 1 / 2 of the equation. Using a vertically integrated flexitank provider reduces risk, miscommunication, and the challenges of managing multiple points of contact. Shippers should exercise due diligence while seeking for the appropriate logistics partner. As Red Adair, the famous oil well firefighter, said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional for the job, delay until you hire an amateur.” In that spirit, following is really a brief background about the flexitank industry and inquiries to guide shippers in distinguishing between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized logistics providers.
Through the 1980s for the early 2000s, most flexitanks were reusable rubber tanks that had to be repositioned and cleaned between loads, adding to costs and lead times for shippers. This made them operationally indistinguishable from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) tanks. In 2001, the one-layer, recyclable flexitank was perfected by using a linear low density polyethylene, thus transforming the industry.
The primary benefit flexitanks offer nonhazardous liquids, including animal fats and recycled oils, is a decrease in unit shipping costs by maximizing product payload. By some estimates, just as much as 30 percent more product could be shipped per container using flexitanks in comparison with totes, intermediate bulk containers, or drums.
The security of product and personnel should not be overlooked. After all, what good is really a competitive freight rate if item is rejected or personnel are injured? The single-layer, single-use chemical Flexi tank created from 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 can be a closed system from manufacturer to supplier to receiver. Additionally, there is not any probability of moisture resulting from inadequate cleaning practices or condensation as a result of fluctuations in ambient temperature. Both are common causes for rejection of ISO tanks by loading supervisors.
Personnel should not have to manually manipulate the flexitank to obtain a complete discharge. There is a common misconception that flexitanks has to be “rolled similar to a toothpaste tube” to get every one of the product out. Shippers tend to be surprised to discover it is a breach of health and safety protocol. The single-layer flexitank system was created to be operated externally – no climbing into or along with the container much like ISO tanks. Translucent material is another benefit of single-layer technology and allows load supervisors to discover the product inside the flexitank during loading and discharge, an issue that will not be possible with multilayer flexitanks because of an outer layer of polypropylene.
No less important than cost and safety is simplicity of use. Full-service providers request the container to come pre-fit on the loading facility. For rendered fats and greases, a heater pad is positioned within the flexitank to enhance efficient discharge at destination. What’s more, most single-layer flexitanks come with a similar cam lock valve as ISO tanks. Precursors on the modern day flexitank enjoyed a valve on top, but newer designs have reoriented the valve to the bottom of the flexitank. Bottom discharge procedure makes for a better experience for receivers.
Finally, single-layer flexitanks are sustainably designed. They could be recycled for use in consumer packaging, geomembranes, as well as other large-scale applications.
First, shippers should elect to work with globally integrated providers. Some companies that manufacture flexitanks do not take part in the logistics process and vice versa. Moreover, many forwarders who purchase flexitanks do not have appropriate tech support over a global scale.
Second, shippers ought to know how to shop flexitank providers and distinguish between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized providers. The following questions should help shippers get past marketing gimmicks and find a robust partner using a global network.
The amount of wholly-owned factories does the organization have? If none, they might have difficulty guaranteeing quality without managing the method of production. Even joint ventures between logistics providers and flexitank manufacturing companies have proven insufficient to ensure quality. The highest priced flexitank is a cheap flexitank.
How does the logistics provider guarantee flexitanks are certainly not sourced from different manufacturers? Quality standards vary among flexitank manufacturers. Shippers should expect exactly the same quality product whether they are exporting from South Dakota or South Korea. Further, global inventories are difficult to handle so positioning flexitanks in order to satisfy shipper demand ought to 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 offered, and at what cost? Tech support should be in the door-to-port/door rate and available globally night and day. Technical personnel must be onsite for load and discharge to teach plant personnel and also as needed throughout the supply chain.
How many full-time technical personnel are used by the company? Where could they be located? Ask the provider to distinguish between dedicated technical personnel and sales or any other staff doubling as technicians.
The amount of facilities and offices does the business have globally? Would they communicate within the local language of your own customer? Ask the provider to distinguish between their own offices and third-party agents to comprehend how big their network as well as the capital investment they have got made therein.
What automated key performance indicator reports are brought to customers? Shippers should have the option to receive regular, automated reports detailing transit times, expected departure and arrival dates, container numbers, vessel changes, non-conformities, etc.
How are non-conformities measured? Something that leads to a delay or disruption from the supply chain ought to be investigated by qualified personnel (often technical managers), documented, 95dexlpky communicated to the shipper straight away.
What insurance guarantees are provided? Marine cargo transit insurance covers all modes of transport, namely sea, road, rail, or inland waterways. Product and freight must be covered beneath the policy. Shippers should likewise confirm whether general average is covered underneath the standard policy.
What is the deductible in case of a loss? Some heating pad providers provide a no-deductible insurance policy for an acceptable premium.
Once shippers locate a globally integrated logistics partner, choose door-to-port/door service. The best partner will consolidate tasks and provide support at critical points inside the supply chain. This implies fewer vendors to control, less invoicing, reduced probability of miscommunication and delays, plus a transfer of liability far from their business. Who doesn’t want that?