Transforming Liquid Assets into Capital Gains

Q: What is the current state of the bulk liquid transportation market?

A: Over the past several years, the only viable option for bulk liquid transport has been specially designed tank trucks. These trucks are expensive to produce and maintain, and their quantity is limited. A single truck can only carry a specific type of liquid, and it has to be thoroughly cleaned between each use, severely restricting backhaul opportunities.

This significantly limits the options for companies looking to optimize their bulk liquid supply chain. Currently, bulk liquid shippers have to search for an available tank truck, and may have to pay a high premium if a tank truck is not readily available.

Q: How is the industry addressing these issues?

A: A new flexible tank that transforms a traditional 53-foot dry van into a bulk liquid transportation system is now available. Each tank can be customized in accordance with the weight of the liquid being transported to achieve maximum payload capacity. Constructed from high-grade, low-density polyethylene, these tanks can be sized up to 5,000 gallons of capacity, and can carry a variety of non-hazardous chemical and food-grade products.

Using flexible tanks in traditional dry vans significantly frees up transportation assets to increase profit potential by expanding shipping opportunities for shippers; optimizing backhaul opportunities for carriers; fostering more competition in the liquid transportation market; and increasing the efficiency of liquid supply chains across the country.

Q: How does this benefit the shippers’ bottom line?

A: Bottom-line profits are exponentially increased with flexible tank technology due to the following efficiencies:

  • Transportation costs are minimal when compared to repositioning a tank truck.
  • Flexible tanks require no additional equipment besides current pumps for bulk fleets for a seamless transition.
  • There are no maintenance costs, as each tank is individually designed for one-time use, with green implications as the tank is then recycled at no cost to the shipper or end-client.

The biggest opportunity is in the broadening of backhaul profits for dry vans. For example, consider the cost of a food-grade tank carrier hauling freight from Los Angeles, Calif., to Houston, Texas. The transportation cost would be $6,000, whereas the total cost of using an individually sized flexible tank, including backhaul, would be $3,500.

That means the shipper may save up to 58 percent of the transportation cost, while the carrier would increase its options for backhaul profit.

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