The global flexitanks market size was valued at USD 1.04 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 5.61 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 20.6% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Flexitanks, or flexibles or flexitank containers, are specialized containers for transporting and storing non-hazardous liquid and dry bulk cargo. They are made of flexible, multilayered, strong materials resistant to punctures and leaks. Flexitanks are designed to fit inside standard 20-foot shipping containers, effectively converting them into bulk liquid transport systems. Flexitanks provide a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional methods of transporting liquids, such as drums, ISO tanks, and tankers. They offer several advantages, including increased payload capacity, reduced transportation costs, and improved loading and unloading efficiency. Flexitanks can carry many non-hazardous liquids, including food-grade products (such as edible oils, juices, and wines), non-hazardous chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and industrial liquids.
The construction of a flexitank typically consists of multiple layers of polyethylene or polypropylene film, along with reinforcement layers, for added strength. These materials are chosen for their compatibility with various liquids and their ability to resist tearing, bursting, and contamination. Flexitanks also feature valves and fittings for easy filling and emptying of the liquid cargo. One of the key advantages of using flexitanks is their ability to maximize cargo space. Unlike traditional packaging methods, flexitanks conform to the shape of the container, allowing for optimal utilization of space and increased payload capacity. This can significantly reduce shipping costs, as more liquid can be transported in a single shipment.
|Market Size||USD 5.61 billion by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||Europe|
|Largest Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
An uneven production and consumption rate over different geographical areas creates the need for commodity trade. The huge growth of international trade over the preceding several decades has been a major cause of globalization. Therefore, consumers worldwide enjoy a wider choice of products than they would if they only had access to locally produced products on account of increasing international trade. In response to the ever-expanding flow of services, goods, and capital, government organizations and international institutions have been formed to help cope with these rapidly developing trends.
Commodity trade has increased notably recently due to globalization and increased availability of advanced means of transport. Sophisticated means of commodity transport help increase efficiency and drastically reduce transportation costs. Bulk transportation considerably reduces carrying costs. The rising popularity of bulk transport is expected to boost the demand for flexitanks in the coming years. Flexitanks provide a better and more economical solution for liquid bulk transportation needs.
Flexitanks, a more economical packaging solution than ISO tanks and drums, have become the key alternative packaging solution for companies looking to cut costs on the transport of liquids, including wines, soft drinks, juice concentrates, liquid latex, agricultural oils, non-hazardous chemicals, biofuels, and glycerin. They offer low labor and loading costs with no repositioning costs, which is the best option for transporting bulk liquids to remote destinations. Flexitank size may vary from 10,000 to 26,000 liters and is characterized as a safe and environment-friendly mode of transportation for commodities with practically no likelihood of contamination. Flexitanks do not have to be cleaned, as they can be thrown away or recycled. Flexitanks are very environment-friendly and help reduce the carbon footprint of transporting companies.
Flexitanks are traditionally used for bulk wine transport. Bulk shipping has become an attractive option for wine shippers as it is a very cost-efficient option. Economically and environmentally, shipping wine in bulk has proven to be a better option. A single container holds 10,584 liters of bottled wine, whereas a standard flexitank can hold 24,000 liters of wine, which is more than double the capacity of the container. This cuts transportation costs significantly and reduces carbon emissions, in some cases, by up to 50%.
Flexitanks are used in bulk transportation of non-hazardous liquid products. Over the past decade, the surging demand for bulk liquid containers with enhanced resilience to wide temperature fluctuations has steered RandD investments. Polyethylene in flexitank manufacturing offers reduced maintenance costs and enhanced capacity utilization for transporting liquid products. However, the lack of stringent industry standards has resulted in the commercialization of PE flexitanks with low-quality standards. Flexitanks experience pressure from the container walls during long-distance transportation of cargo. The risks associated with bulk fluid transportation include leakage of the stored product, resulting in cleanup activities. Such incidents result in economic loss to the product owner and hamper the potential trade opportunities with the clients.
Although flexitanks are manufactured by environmental legislation, the risks associated with leakage incidents still exist. Major factors contributing to leakage incidents include manufacturing defects, puncturing of flexitanks, and the absence of pressure control valves.
The increasing demand for bulk liquid transportation across various industries, like food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture, is a significant driver for the flexitanks market. These industries often deal with large volumes of liquid products that need to be transported from one location to another efficiently and cost-effectively. Flexitanks provide an ideal solution for transporting bulk liquids due to their unique design and features. They are large, flexible containers made from strong, durable materials that can hold up to 20,000 liters (5,300 gallons) of liquid. The flexibility of the tank allows it to fit into standard shipping containers, maximizing the use of available space and reducing shipping costs.
Flexitanks offer several advantages over traditional packaging methods such as drums or tankers. First, flexitanks eliminate the need for intermediate bulk handling, which reduces the labor and time required for loading and unloading. The efficient loading and unloading process also minimizes the risk of product contamination or spillage. Flexitanks also have a higher payload capacity compared to other packaging options. The lightweight construction of the flexitank itself allowed for more liquid to be transported, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced transportation costs. Additionally, flexitanks can be easily disposed of or recycled after use, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.
The global flexitanks market is bifurcated based on region into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global flexitanks market shareholder and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 19.3% over the forecast period. Manufacturers widely prefer flexitanks for storing, handling, and transporting small-size manufactured goods owing to the various benefits of these bulk packages. In 2020, North America held a significant share of the market in terms of volume because of large chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies.
In addition, the region's agricultural and food processing industry growth is expected to propel the global market forecast period. The rising consumption of various food products, including fresh produce, cheese, and wine, largely drives the demand for single-trip flexitanks in North America. Many e-commerce companies are expected to enter the North American market in the coming years. This development is anticipated to benefit the market growth of single-trip flexitanks over the forecast period.
Europe is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 19.8% over the forecast period. Europe is characterized by a significant presence of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer AG, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Novartis AG, Sanofi, and GlaxoSmithKline. These companies mainly manufacture various temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals in Europe and export them to the rest of the world. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands were amongst the world's top 10 pharmaceutical product exporting countries in 2020.
Therefore, large pharmaceutical production in the region makes it a lucrative market for single-trip flexitanks. The presence of stringent regulations about the use of plastic materials for packaging is expected to pose a significant challenge for the manufacturers of flexitanks in Europe. The European Union has been encouraging manufacturers within the region to offer sustainable packaging solutions to clients. Such developments in Europe are expected to force manufacturers of flexitanks to invest in sustainable packaging materials over the forecast period.
The Asia-Pacific flexitanks market is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. This high growth is attributable to the presence of the two largest agricultural-producing and consuming countries, namely China and India, in the region. Additionally, several significant businesses in Europe and North America have outsourced industrial tasks to China and India due to the lower production costs. Consequently, the future expansion of the food and pharmaceutical sectors is projected to raise demand for flexitanks within the region over the forecast period.
The Central and South America flexitanks market is expected to grow significantly over the anticipated period owing to the strong demand from end-use industries such as food and beverages and healthcare. The demand for online groceries is significantly higher in Central and South America than in other regions. The region has many commercial farms, especially in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Colombia. Furthermore, the region has been experiencing considerable agricultural growth in the past decade owing to new techniques and technology adoption for agricultural production. The actual agricultural production offers growth opportunities to the players of the market in the region.
The Middle East and Africa flexitanks market is anticipated to expand significantly over the forecast period. Several countries in the Middle East and Africa region are highly dependent on food imports, likely to benefit the single-trip global market. Countries including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait are some of the top fresh produce importers in the region. In addition, factors including a growing population coupled with high disposable income, especially with the younger population in the region, have further increased the demand for various food products, including organic food products. Moreover, busy lifestyles and changing consumer preferences have increased the demand for frozen food products. Furthermore, the growing tourism industry, especially in countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, is expected to augment the demand for food and beverage products.
The global flexitanks market is bifurcated into products and applications.
The global market is bifurcated based on products into single-trip and multi-trip.
The single-trip segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 20.5% over the forecast period. Single-trip flexitanks are typically manufactured using polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), and single, double, and multi-layered polyethylene (PE), among other materials. Usually, 1mm thick polyethylene is incorporated as the inner material in these flexitanks to enhance the barrier properties of the package. Single-trip flexitanks are ideal for transporting various industrial products, including polymers, lubricating and transformer oils, surfactants, liquid malt, cement and construction additives, edible oils, and specialty chemicals.
One of the most considerable drawbacks associated with the production and transportation of single-trip flexitanks is the extent of emissions generated. The inability of these bulk packages to be reused multiple times demands the further use of energy and other resources, thereby leading to a greater carbon footprint.
Based on application, the global market is bifurcated into foodstuff, wine and spirits, chemicals, oils, industrial products, and pharmaceutical goods.
The foodstuff segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 21.1% over the forecast period. Foodstuffs are among the most significant segments in the global market, given its growth over the years. The anticipated growth of the segment can be attributed to the rising consumption of grocery products coupled with the burgeoning growth of retail chains, especially hypermarkets and supermarket chains, in emerging economies. The segment includes a wide range of products, including fruit juices, concentrates, vegetable oils, palm oils, fish oils, edible oils, sorbitol, fructose, coconut oils, egg liquid, malt extract, corn oil, sauces, purees, and bakery and confectionery products, among others.
Another factor attributable to the growth of this segment is the rising consumption of cheese, most notably through the e-commerce platform. Thus, Turophiles across the globe are no longer relegated to retail aisles (dairy). However, packaging and shipping of cheese require special packaging needs. Thus, the need for efficient packaging solutions has been driving the demand for flexitanks across the globe.