As an element of its 2020 Strategic Plan, the National Renderers Association continues to pay attention to the development of international markets. This attention is timely because of the new realities taking shape for North American renderers: opening of China markets for tallow and poultry products, a demand shift to vegetable diets in the feed industry, and increased consumption of rendered fats and oils as feedstock for biodiesel, to name a few. Many Usa suppliers who want to survive inside 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 fitted to the requirements of international transportation, however the iso tank is merely one half of the equation. Working with a vertically integrated flexitank provider reduces risk, miscommunication, as well as the challenges of managing multiple points of contact. Shippers should exercise homework in searching for the ideal logistics partner. As Red Adair, the famous oil well firefighter, said, “If you feel it’s expensive to engage a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” In that spirit, following is a brief background around the flexitank industry and inquiries to guide shippers in distinguishing between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized logistics providers.
Through the 1980s towards the early 2000s, most flexitanks were reusable rubber tanks that had to be repositioned and cleaned between loads, increasing costs and lead times for shippers. This made them operationally indistinguishable from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) tanks. In 2001, the single-layer, recyclable flexitank was perfected by using a linear low density polyethylene, thus transforming the current market.
The key 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 may be shipped per container using flexitanks as compared to totes, intermediate bulk containers, or drums.
The protection of product and personnel must not be overlooked. After all, what good is really a competitive freight rate if product is rejected or personnel are injured? The only-layer, single-use Oil Flexitank produced 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 can be a closed system from manufacturer to supplier to receiver. Additionally, there is no probability of moisture caused by inadequate cleaning practices or condensation because of fluctuations in ambient temperature. They are both common causes for rejection of ISO tanks by loading supervisors.
Personnel should not need to manually manipulate the flexitank to accomplish a complete discharge. You will find a common misconception that flexitanks must be “rolled such as a toothpaste tube” to acquire all the product out. Shippers are often surprised to find this is a breach of safety and health protocol. The only-layer flexitank system was created to be operated externally – no climbing into or on top of the container as with ISO tanks. Translucent material can be another good thing about single-layer technology and allows load supervisors to find out the product within the flexitank during loading and discharge, an issue that will not be possible with multilayer flexitanks on account of an outer layer of polypropylene.
No less important than cost and safety factors are simplicity of use. Full-service providers arrange for the container to arrive pre-fit in the loading facility. For rendered fats and greases, a heater pad is positioned within the flexitank to promote efficient discharge at destination. What’s more, most single-layer flexitanks have the same cam lock valve as ISO tanks. Precursors for the modern day flexitank enjoyed a valve at the top, but newer designs have reoriented the valve to the bottom of the flexitank. Bottom discharge procedure results in a much better experience for receivers.
Finally, single-layer flexitanks are sustainably designed. They can be recycled to use in consumer packaging, geomembranes, and also other large-scale applications.
First, shippers should elect to use globally integrated providers. Some companies that manufacture flexitanks will not be involved in the logistics process and viceversa. Moreover, many forwarders who purchase flexitanks do not have appropriate tech support on a global scale.
Second, shippers should know how to look flexitank providers and distinguish between expert and inexperienced, undercapitalized providers. The subsequent questions should help shippers work through marketing gimmicks and find a robust partner by using a global network.
The amount of wholly-owned factories does the organization have? If none, they can have difficulty guaranteeing quality without manipulating the method of production. Even joint ventures between logistics providers and flexitank manufacturing companies have proven insufficient to make certain quality. The most costly flexitank is really 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 or not they are exporting from South Dakota or South Korea. Further, global inventories take time and effort to deal with so positioning flexitanks to satisfy shipper demand needs to be handled from a dedicated fleet manager to ensure flexitanks are properly handled and meet uniform quality standards.
The amount of research and development staff are used by the business? Scale matters, as does a collaborative design process, which yields a greater product and a lot more frequent innovation.
What technical presence and repair is available, and also at what cost? Technical support should be included in the door-to-port/door rate and available globally around the clock. Technical personnel needs to be onsite for load and discharge to coach plant personnel and as needed through the entire supply chain.
The number of full time technical personnel are hired by the corporation? Where will they be located? Ask the provider to tell apart between dedicated technical personnel and sales or other staff doubling as technicians.
How many facilities and offices does the organization have globally? Can they communicate in the local language of the customer? Ask the provider to tell apart between their very own offices and third-party agents to learn the dimensions of their network along with the capital investment they may have made therein.
What automated key performance indicator reports are sent to customers? Shippers should have the choice to acquire 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? Everything that creates a delay or disruption in the supply chain should be investigated by qualified personnel (often technical managers), documented, 95dexlpky communicated for 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 needs to be covered under the policy. Shippers must also confirm whether general average is covered under the standard policy.
Exactly what is the deductible in the case of a loss? Some flexitank service providers give a no-deductible policy for a good premium.
Once shippers look for a globally integrated logistics partner, choose door-to-port/door service. The proper partner will consolidate tasks and present support at critical points within the supply chain. What this means is fewer vendors to control, less invoicing, reduced chance of miscommunication and delays, and a transfer of liability clear of their business. Who doesn’t want that?