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Intermediate Bulk Container Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Material (Plastic, Metal, and Paper & Paperboard), By Packaging Type (Rigid and Flexible), By End-use Industry (Industrial Chemical, Food & Beverage, Building & Construction, Pharmaceutical, Agriculture, Paint & Coating, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Last Updated: June 03, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI109253



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The global intermediate bulk container market size was valued at USD 9.42 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow from USD 9.93 billion in 2024 to USD 15.62 billion by 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.83% during the forecast period.

An Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) is a pallet-mounted, reusable, industrial-grade container used for the storage and transportation of liquids and powders in large quantities. The IBC, also called a container, is stackable and can be moved with a pallet truck or forklift. The intermediate bulk container market is poised for steady growth in the coming years. This anticipated growth can be attributed to numerous factors, such as the increased demand for efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable packaging solutions across various industries, thus help in gaining the market share. Furthermore, the growing focus on sustainability and eco-friendly packaging solutions is also likely to fuel growth over the forecast period.

The trade impact on specific goods, services, and trading partners presents a very different picture and has resulted in much greater pressure on certain sectors and supply chains. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a decline in demand for IBCs in many industries. In addition, demand fell significantly more due to the restrictions on passenger transport, and the manufacturing sector proved more resilient due to increased demand for pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment, as well as for household appliances, telecommuting, and fitness equipment.

Intermediate Bulk Container Market Trends

The Incorporation of RFID Tags in the IBC Is Emerging as a New Trend

RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) systems are widely used to track intermediate bulk containers in the chemical industry, racks in automobile factories, and industrial tanks used to transport gases, oils, and waste materials. By attaching RFID tags, containers can be electronically identified from several meters away. Fixed scanners can read tags as they pass through doors or key points in the production process or by employees using handheld readers. Containers can be automatically booked out and assigned to a specific customer and a specific batch. They can be checked in and checked again just as easily, and stock levels can also be checked quickly. By replacing spreadsheets and manual processes, RFID systems save time and reduce errors. The collected data is automatically uploaded to a cloud-based system so anyone with access can see where IBCs are located, what their history is, and what their overall usage is. It can also be easily integrated into back-office systems, allowing asset and ERP systems to be updated automatically.

RFID systems also prevent the use of damaged containers, indicate where inspections are required, and identify those nearing the end of their useful life. In industries, such as chemical and waste recycling, RFID systems can also help manage operations in line with pollution prevention and control regulations and provide compliance data.

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Intermediate Bulk Container Market Growth Factors

Increasing Globalization and International Trade is Flourishing Market Growth

The increasing globalization in the past centuries has led to a surge in international trade between industrialized and emerging countries. With the growth of global trade, economies of different countries rely on exports and good international relations, and many supply chains also rely on raw materials from different countries even before the finished product is ready for shipment, which has driven up the demand for intermediate bulk containers. These containers have developed over the past few decades into a powerful, cost-effective, and efficient means of transporting a wide range of bulk goods internationally.

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted international trade trends over the past three years. In 2020, the economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 led to a decline in international trade in goods and services. However, with the revival of global demand, international trade recovered significantly in 2021 and continued to increase in 2022, strengthening the growth of this market.

For example, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global trade grew by almost 70% from USD 18.5 trillion in 2014 to around USD 32 trillion by the end of 2022, thus bolstering the growth of this market.

Augmenting Demand for Flexible IBCs is Driving Market Growth

Flexibags play a crucial role in the transport of bulk liquid cargo due to the efficiency they provide in this sector. Large and foldable bags are made of several layers of polyethylene or other flexible materials. Unlike traditional means of transportation, such as barrels and drums, bulk shipping flexibags offer numerous benefits, such as reduced risk of contamination, increased storage capacity, and lower transportation costs. Additionally, increasing global trade in liquid products, especially in growing markets, is another factor contributing to market growth. A flexible intermediate container can hold a variety of materials and product quantities. It can also help prevent damage, is non-reactive, and is generally safe to store and perform without much hassle. As they are made of soft, woven plastic, flexible bulk containers are an effective choice for items that might break during storage and transportation.

FIBC bags are robust, so they have a long lifespan and can be used for years. This minimizes waste and contributes to the well-being of the environment. FIBCs enable diverse uses, such as the storage of chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, and other solid materials, reducing the need to utilize other non-environmentally friendly materials fully. Such features contribute to the growth of this market.


High Initial Investment and Maintenance of IBC is Hampering Market Growth

The initial costs of acquiring IBCs can be a barrier, particularly for smaller businesses, and must be carefully considered. High-quality materials, such as advanced polymers, stainless steel, or composites, contribute to the durability and performance of IBCs. These materials are generally more expensive than standard options but offer better resistance to chemicals, impact, and environmental conditions. Advanced manufacturing processes, such as blow molding, rotational molding, or special welding techniques for stainless steel IBCs, can increase production costs. Precision and quality control measures during manufacturing contribute to the overall cost of producing reliable and safe IBCs. One of the main disadvantages of IBCs is that they are more expensive than traditional containers. This is due to the increased strength and stability that High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) provides.

Additionally, there are a few drawbacks of flexible tanks that it can be damaged more easily, which can lead to leaks. This could pose a safety risk if you store hazardous materials in a flexible tank. Another disadvantage of flexible bulk containers is that they may not be compatible with all types of devices. For example, certain pumps may not fit properly on a flexible tank due to their unusual shape. This may result in additional costs associated with purchasing new devices or adapters, thus impeding the intermediate bulk container market growth.

Intermediate Bulk Container Market Segmentation Analysis

By Material Analysis

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Potential Benefits Offered by Plastic is Thriving the Growth of This Segment

Based on the material, the market is segmented into plastic, metal, and paper & paperboard.

With the largest share, plastic is the dominating segment of this market. It is robust, durable, and light in weight. The availability of plastic at an economical price helps in the growth of this segment. Manufacturers are using sustainable plastic for the production of IBC, thus helping in the reduction of plastic waste and lessening the environmental impacts.

Metal is the second dominating segment of this market. It is generally cubic and, therefore, can transport more material in the same area than cylindrically shaped containers and far more. It might be shipped in the same space if packaged in consumer quantities. Metal IBCs have a lifetime of sometimes more than 20 years. If metal IBCs have approval for the transport of dangerous goods, this can be renewed by regular inspection by a competent person.

By Packaging Type Analysis

Better Rigidity and Recyclability Offered by Rigid Containers is Contributing to the Segment’s Growth

Based on the product type, the market is segmented into rigid and flexible.

The rigid segment holds the largest share of the market. Rigid intermediate bulk container tanks are made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). They're much stronger and more stable than traditional metal or glass containers. This makes them ideal for storing and transporting liquids and other materials that need to be kept safe and secure. Rigid tanks are advantageous to logistics. Using cubic or rectangle-shaped totes that are stackable allows increased packing efficiency, and the product is also more cost-effective for transport and storage. In addition, environmental advantages have emerged since the use of the container can provide fewer emissions by reducing carbon emissions compared to cylindrical shaped containers and, in particular, consumer packages or smaller containers.

Flexible is the second dominating segment of this market. Flexible IBCs are relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of packaging, making them a cost-effective option for many industries. These bags are made of heavy-duty woven polypropylene, which makes them very durable and resistant to tears and punctures. They can be used in a wide range of industries, including agriculture, construction, mining, food, chemical, and recycling.

End-use Industry Analysis

Rising Living Standards and Infrastructure Demand is Bolstering the Industrial Chemical Segment Growth

Based on the end-use industry, the market is segmented into industrial chemical, food & beverage, building & construction, pharmaceutical, agriculture, paint & coating, and others.

Industrial chemical is the largest end-use industry in this market. Rising standards of living and a growing middle class in emerging markets will drive ongoing strong demand for chemicals as more end-users purchase appliances, consumer goods, automobiles, and other products that require the use of chemicals. Organic chemicals are witnessing high growth due to growing demand from consumer goods and pharmaceutical industries, therefore driving the growth of this segment.

Building and construction is the second dominating segment of this market. The continuous development in the developed and emerging nations and the increasing purchasing power of people led to the high demand for infrastructure throughout the world, thus contributing to the growth of this segment.


Asia Pacific Intermediate Bulk Container Market Size, 2023 (USD Billion)

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The market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Asia Pacific is the leading region in intermediate bulk container market share. The region is expected to witness significant expansion due to rapid industrialization and the growth of end-use industries. The continuous growth of the infrastructure and the growing agriculture industry is contributing to the growth of this region.

North America is the second dominating region of this market. The presence of key industry players, along with continuous product development, is propelling the growth of this region to flourish.

Europe is experiencing significant growth driven by the presence of established industries and strict waste management regulations that encourage the use of reusable and recyclable packaging solutions.

Latin America is experiencing moderate growth. The growing agriculture and building and construction industry, along with the paint & coatings industry, is primarily driving the region’s growth.

List of Key Companies in Intermediate Bulk Container Market

Key Participants in the Market Witnessing Significant Growth Opportunities

The global intermediate bulk container market is highly fragmented and competitive. Some leading companies dominate the market by introducing modern packaging in the packaging industry in terms of market share. They are continually focusing on increasing their customer base across regions and innovation.

Top players in the market include Grief Inc., DS Smith, Pyramid Technoplast Ltd, Thielmann US LLC, Mondi Group, and others. Numerous other players operating in the industry are focused on delivering advanced packaging solutions.

List of Key Companies Profiled

  • Grief Inc. (U.S.)

  • DS Smith (U.K.)

  • Pyramid Technoplast Ltd (India)

  • Thielmann US LLC (Switzerland)

  • Time Technoplast Ltd (India)

  • Mondi Plc (U.K.)

  • SCHÜTZ GmbH & Co. KGaA (Germany)

  • Pyramid IBC Containers (India)

  • Mauser Packaging Solutions (U.S.)

  • SIA Flexitanks Limited (U.S.)

  • Snyder Industries, Inc. (U.S.)

  • Rishi FIBC Solutions PVT. LTD. (India)


  • May 2023 - Tosca, one of the global leaders in reusable packaging and performance pooling solutions, launched a new Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) tool to support businesses transporting bulk liquids to lessen their environmental footprint by selecting the most sustainable type of liquid intermediate bulk containers.

  • April 2023 - Greif, Inc., announced that it has completed an acquisition, increasing its ownership in Centurion Container LLC (Centurion), a leader in North American intermediate bulk container and plastic drum reconditioning, from 9% to 80% in an all-cash transaction for USD 145 million.

  • December 2022 - New Water Capital, a private equity firm, made an additional investment in the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container (FIBC) sector with the acquisition of Bulk Lift International LLC and Bagwell Supply Ltd. The company serves customers in the food and beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, minerals, and construction products industries.

  • March 2022 - Mauser Packaging Solutions, one of the renowned global leaders in solutions and services across the packaging life cycle, announced that it has received UN certification for its Infinity Series intermediate bulk container, which is a composite IBC with an inner receptacle made from high-quality, natural colored Post-Consumer Resin (PCR) generated in-house called Recolene.

  • September 2020 - Greif, one of the world leaders in industrial packaging products and services, launched real-time tracking technology for composite intermediate bulk containers in its drive to help customers surge performance, minimize costs and improve their carbon footprint.

An Infographic Representation of Intermediate Bulk Container Market

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The market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, competitive landscape, product/service types, Porter’s five forces analysis, and leading end-use industries of the product. Besides, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the above factors, the report encompasses several factors that contributed to the market's growth in recent years.

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 5.83% from 2024 to 2032


Value (USD Billion)


By Material

  • Plastic

  • Metal

  • Paper & Paperboard

By Packaging Type

  • Rigid

  • Flexible

By End-use Industry

  • Industrial Chemical

  • Food & Beverage

  • Building & Construction

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Agriculture

  • Paint & Coating

  • Others

By Region

  • North America (By Material, By Product Type, By End-use Industry, and Country)

    • U.S. (By End-use Industry)

    • Canada (By End-use Industry)

  • Europe (By Material, By Product Type, By End-use Industry, and Country)

    • Germany (By End-use Industry)

    • U.K. (By End-use Industry)

    • France (By End-use Industry)

    • Italy (By End-use Industry)

    • Spain (By End-use Industry)

    • Russia (By End-use Industry)

    • Poland (By End-use Industry)

    • Romania (By End-use Industry)

    • Rest of Europe (By End-use Industry)

  • Asia Pacific (By Material, By Product Type, By End-use Industry, and Country)

    • China (By End-use Industry)

    • India (By End-use Industry)

    • Japan (By End-use Industry)

    • Australia (By End-use Industry)

    • South Korea (By End-use Industry)

    • Southeast Asia (By End-use Industry)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By End-use Industry)

  • Latin America (By Material, By Product Type, By End-use Industry, and Country)

    • Brazil (By End-use Industry)

    • Mexico (By End-use Industry)

    • Argentina (By End-use Industry)

    • Rest of Latin America (By End-use Industry)

  • Middle East & Africa (By Material, By Product Type, By End-use Industry, and Country)

    • Saudi Arabia (By End-use Industry)

    • U.A.E. (By End-use Industry)

    • Oman (By End-use Industry)

    • South Africa (By End-use Industry)

    • Rest of Middle East & Africa (By End-use Industry)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Fortune Business Insights study shows that the global intermediate bulk container market was worth USD 9.42 billion in 2023.

The market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate CAGR of 5.83% in the forecasted period.

The market size of Asia Pacific stood at USD 3.48 billion in 2023.

Based on the material, the plastic segment dominates the global market share due to the significant features offered by the material.

The global market size is expected to reach USD 15.62 billion by 2032.

The key market drivers are the increasing globalization and international trade and augmenting demand for flexible IBCs.

The top players in the market are Grief Inc., DS Smith, Pyramid Technoplast Ltd, Thielmann US LLC, Mondi Group, and others.

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