Flexitank: bulk liquids transport

Bulk liquids transport in flexitank


  • Flexitank: What is it?

    A flexitank is an efficient and secure system of maritime transport of bulk liquids in a polyethylene bag that is installed in a container and can transport between 16,000 and 26,000 liters. transforms a conventional 20’DV in a safe and efficient marine transportation system of bulk liquids.

  • What liquids can be transported in a Flexitank?

    Drinking water, fruit juice and concentrate, must, wine, sweeteners, malt extracts, olive oil, vegetable oils, white oils, fatty acids, UCO, UVO (uliquid fats, biodiesel, Additives, waxes, detergents, glycerine, natural latex, synthetic latex, lubricants, paraffins, polyols, printing ink and other non-hazardous chemicals.


Specialists in flexitank liquid transport


    Our specialised technical team can address every flexitank need and also provide help in transfers, surveys and reports together with any other technical support as may be needed.

    We also have an operational team with over 10 years of experience working exclusively in handling flexitank import and export shipments.


    We can offer you more than 20 flexitank configurations customised to your needs including aseptic flexitanks for NFC juices and flexitanks for refrigerated cargo.


    We are experts in discharging goods such as palm oil, sunflower oil, biomass, UCO, etc. whose viscosity makes them difficult to handle. We have cutting-edge heating systems for this purpose and can design specialised discharging systems for our customers in their plants.


    In Spain, we are approved suppliers for the leading petrochemical firms.


The vast majority of non-hazardous liquids can be transported in a flexitank. The most common include:


Drinking water, fruit juice and concentrate, must, wine, sweeteners, sorbitol, emulsions, malt extracts, olive oil, vegetable oils (sunflower oil, palm oil, corn oil, etc.), white oils, fatty acids, ricinoleic acid, etc.

Natural non-food products

UCO (used cooking oil), UVO (used vegetable oil), liquid fats, biodiesel, etc.


Additives, waxes, aluminium chlorohydroxide, detergents, glycerine, natural latex, synthetic latex, lubricants, paraffins, polyols, printing ink and other non-hazardous chemicals.


Importing in flexitanks

We are specialists in importing to Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Guatemala in flexitanks from product markets such as:

  • Mineral oils from the USA.
  • Used Cooked Oil (UCO) from Asia.
  • Oil from North Africa.
  • Fish oils from South America.
  • Chemicals.

Exporting in flexitanks

We are specialists in exporting from Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Panama, Peru and Guatemala in flexitanks for products and markets including:

  • Latex to Colombia, the USA, Brazil and several European countries.
  • Palm oil to Chile, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
  • Fish oil to Spain.
  • Wine to China and Russia.
  • Glycerine to Asia.
  • Oil to the USA.
  • Chemicals.


A flexitank, also called a flexibag, is as the name suggests a large flexible tank or bag which turns a conventional container into a safe and efficient system for bulk liquid transport by sea.

Types of flexitank

The first flexitanks marketed were reusable and needed to be cleaned before further use. Nowadays, flexitanks are single-use and made from 100% recyclable materials.

According to capacity:

Flexitanks’ capacity is expressed in litres with a density equal to 1 g/cm3, i.e. showing their maximum load capacity for products with this density such as water and wine. A flexitank can hold between 16,000 and 26,000 litres, although the most common models can contain 18,000, 20,000, 22,000, 24,000 and 26,000 litres. We usually choose the model with the largest capacity bearing in mind the product’s density. The recommended flexitank sizes by product type are:

  • Flexitank for transporting glycerine: 19,000 l and 20,000 l (depending on densities).
  • Flexitank for transporting wine: from 24,000 l to 26,000 l.
  • Flexitank for transporting oil: from 24,000 l to 26,000 l.
  • Flexitank for transporting latex: 24,000 l.

According to uses:

  • Standard: suitable for any bulk liquid not considered hazardous cargo.
  • With an EVOH barrier: especially used for shipping bulk wines and juices as this barrier stops oxygen getting in.
  • Reeflex: for goods which need to travel at temperatures below ambient temperature. Dairy products are a good example.
  • Aseptic: protects the cargo from contamination as it has a sterilisable aseptic loading valve. It is designed for very sensitive products such as milk and juices.

According to the number of layers:

Considering the number of layers which it is manufactured, there are three types of flexitank:

  • Multilayer flexitanks: they are made with 3 or 4 layers of polyethylene. The main advantage of the multilayer flexitanks is that each layer is very thin and flexible, making it very easy when the download is complete roll the semi-empty flexitank to not leave losses.
  • Monolayer Flexitanks: this type of equipment is manufactured with a single layer of polyethylene thicker and thus less flexible. Its main advantage is that no product can remain between the layers.
  • Bilayer flexitanks: combine the advantages of the previous two systems. It is manufactured with a layer of polyethylene, hard as monolayer but thin and flexible, laminated with a second twisted layer which protects the interior of the irregularities of the container.

According to the loading valve:

There are 3 systems of loading/ unloading in the flexitanks market:

  • Upload/ download above: flexitank is equipped with a valve on top of it, which means that both loading and downloading an operator must climb above the bulkhead, to connect and disconnect the hose. While gravity loading and unloading is simpler, it is more time-consuming.
  • Upload/ download below: in this case the valve is located on the bottom front of the flexitank and passes through the bulkhead or bulkhead, which is simple and safe to connect the hose to load or unload.
  • Dual: : allows two different products to be carried in the same container. It is often used for shipping bulk wine as it makes it possible to load two types of wine in the same flexitank with a capacity of 11,000 and 13,000 litres.


Heating systems

  • Heater pads are placed below the flexitank when it is installed and the product is heated until it liquefies, making it easier to discharge the products.
  • Flexitank with a steam liner (heat exchanger): flexitank with a built-in heating system which provides direct heat transfer and turns the container into a sauna.

Flexitank in reefer containers

  • Reeflex: to prevent high temperatures from damaging the product, we have a type of flexitank designed exclusively for reefer containers.


A flexitank is an extremely cost-effective and environmentally friendly system for shipping non-hazardous liquids. Its main advantages are:

Flexitank vs Isotank

  • Greater availability of units: unassembled flexitanks can be shipped anywhere by plane, whereas tank containers are limited plus if there aren’t any at your loading site, they have to be brought in and you will be charged for the transport even if they are not loaded.
  • Easier to assemble and dispose of: flexitanks are easy to assemble, single-use and easy to dispose of compared to ISO tanks, which have to be returned to their place of origin and cleaned before they can be used again.
  • Lower cost: the freight and logistics costs for flexitanks are much cheaper, whereas ISO tanks involve tank repositioning, steaming and cleaning costs.

Flexitank vs drums or IBCs

  • More cost-effective: thousands of litres more can be loaded into a sea container with a flexitank than with drums, which directly cuts logistics costs and also means as in the previous case that there are no return or cleaning costs.
  • Minimal handling: it only involves filling and emptying one container and is therefore much less labour-intensive than filling numerous drums.
  • Better for the environment: a flexitank is made of 100% recyclable materials.

    Flexitank must be installed in a shipping container only by qualified personnel and approved by the manufacturer of flexitank. The installation process usually takes place in warehouses and container depots, being the last, the most desirable option. We must verify the suitability of the container, line the inside of protective material, place the flexitank and the bulkhead and make sure everything is in perfect condition.

    Then the container is brought to the place of loading, to fill it just open the right door of the container, placing the pump to the valve. It is very important to respect the parameters of loading of the flexitank and never open the left door of the container.

  • Transportation of flexitank

    Once loaded, the transportation of container is the same as in all other cases. Not all flexitanks manufacturers are certified by all shipping lines and not all have passed the stress tests of the COA (Container Owners Association). It is therefore important to ensure the chosen flexitank may be transported by sea without problems.

    If the container is eventually transported by rail shall ensure that flexitank manufacturer is approved specifically for the rail system.

  • Discharging the flexitank

    Once flexitank reaches the destination, simply open the right door, connect the hose to the drain pump and valve and wait until flexitank is empty. The process may take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending both on the capacity of the pump and theviscosity of the product.

    When flexitank is almost empty and to avoid losses, it is best to double the flexitank like a tooth paste tube is involved. This will push the remaining product into the mouth of flexitank and can be downloaded completely.

    Once the flexitank has been emptied, it is taken out of the container and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner as both the pure polyethylene used to make the flexitank and the steel of the bulkhead are 100% recyclable materials.


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