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The global flexitank market size was USD 439.3 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 1,201.6 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 13.7% during the forecast period.
Flexitank is a soft, high-strength, light-weight, and disposable plastic bladder used for the bulk shipments of non-hazardous liquid materials within a standard 20-foot ISO shipping container. These products facilitate transportation of food-grade liquids and non-hazardous chemicals across oceans at significantly lower costs as compared to other bulk liquid transportation methods such as ISO tanks and Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs). They hold around 30 percent more payload as compared to these options when fitted in the container and resist bulking on the container sidewalls, making bulk transportation of liquids safe and secure.
Container Owners Association (COA) has set stringent guidelines regarding the manufacturing, installation, and application of the products. Furthermore, they have to meet standards set by the US FDA, EU, and Halal certification agencies for shipment of food-grade liquids. With exports of food products, hazardous chemicals, and pharmaceuticals crossing the mark of USD 3 trillion in 2018, the opportunities for growth are plenty. Accounting to this, the companies in the market are expanding their product offerings to facilitate high volume transportation with reduced cost for their clients.
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Use of Renewable and Recyclable Materials facilitating Lightweighting and Enhanced Design Quality
Traditionally, flexitanks were manufactured using rubber materials, but plastics completely replaced rubber in the early 90s. However, concerns regarding environmental damage caused by conventional plastics have warranted the development of these products from recyclable and renewable materials. Currently, recyclable polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are majorly used for the manufacture of flexitanks. Furthermore, companies have collaborated with material developers such as Dow for research purposes associated with the development of low density and high molecular weight Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) having improved toughness for the manufacturing of these products. Such research activities shall yield materials that are high in strength along with being safe for the transportation of food products and chemicals.
Currently, only non-hazardous liquids can be transported using the products but companies are seeking materials that can resist the chemical corrosion, facilitating the transport of all liquids with enhanced safety. This trend shall provide novel growth pathways for the companies operating in the market.
Increase in Transportation of Commodity Products Will Fuel Product Demand
According to a report by the World Trade Organization, the exports of industrial goods augmented to USD 11 trillion in 2016 from USD 8 trillion in 2006. The growth is expected to continue its path upwards with the increasing dependence of countries on each other for various commodities. Food products, chemicals, petroleum products, and pharmaceuticals are some of the major commodities which are expected to show maximum traction in the near future. Furthermore, their transportation is expected to be increasingly safeguarded to avoid potential losses. As flexitanks are preferred for transportation of these goods in liquid form due to ease of loading and unloading, and low losses during transportation, its market is expected to expand considerably during the forecast period.
Cost-Effectiveness of these Products over other Bulk Liquid Transportation Methods Providing Growth Pathways for the Market
These tanks are not the only option present for transportation of liquid products, but they are very cost-effective as compared to other options such as IBCs and drums. While the manufacturing cost is higher than other conventional products, its installation requires almost a quarter amount of time and a very low amount of labor. According to SIA Flexitanks, standard products can hold up to 24 tons of payload, which is about 15% more than IBCs and 40% more than drums. This facilitates the reduction of transportation costs. Furthermore, they attract lower demurrage costs at unloading ports as compared to other storage solutions, which leads to a lower cost of transportation compared to IBCs and drums, which in turn is expected to aid the flexitank market growth.
Tearability and Inability to Sustain High Pressure Restricts the Product Adoption
Flexitanks are used in transportation and storage of liquids, but are highly prone to wear & tear if the proper lining of the shipping container is not carried out as any sharp object or corner can easily tear the product leading to loss of payload. Furthermore, while loading of material, if the pressure inside the tank increases beyond the specified level, there is a possibility of the bursting of the tank. The pressure sustaining capacity of these products is considerably lower than other bulk liquid solutions in transportation methods, which further restricts its adoption for the carriage of high-density liquids.
Single-Use Segment to Hold Largest Share in the Market throughout the Forecast Period
Based on reusability, the market is classified into single-use and reusable. The single-use segment accounts for a larger share in the market on account of low cost and ease in the disposal of the tank. Single-use these tanks reduce the cost of unloading the payload as the remnant material is discarded as compared to complete removal of products from reusable products to reduce the chances of future contaminations. Furthermore, several manufacturers have started manufacturing products using recyclable material to meet the demand for sustainable operations, thus, further expanding the traction for the single-use segment.
On the other hand, the reusable segment is also expected to grow at a significant pace owing to the usage of reusable flexitanks for the transportation of oils and non-hazardous liquid chemicals which are less prone to contamination detriments.
Monolayer Segment to Account for Largest Share in the Market
Based on product, the market is divided into monolayer and multilayer segments. Monolayer segment accounts for a larger share than the other segments owing to low product cost as compared to the multilayer segment. Moreover, usage of monolayer tanks reduces the probability of contamination from other liquids in case of a layer of tears as is in the case of multilayer tanks, will contribute to the growth of the monolayer segment.
On several occasions, the payload liquid does not fill the capacity of the product, which not only increases the incurred transportation cost but also affects the performance of the product as it does not meet the required internal pressure to avoid wobbling. Thus, the demand for multilayer products is expected to increase at faster rate as it facilitates the transportation of two or more liquids in a single container, reducing the transportation cost for the customer and avoiding wear and tear of the tank due to insufficient internal pressure.
Bottom Loading Segment to Gain a Higher Market Share During the Forecast Period
Based on the loading type, the market is categorized into the top loading and bottom loading segment. Initially, these products were designed with top loading configurations. But, bottom loading flexitanks offer benefits such as easy loading & unloading procedure and reduced losses of the payload during the unloading process. These benefits have led to the bottom loading segment to gain considerable market share in the past and shall continue the same in the market during the forecast period.
On the other hand, the top-loading segment is also expected to gain considerable value during the forecast period owing to the higher demand for these products from fruit juice and alcoholic beverage manufacturers. These liquids form lower bulkhead during the loading process and do not require special configuration to stop the backpass of liquids and thus, the economical option of top-loading flexitanks is preferred by the customers operating in these sectors.
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Food-Grade Liquids to be the Fastest Growing Segment in the Market
In terms of application, the market is segmented into food-grade liquids, non-hazardous liquid chemicals, and pharmaceutical liquids. Food-grade liquids are further categorized into alcoholic beverages; edible oils; juices, concentrates & syrups; and others. Food-grade liquids not only hold the largest share in the market but they are also the fastest-growing segment on account of large emphasis by governments of developing countries such as India, China, Brazil, and South Africa on strengthening their food security. These governments are ensuring the same for their citizens by importing processed food products like fruit juices, sauces & condiments, and other beverages from developed nations, which in turn shall create a huge demand for shipping such products in the near future.
On the other hand, the demand for pharmaceutical liquids shall observe an enormous spike after the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic as people become increasingly concerned about their health and well-being. This shall create a massive demand for packaging and logistics products for shipment of medicines during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific Flexitank Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)
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The global flexitank market size in Asia Pacific was estimated at USD 245.4 million in 2019. Asia Pacific is expected to lead the market owing to the heavy density of food products and chemical manufacturing hubs in the region. Furthermore, governments in China, India, as well as some Southeast Asian countries are focusing on increasing their exports, which shall present a significant growth opportunity for the market in the Asia Pacific region. The market in North America will grow on account of large exports of fruit juices and syrups from the region to the eastern countries. Moreover, the transport of liquids via rail-based containers has expanded tremendously in North America and has created a huge product demand in the region. On the flip side, the market in Europe will mirror the growth of pharmaceutical exports from the region. According to FTS Container Packaging Co., Ltd., about 30% of the global wine shipping is done via flexitanks. Additionally, the trade data provided by the UN shows that Europe accounts for the largest share of wine and other alcoholic beverages exports across the globe. This represents an attractive opportunity for the growth of the market in the region.
The market in Latin America will show significant growth owing to an increase in alcoholic beverages and fruit juices export from the region to food processing industries in North America and Europe. The Middle East & Africa market is expected to grow as demand for petrochemicals expand across the globe. Furthermore, demand for the product is expanding for the transportation of base oil to Sub-Saharan Africa from the Middle East, which is expected to drive the growth of the market in the region.
Key Market Players Aiming for Market Share with Capacity Expansion to Maintain Their Authority in the Market
Competitive landscape of the market depicts a highly consolidated market with the top 10 companies accounting for a majority share in the market. Several companies have entered the market considering the attractive opportunity present in the market while key players present in the market are investing a large number of resources to expand their footprint across multiple regions in order to gain market share.
Furthermore, players operating in the market have sought alternative transportation routes wherein flexitank can be utilized such as railways and roadways to serve their customers efficiently. This trend is projected to positively impact the global market during the forecast period.
An Infographic Representation of Flexitank Market
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The global flexitank market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading applications of the product.
Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.
Volume (Thousand Units) Value (USD Million)
By Loading Type
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 439.3 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 1,201.6 million by 2027.
In 2019, the market value stood at USD 439.3 million.
Growing at a CAGR of 13.7%, the market will exhibit rapid growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).
Food-grade liquids segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
Increase in transportation of commodities shall be the key driving factor for the growth of the market.
Asia Pacific held the highest market share in 2019.
Increasing transportation of liquid chemicals to smoothly run multiple industrial processes and focus of various countries such as the U.S., China and India to improve their exports and develop the food security for their citizens shall be the key factors driving the adoption of these tanks.
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