What is Flexitank?

What is Flexitank: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

I know you’re looking for high-quality flexitank.

That’s why this guide explores all the fundamental aspects of flexitank – from design, benefits, limitations, to importing flexitank among other fundamental aspects.

Keep reading to learn more about flexitank.

What is Flexitank?



A flexitank refers to a flexible bag/ bladder that can be collapsed and fitted into an ISO container and used for the storage and transportation of non-regulated liquids.

A flexitank makes it possible to efficiently ship non-regulated liquids over longer distances either by sea, road, or rail.

In other words, flexitanks easily facilitate transportation by a normal dry good carrier into a liquid carrier.

How Important are Flexitanks?

Flexitanks offer a wide range of benefits some of them including;

  • Cost-effectiveness – As compared to other storage equipment such as drums, tank containers, and IBS, flexitanks stand to be cheaper.

You are likely to spend one-third less than the cost you would incur when using traditional bulk liquid containers.

  • Fastens loading and unloading – Since flexitanks don’t require the use of a forklift, the loading and unloading processes not only turn out to be cheaper but also faster.

Not forgetting that using a flexitank lowers your risk of product loss.

  • Large shipping capacity – A flexitanks can hold up to 24,000 liters inside a general freight container.

Such containers ship 50% more than the bottled consignments.

Moreover, they can hold 40% more than drummed consignments and 15% more than intermediate bulk containers.

  • Maintains product quality – Owing to the pumps and valves inside the flexitanks layers, they are not only resistant to air but also water.

As a result, the quality of the liquid remains intact.

  • Less labor required – Flexitanks will need less labor owing to the following reasons;
  • Convenient to handle
  • Convenient to load and unload

With fewer labor requirements comes a low logistic cost.

  • Eco-friendliness – Since flexitanks can be recycled they are proved to be safer for the environment.
  • No cleaning cost – The bags are disposable and therefore the costs of cleaning are eliminated.

In addition to that, it is not mandatory to return the container, and therefore the transportation cost further lowers.

  • No additional storage required – Flexitanks are a standalone storage unit and hence you will not need any other storage device.
  • Flexitanks carry more payload.
  • Easily available – Flexitanks can easily be shipped anywhere around the world within days and loaded into 20’ containers.

They do not require any preparation before use.

Other bulk transportation units require cleaning before use which can result in shortages more so when transporting non-hazardous liquids.

  • Eliminates contamination risks –Since flexitanks are used to contain a single product at a time the risk of contamination is very minimal.
  • Flexitanks can be available in remote areas.

What are the Disadvantages of Using Flexitank?

In as much as flexitanks offer a wide range of benefits, they as well have drawbacks that might render traditional drums and tanks a better option for you.

  • Damage to containers – Flexitanks exert pressure on the sidewall panels of freight containers which makes them bulge beyond the normal size.

This can permanently disfigure the container and some carriers will avoid shipment of flexitanks.

  • Unavailability of necessary equipment – You need to know that you might lack proper loading and unloading equipment in some facilities.

This limits the place you choose to transport your freight resulting in additional costs to transport the liquid to the desired destination.

  • Potential leakage – In as much as flexitanks are made of several layers, they are still prone to leakages.

This can be a result of excessive force causing a crack or rupture leading to leakage.

As such, some carriers deviate from using this type of shipment and opt for other alternatives.

  • Flexitanks can only be stuffed in 20’ DV containers.
  • You cannot use more than one flexitank in a container

Do I need a Permit to Install Flexitank?

Generally, you don’t require any building permits to install a flexitank.

How do I Know the Size of Flexitank I need?

The volume of a flexitank can range from 16,000-24,000 liters.

That said, the size of flexitank you will need will depend on the type of liquid you intend to store/transport.

Different liquids will require a different amount of space whether it’s water, effluent, industrial or domestic liquids.

What Cargo can be Transported inside Flexitank?

Flexitank is used to transport any non-hazardous liquid materials. Such as liquids can either be;



  • Water
  • Wine and beer
  • Oils
  • Fertilizers
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Ink
  • Emulsions
  • Latex
  • Glycerine
  • Industrial oils
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Food additives
  • Juice concentrates
  • Syrups
  • Animal oils and fats
  • Adhesives
  • Paper pulp
  • Shampoo and cosmetic liquids
  • Glues
  • Milk

Keep in mind that some liquids need special storage as they might get thick as a result of low temperature.

In such cases, heating pads should be installed together with the flexitank.

Failure to consider this will slow down the emptying of the liquid from the flexitank.

How does Flexitank Reduce Transport Costs?

The use of flexitanks greatly reduces transport costs through the following ways;

  • As compared to the traditional drums, flexitanks can accommodate and transport more liquid cargo in turn minimizing freight costs.
  • Owing to the faster loading process, labor charges are extremely reduced.
  • Customers can be allowed to load more than 20’ containers which in turn reduces the operational charges.

What Kind of Maintenance does a Flexitank Require?

The kind of maintenance that your flexitanks will require will be highly dependent on the type of liquid you are storing or transporting.

But the truth is that a flexitank has no special maintenance requirements.

How Strong are Flexitanks? Do they Burst?

In as much as flexitanks are made up of multiple layers, they are prone to cracks or rupture.

This can happen as a result of too much force which could cause leakage.

How do you Load Flexitank?

To begin with, it’s important to know that you should load your flexitank within -/+5% of their rated capacity.

Ensure that the container and the track are leveled for efficient loading of the flexitank.

Failure to observe this will result in sagging and imbalance which will cause damage to the flexitank.

Additionally, before you commence your loading, ensure that the container is free from nails, rust, glass, or sharp edges.

To make it safer, line the interior with corrugated paper or cardboard.

How do I Move Flexitank?

Once the container is loaded with fill flexitanks, you should lift it from the top instead of lifting it by the container forklift.

Failure to do so will not only damage the container and flexitank but also cause loss of product.

This will be due to the pressure that will be exerted on the sidewalls of the container.

When transporting your flexitank by road or rail, ensure that you declare it to the relevant approved officials depending on the region you are in.

Can I get a Custom-sized Flexitank?

Yes, you can get customized flexitanks based on the size that you want.

Chinese manufacturers and suppliers are willing to design your flexitank according to your preferred specifications.

Not forgetting that you can also have other features customized such as;

  • Single or multiple layers
  • Top or bottom loading options
  • The air venting system
  • Bulkhead options- This can either be plastic, carton, or MDF
  • Heating pad system –Mostly applicable when transporting liquids with a high level of viscosity.
  • Additional anti-oxidation protection

Are Flexitanks Depreciable?

Yes, they are depreciable.

Remember, flexitanks are tangible assets and you can roll them up and sell if the need arises.

This explains why they lose value over time and you can depreciate them at 25% per annum.

How Long do Flexitanks Last?

Flexitanks can last for as long as 20 years and longer under normal conditions.

Additionally, most of the manufacturers will offer you a 10-year warranty.

Should I Buy Flexitank from Factory or Alibaba?

 Flexitank on Alibaba

 Flexitank on Alibaba

Buying from the factory is always a suitable idea when purchasing your flexitanks.

The reason being not only will you get it at discounted prices but also you will get to bond face to face with your manufacturer.

This is quite advantageous more so If you are intending to do future business with them.

Also, buying directly from the factory curbs the likeliness of being scammed, and besides, you get to run a profitable business if at all you are a business person.

What Types of Flexitanks can I Import from China?

There are a few types of flexitanks available and your choice will be determined by the type of product you plan to store in it or transport.

Here are some of the commonly used types of flexitanks that you can import from China.

  • Flexitanks single-use or reusable
  • Auto trailer
  • 20-foot
  • Medium-duty (1000-liter, flexible canisters, paper IBC-tans, bag in box)
  • Refrigerator
  • Big-bag
  • Liner-bag
  • Monolayer flexitanks- Made up of a single polyethylene layer which is thicker than a multilayer flexitank.
  • Multilayer flexitanks –Normally made up of two or more layers of polyethylene even though the standard requirement is 3 layers.
  • Bilayer flexitanks – It has a layer of polyethylene and it’s thin and flexible but hard as a monolayer.

What Materials are Used in Preparing Flexitank?

Flexitanks are prepared using diverse types of materials not excluding;

  • PVC
  • Single and double layer polyethylene
  • Multilayer polyethylene
  • Bottom discharge
  • Barrier tanks

What is the Cost of Flexitanks?

The cost of flexitanks ranges from as low as $60 to as much as $300 per piece and more.

You can also choose to purchase the per set and the prices will range from $80 per set to $2000 per set and more.

The cost of flexitanks might vary owing to the following factors;

  • The size – the bigger the size the higher the price and vice versa.
  • Types of flexitanks – Your flexitank might cost much or less depending on the type of product you plan to store or transport.
  • The place of purchase – You will end up saving more when you make your purchases directly from the factory.
  • Quality of flexitanks – You will dig deeper into your pockets if you choose to buy high-quality flexitanks as compared to the standard ones.

How can Flexitank Containers be Transported from China?

There are three main methods through which flexitanks can be transported from China namely;

  • Road
  • Rail
  • Sea

Keep in mind, some flexitanks might be restricted to ship via rail freight if they lack certain quality standards.

Sea freight the slowest of them all and can take days or a month to arrive at the designated location.

On the other hand, road and rail transport are highly dependent on the infrastructure network between China and the country you are shipping to.

Meaning, if the designated region has no rail or road network connection to China this will be impossible.

How Should I Install Flexitank?

Installing a flexitank together with filling it will take more or less than one hour.

The installation alone will last from 20-30 minutes after which you will take 30 to 40 minutes to fill it with cargo.

Installing a flexitank is not much of a hassle as explained below;

  • The first thing would be inspecting and cleaning the container very well.
  • Lay corrugated papers on the inner sidewalls as well as the floor and afterward fix with tapes.
  • Put the flexitanks inside the container and begin to unravel the face but with the valve outside. Afterward, fold it in a good shape to conveniently fit in the track.
  • Place the steel and the hard paper pipes on the lock hole. Don’t forget to fix this with tape. Keep in mind that you can easily cut the pipe short when the need arises. The smooth side of the cardboard should face the inside of the container.
  • Fix the bulkhead.
  • Close the left door and attach a caution label.
  • Start loading your liquid product.
  • Finish loading, close the valves as well as fasten sock and close the other side.

Are there any Components or Baffles Inside the Flexitank?

No, there aren’t any components or baffles inside the flexitank.

Flexitanks are self –supporting therefore they get flat when they are empty.

What is an ISO Tank?

An ISO tank refers to a shipping container made of stainless steel that is used to transport both hazardous and non-hazardous liquid cargo.

The interior walls of an ISO tank have multiple protective layers to avert the reaction of steel with the liquid which can result in contamination.

What is the Difference Between ISO Tank Container and Flexitank?

ISO Tank

ISO Tank


Flexi tank

ISO tanks are mostly preferred by industries in the transportation of bulk liquid cargo and do not need any additional packaging material.

On the other hand, flexitanks will need to be stored in a standard shipping container once they are full.

Also, ISO tanks can be used to transport both hazardous and non-hazardous liquid cargo while flexitanks are only limited to transporting non-hazardous liquids.

Why are Flexitanks Better than ISO Tanks and Drums?

There are a few reasons that make flexitanks stand out better than ISO tanks and drums. Let’s have a look at them below;

  • Flexitanks can be recycled and therefore they are environmentally friendly.
  • As compared to ISO tanks, flexitanks are always available for use since they do not require cleaning after use.
  • Flexitanks are much safer to use as compared to ISO tanks and drums.
  • Flexitanks make it possible to reuse a standard ocean container. On the other hand, you will need to empty and sent empty an ISO tank to another destination thus they are not viable.

What is the Maximum Loading Capacity of Flexitanks?

Flexitanks can accommodate from 10,000 to as much as 24,000 liters of liquid.

There are various sizes to choose from depending on your preferences and the type of product you are transporting.

Some of the most common models include; 16,000, 18,000, 20,000, 22,000, and 24,000 liters.

The common size of flexitanks used to transport Glycerin is 20,000 liters while olive oil is 22,000liters.

Most of the Latex and polyol use flexitanks with a capacity of 19,000 liters while wine will require 24,000 liters.

How do you Discharge Flexitank?

Upon arriving at the location, open the door on the right and attach the hose to the drain pump and valve then wait for the flexitank to get empty.

The time taken to empty depends on the viscosity of the liquid as well as the capacity of the pump.

On average, it might take a maximum of one hour.

Once the flexitank is almost empty, double the flexitank like a toothpaste tube is involved to help facilitate the complete download of the product.

After the flexitank is fully drained remove the flexitank from the container.

What is the Highest Temperature your Flexitank can Hold?

A flexitank can take up to a temperature of 80°C.

Nevertheless, it is recommended to keep it at 60°C and below.

If the loading temperature stays between 60°C and 70 °C leave the laden flexitank static for at least 8 hours after completing the loading process.

Where can I Buy Flexitanks in China?

Qingdao in Shandong province is the most popular region in China known for flexitanks manufacturing.

Other areas include Shanghai, Hubei, Jiangsu, Liaoning, and Zhejiang just to mention a few.

What is the Percentage of Residue in Flexitank?

The percentage of residue in a flexitank is 0.5% or less than 50kgs.

What is the Advantage of Bottom Loading?

Bottom loading is not only safer but also user-friendly as well as faster when it comes to loading and discharge.

It is considered safer since the loader doesn’t have to climb up the flexitank.

Can the Heating Pad in a Flexitank be Reused? How Long Does it Take to Heat the Liquid Cargo?

The heating pad is reusable.

Besides, the amount of time taken to heat the cargo will depend on the melting point of the product as well as the outdoor temperature.

The heating pad is positioned below the flexitank for proper exposure to the source of heat.

On average, the heating pad can take about 4 to 6 hours to heat the liquid.

Why should I Import Flexitanks from China?

There are several reasons as to why most flexitanks importers choose to ship their flexitanks from China and not any other country. Let’s have a look at them below;

  • Affordability – Products in China are sold at very cost-effective prices and this doesn’t exclude flexitanks.

In addition to that, Chinese manufacturers and suppliers are always willing to negotiate on prices therefore you can easily land at the best prices.

  • Quality – In China you are likely to come across both quality and low-quality items including flexitanks.

You need to ensure that you have done proper research and work with the right people.

Having done that, you can easily get a quality flexitank at relatively affordable prices more so when you purchase in bulk directly from the factory.

  • Customization –Chinese flexitanks manufacturers are willing to customize your flexitank based on your preferred design and style.

Owing to this, many flexitank importers are attracted to purchasing from China and have unique flexitanks designed to their specifications.

  • Uniqueness – Other than customization, you are likely to come across several other designs and types of flexitanks when buying from China.

Some of these are unique regardless of the customization options available.

  • High-profit margins –Owing to the cost-effective prices of flexitanks in China, importers and business people end up making high-profit margins.

Think of it this way, you purchase a flexitank at $30 and later resell it at $120 or more. You end up gaining profits that triple the buying price.

The same applies to when purchasing flexitanks for business purposes.

Due to the low price, you will be willing to purchase more flexitanks in turn growing your business and increasing profits too.

  • Many varieties – China has several manufacturing industries for flexitanks and therefore be sure to come across a diverse range of flexitanks.

How can I Buy Flexitanks from China?

There are several ways you can use to purchase your flexitanks from China.

The most common and easiest method being the use of sourcing agents.

Sourcing agents are quite helpful when it comes to importing or rather sourcing for anything from a foreign country.

This becomes even more helpful if you are an amateur in the import-export business.

Here is how you will benefit from using sourcing agents.

  • Identify the appropriate manufacturer for you – Sourcing agents have a vast network of different manufacturers and can easily identify a suitable one for your flexitank.
  • Reduce the risks of getting scammed – Just like any other market set up, you are likely to encounter some scammers when sourcing for your flexitanks in china.

Sourcing agents save you the agony of getting scammed as they can easily spot a scammer.

  • Negotiate on prices on your behalf – Not only do sourcing agents identify a suitable manufacturer for your product but also engage the manufacturer in effective price negotiations.

This way, they end up purchasing at relatively cheaper prices.

Sourcing agents’ source products on your behalf allowing you to continue with your daily routines.

  • Bridge language barrier gap between you and the manufacturer – When sourcing or importing from China, one of the major challenges is the language barrier.

English is not a familiar language among several Chinese people and therefore navigating through the market might be difficult.

With a sourcing agent, you won’t have to worry about such as they know how to engage with suppliers and manufacturers to get quality products at the best prices.

  • Save time– Sourcing agents know the best suppliers and manufacturers in the market and therefore save you time.
  • Offer product inspection services – Sourcing agents offer quality inspection to your products and curb the risks of losing cost.

Keep in mind that most suppliers will not offer such services but instead invite an inspector who might not even be familiar with your product.

Apart from using sourcing agents, you can chosoe to do everything by yourself.

Start by researching and identifying the appropriate manufactuer or supplier for your flexitanks.

Online platforms such as Alibaba have made this easier by displaying the ratings of different manufacturers and suppliers.

As you do your research, seek to find out and confirm that your supplier is credible.

Keep in mind that there are scammers who present themselves as established firms.

Therefore it is of importance to always verify this before beginning any form of purchasing.

How Do I Select the Right Container for My Flexitank?

To have safe, hassle-free, and damage-free flexitank transportation, it’s important to ensure that you have the appropriate container.

Ensure that the container you select meets the set standards of the industry.

Some of the things to look out for when selecting the appropriate container for your flexitanks are not limited to;

 Sections of flexitanks and conctainer

 Sections of flexitank and shipping container

  • The corrugation of side panels – Avoid containers with flat decal panels.

Instead, ensure that the panels are corrugated along their entire length for safe and secure transportation of the cargo.

  • Minimum gross weight – When transporting bulk liquid, the minimum required gross weight of the container should be 30 tons.

However, if this is unavailable the cargo mass should not exceed 0.6 of the stated maximum container payload.

  • The floor of the container – The floor of the container plays a major role in ensuring that your flexitank arrives at the intended destination.

Look out for the following factors are they might hinder your transportation process.

  • Holes on the floor
  • The groove that exceeds 15mm deep
  • Any factor that will cause adverse effects on the strength of the floor eg. Delamination.
  • A 6mm deep groove that exceeds a width of 150mm.
  • The differences in height between adjacent panels should not exceed 10mm.
  • Door locking mechanism – Door locking cams must be present and must conform to the requirements ISO 1496.

The cams should lock both on the top locking bar retainers and into the lower ones.

In addition to that, ensure that the door handle catch completely closes and that the handle effortlessly fits into the handle retainers.

  • Side and front panel repair – In case your side and front panels have undergone repair before, ensure that they adhere to the set guidelines as per IICL.

Which Documents do you need When Importing Flexitank from China?

Documents are an important aspect of any type of international trade including importing products from China.

Some of the required documents that you will need to have when importing flexitanks from China are not limited to;

  • Import license – An import license is issued by the government to certify that the product has been accepted for importation into the country.
  • Packing List – A packing list outlines all necessary information regarding the contents of the shipment, the weight, and the total number of packages.
  • Import declaration – Refers to a form or document that gives a more detailed and elaborate description of the goods being imported.
  • Insurance certificate- An insurance certificate provides information on the insurance coverage of the goods being imported. It includes the limits of coverage, policy number, the named insured, policies effective period, and the insurance company.
  • Bill of lading – A bill of lading refers to a contract between a shipper and carrier outlining the quantity, type, and destination of the goods being shipped.
  • Country of origin certificate – The main purpose of a country of origin certificate is to certify that the product has been obtained, produced, and manufactured in a particular country.
  • Bill of entry – A bill of entry is filled by customs clearance agents upon arrival of goods. It shows the details of goods being transported into or out of the country.
  • Commercial invoice – A commercial invoice is a document issued by the exporter to the importer. Not only is it used to determine custom duties but also provides details about the sold goods, payment terms, and trade terms.

I hope we answered all your questions about flexitanks.

However, in case you have any question or inquiries about flexitanks, BanSar team is here to help – talk to us now.

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