Tank containers are reusable, recyclable and can be remanufactured
Tank containers are designed for an economic life of typically
20 years. During this life the tank is used over and over
again. After discharge of cargo the tank is cleaned, inspected
and prepared for the next cargo load.
A tank container engaged on long-haul trades, for instance
China to Europe, where the door-to-door voyage lasts about
6-7 weeks, might ship up to eight loads annually. Over 20
years, that amounts to 160 loads or 4,000 metric tones of
cargo. Short-haul trades will result in considerably more
The tank operates door-to-door. It is loaded with cargo in
plant A and transported by truck, rail and ship to the
destination plant B where the tank is unloaded and the
cargo directed into the production process.
Ease of Cleaning, Cleaning ISO Tanks and also road Tankers
allows operators to reuse their equipment.
Tank containers are manufactured of materials that
are very suitable for re-cycling.
The total weight is typically 3,700 kg, of which the
majority is metal, namely the stainless steel tank
and the carbon steel frame. These are easily cut into
manageable dimensions that can be melted and
made into new materials.
To extend the life beyond 20 years, tank containers
often undergo re-manufacture.
This starts with the removal of the entire tank frame
and insulation, retaining only the stainless steel
tank vessel, valves and fittings. Stainless steel is a
long lasting metal; it is highly suitable for re-use.
The re-manufacture process re-cycles the retained
tank into a new frame. The tank is reinsulated and
tested and continues its service life as new. It is
expected that this process will extend the life of the
tank a further fifteen years
ISO tank containers have the most efficient CO
system for bulk liquids. The tank container does not produce waste
package unlike drums and flexi bags.
Using intermodal transportation also saves fuel and reduces CO 2
emissions by up to 70%, especially on hauls over 150 miles. This may
be a major factor to consider as chemical shippers must find ways to
reduce carbon footprint to meet future government mandates.
“An investigation commissioned by the International Tank Container
Organization (ITCO) into the environmental performance of
intermodal tank containers reveals that the tank container leaves a
carbon footprint that is almost 50 per cent less than that of an
equivalent drummed shipment on certain long-haul routes.
The study, which was carried out by the supply chain consultancy
group LCP Consulting, concludes that tank containers are the most
energy-efficient and environment-friendly way of moving
intermediate quantities of bulk liquid materials between and within
continents when the journey involves a sea leg.”
On long hauls, OTR tank trucks often must travel
through bad weather, causing unsafe driving
conditions that lead to accidents and
delays. Vehicles often park at unsecured rest
stops and have the potential for mechanical
breakdowns. Shipping freight via intermodal
using ISO tank containers eliminates these
As containers are marked with a unique BIC
code, they can be easily ID’d and tracked and
even heavy ISO tank containers are unlikely to
cause mechanical failure on trains and ships
and are safer when in transit.
ISO Tank containers are internationally approved
and periodic tests can be made every 2.5 years.
Overall the ISO Tank container has an excellent
Standard ISO 20 Ft. Tank containers have capacities
up to 26,000 Litres.
26,000 Liter Tanks can transport the equivalent of
123 drums 205 Litres.
It would take approximately 1.6 standard 20ft ISO
dry boxes to transport 123 drums.
Due to the high (product) volume per Tank container, the overall cost per tonnage can be lower than other means of
transport (packaging) like drums or IBC’s.
Tanks are cost effective, drums need to be purchased, stored, filled, physically moved to a warehouse, stacked in a
container, then unloaded and decanted following by cleaning or disposal.
The time and manpower to load and discharge tank containers is less than the equivalent volume in drums