The global flexitanks market was valued at around US$ 330 Mn in 2017 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of over 14% from 2018 to 2026, according to a new report by Transparency Market Research (TMR) titled ‘Flexitanks Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026.’ Flexitanks are bags made up of polymer material such as polyethylene, polypropylene, etc. designed to carry and transport large quantities of liquids ranging from 10,000 liters to 30,000 liters. When transporting bulk quantities of liquids, flexitanks are considered for transportation in a standard 20-feet container, which can carry a maximum quantity of 24,000 liters using one flexitank. Currently, flexitanks are primarily employed for transportation of food grade liquids such as wine, fruit juices, edible oils, etc.
Increase in Demand for Edible Liquids
Population across the globe has been rising significantly in the last few decades. Increase in population is one of the major reasons for the rise in demand for edible liquids and the corresponding surge in their production and exports. Wine, fruit juices, edible oil, sweeteners, and water are some of the liquids that are primarily exported in flexitanks. Countries in Europe such as Italy, Spain, Germany, and France are among the key producers and exporters of wine across the globe. Moreover, countries such as the U.S., China, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile are some of the prominent producers of wine. Production of wine increased in Australia, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil, and Hungary in 2017 compared to the previous year. Countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia are among the major producers and exporters of edible oil. Production of vegetable oil in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Brazil rose significantly in 2017 from that in the previous year, due to the increase in consumption.
China and the U.S. are among the prominent exporters of water for drinking and for usage in beverages. Risk of leakage of cargo in flexitanks is higher than that in other bulk packaging carriers. Flexitanks are made up of polyethylene or polypropylene, due to which chances of damage to flexitank material is high due to improper or careless handling during loading/unloading. This is one of the major factors restraining the flexitanks market as a small leakage may result in huge loss of cargo and related monetary losses. Loss of cargo due to leakage is one of the major concerns during the export of liquids. These incidents primarily occur due to adoption of improper ways of installation and loading in flexitanks. Fitting operations should ideally be carried out by a person or organization having technical expertise and knowhow about flexitanks. Thus, flexitank manufacturers have the opportunity to forward integrate their operations and provide fitting services of flexitanks in containers. Several existing players have integrated operations with respect to flexitank manufacturing and fitting services.
Multilayer Flexitanks, Single-use Flexitanks, Polyethylene, and Food Grade Liquids Anticipated to be the Dominant Segments during the Forecast Period
In terms of product, the multilayer flexitanks segment has gained a significant share of the flexitanks market in the last few years and the trend is likely to continue during the forecast period. Multilayer flexitanks are made up of several layers of polyethylene, covered with an outer protective layer of polypropylene. They are highly flexible and strong, thus making them secure to carry a large quantity of liquids. Single-use flexitanks are highly preferred these days, as they eliminate the extra effort of cleaning when using reusable flexitanks. Polyethylene holds a major share, by weight, in the overall construction of a multilayer flexitank. LLDPE is a type of polyethylene that is significantly employed for manufacturing polyethylene layers. Flexitanks are employed to transport edible liquids such as vegetable oils, fruit juices, wine, etc. Food grade liquids held a major share of the flexitanks market in 2017.
Asia Pacific and Europe among the Major Consumers of Flexitanks
In terms of revenue and volume, Asia Pacific held a prominent share of more than 40% of the global flexitanks market in 2017. Asia Pacific is experiencing major economic and infrastructural development in developing countries such as China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. This can be attributed to the rapid industrialization in the region, due to which the contribution of the region in the global trade for industrial liquids and non-hazardous chemicals such as lubricants, paints, inks etc. has increased significantly in the past few years.
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Also, the region is one of the leading global suppliers of edibles liquids such as vegetable oils, water, sweeteners, aerated beverages, etc. Europe is one of the leading producers and exporters of wine. Wine is one of the highly transported liquids using flexitanks. Around 30% of the global wine transport is carried out using flexitanks. Europe is the second major consumers of flexitanks after Asia Pacific. Both regions are anticipated to register a significant expansion during the forecast period.
Moderately Consolidated Market for Flexitanks with the Top Few Players Accounting for More than 50% of the Market
The global flexitanks market is a moderately consolidated market with the top players accounting for more than 50% of market share. Key players in the flexitanks market are Trans Ocean Bulk Logistics Ltd., Braid Logistics UK, Trust Flexitanks, and Qingdao Global Flexitank Logistics, etc. Players in the flexitanks market are continuously engaging in the expansion of their respective production capacities, looking at the rising potential offered by the market. In 2018, Qingdao Hengxin Plastic increased its flexitanks production capacity to 200,000 units. The company has been manufacturing flexitanks for more than a decade. It sold about 100,000 units of flexitanks in 2017. In June 2017, Environmental Packaging Technologies (EPT) began expansion of its manufacturing facility in Zeeland, Michigan, the U.S. due to increased customer demand. In April 2016, Rishi FIBC Pvt. Ltd. expanded by developing a 180,000 sq. ft., full-fledged campus for production of flexitanks along with bulk packaging products in Mysore, Karnataka, India.