Within its 2020 Strategic Plan, the National Renderers Association continue to focus on the introduction 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 in the feed industry, and increased use of rendered fats and oils as feedstock for biodiesel, for example. Many United States suppliers who want 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 designed for the demands of international transportation, however the flexitank is merely half of the equation. Working with a vertically integrated flexitank provider reduces risk, miscommunication, along with the challenges of managing multiple points of contact. Shippers should exercise due diligence in searching for the best logistics partner. As Red Adair, the famous oil well firefighter, said, “If you believe it’s costly to hire a professional to do the job, hold off until you hire an amateur.” In this spirit, following can be a brief background around the flexitank industry and questions to guide shippers in distinguishing between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized logistics providers.
From the 1980s towards the early 2000s, most flexitanks were reusable rubber tanks that must be repositioned and cleaned between loads, contributing to costs and lead times for shippers. This too made them operationally indistinguishable from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) tanks. In 2001, the one-layer, recyclable flexitank was perfected using a linear low density polyethylene, thus transforming the marketplace.
The main 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, just as much as 30 percent more product may be shipped per container using flexitanks as compared with totes, intermediate bulk containers, or drums.
The security of product and personnel should not be overlooked. In fact, what good can be a competitive freight rate if product is rejected or personnel are injured? The one-layer, single-use Oil Flexitank made 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 quite often entry by cleaning personnel, flexitanks are a closed system from manufacturer to supplier to receiver. Additionally, there is absolutely no chance of moisture as a result of inadequate cleaning practices or condensation as a result of fluctuations in ambient temperature. Both of these are common causes for rejection of ISO tanks by loading supervisors.
Personnel should not need to manually manipulate the flexitank to attain a complete discharge. You will find a common misconception that flexitanks has to be “rolled just like a toothpaste tube” to obtain all the product out. Shippers are usually surprised to find out this can be a breach of health and safety protocol. The one-layer flexitank system was created to be operated externally – no climbing into or along with the container just like ISO tanks. Translucent material is yet another benefit of single-layer technology and allows load supervisors to find out the item from the flexitank during loading and discharge, a thing that is not possible with multilayer flexitanks due to an outer layer of polypropylene.
No less important than cost and safety is ease of use. Full-companies request the container to come pre-fit at the loading facility. For rendered fats and greases, a heater pad is positioned beneath the flexitank to promote efficient discharge at destination. What’s more, most single-layer flexitanks come with a similar cam lock valve as ISO tanks. Precursors on the present day flexitank experienced a valve on the top, but newer designs have reoriented the valve to the base of the flexitank. Bottom discharge procedure makes for an improved experience for receivers.
Finally, single-layer flexitanks are sustainably designed. They are often recycled for use in consumer packaging, geomembranes, as well as other large-scale applications.
First, shippers should elect to do business with globally integrated providers. Some companies that manufacture flexitanks tend not to participate in the logistics process and vice versa. Moreover, many forwarders who purchase flexitanks do not have appropriate technical support on a global scale.
Second, shippers ought to know how to look flexitank providers and distinguish between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized providers. The next questions should help shippers work through marketing gimmicks and locate a solid partner with a global network.
The amount of wholly-owned factories does the company have? If none, they may have difficulty guaranteeing quality without managing the methods of production. Even joint ventures between logistics providers and flexitank manufacturing companies have proven insufficient to guarantee quality. The costliest flexitank is really a cheap flexitank.
How exactly does the logistics provider guarantee flexitanks usually are not sourced from different manufacturers? Quality standards vary among flexitank manufacturers. Shippers should expect exactly the same quality product if they are exporting from South Dakota or South Korea. Further, global inventories are difficult to control so positioning flexitanks to fulfill shipper demand must be handled with a dedicated fleet manager to guarantee flexitanks are properly handled and meet uniform quality standards.
Just how many research and development staff are utilized by the corporation? Scale matters, as does a collaborative design process, which yields a much better product and a lot more frequent innovation.
What technical presence and repair is provided, as well as at what cost? Technical 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 teach plant personnel so that as needed throughout the supply chain.
The number of full-time technical personnel are hired by the organization? Where will they be located? Ask the provider to distinguish between dedicated technical personnel and sales or other staff doubling as technicians.
The amount of facilities and offices does the organization have globally? Would they communicate from the local language of the customer? Ask the provider to tell apart between their own personal offices and third-party agents to comprehend the dimensions of their network along with 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, and so on.
How are non-conformities measured? Anything that creates a delay or disruption in the supply chain ought to be investigated by qualified personnel (often technical managers), documented, 95dexlpky communicated on the shipper at once.
What insurance guarantees are provided? Marine cargo transit insurance covers all modes of transport, namely sea, road, rail, or inland waterways. Product and freight should be covered under the policy. Shippers must also confirm whether general average is protected under the standard policy.
What is the deductible in case of a loss? Some flexitank service providers provide a no-deductible policy for a reasonable premium.
Once shippers get a globally integrated logistics partner, go for door-to-port/door service. The proper partner will consolidate tasks and provide support at critical points inside the supply chain. This simply means fewer vendors to control, less invoicing, reduced chances of miscommunication and delays, as well as a transfer of liability away from their business. Who doesn’t want that?