Best Practice Guidelines for loading, transport and unloading of flexitanks
CEFIC, June 2018
A flexitank, also known as a flexitank system, is a soft, light, bladder (also called flexibag), typically made of polyethylene, available in volumes up to 24.000 litres, fitted within a standard 20-foot drybox container. The scope of these guidelines is restricted to the use of flexitanks for the transport of bulk non-dangerous liquid cargoes within a general purpose (GP) 20-foot freight container. The bladder is generally intended for single-use.
For the purpose of this guideline a flexitank system as described in PAS 1008 will be referred to as a flexitank. The bladder will be referred to as the flexibag.
The transport in flexitanks of bulk chemical products not classified as dangerous goods, is becoming an attractive alternative to transport in ISO tankcontainers. In the early days, a flexitank damage resulted in leaks, loss of cargo and subsequent clean-up activities. The root cause was typically attributed to inappropriate handling and fitting and impact forces during transport of the flexitank. In recent years, flexitank producers and operators have achieved major improvements in bag
manufacturing, container selection criteria, as well as safe loading and unloading practices, which have led to a reduction of the number of spills and leaks. These improvements, in combination with a continuous search by shippers for lower cost options for the transport of certain types of nondangerous cargoes, has resulted in a significant increase of the number of flexitank movements over the last decade and it is projected to increase to more than 1.000.000 movements by 2020.
Incidents involving flexitanks pose a higher risk to result in a loss of containment compared to tankcontainers. The use of flexitanks for the carriage of non-dangerous liquid chemicals should therefore only be carried out with the appropriate equipment and following the right operating procedures.
2. OBJECTIVE & SCOPE
3. RISK ASSESSMENT
4. EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS
4.4. Loading equipment
5. OPERATING PROCEDURES
5.5. Flexibag disposal and assurance
5.6. Specific requirements for different modes of transport
6. FLEXITANK MANUFACTURER AND OPERATOR QUALIFICATIONS
6.1. Flexitank manufacturer qualifications
6.2. Operator qualification and training
7. INCIDENT MANAGEMENT
7.2. Accident response
7.3. Incident investigation
8.1. Checklist for container selection
8.2. Checklist for flexitank installation
8.3. Checklist before flexitank filling
8.4. Checklist during flexitank filling
8.5. Checklist after filling flexitank
8.6. Checklist for unloading of the flexitank