The logistics related to the transport of chemical products and raw commodities offers a number of alternatives for companies.
Minimising the costs of transporting goods, as well as ensuring overall efficiencies, can help companies to reduce operational costs while maximising gross revenue and profit.
Alpha Shipping outlines a number of benefits of using International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) tank containers for the storage and transport of a range of products, such as lubricants, drilling fluids, recyclable spent lubricants, fuels and other chemicals.
ISO tanks are specialised containers consisting of a stainless-steel cylindrical drum within a steel frame, specifically designed to carry liquid commodities. Specialised tanks for transporting highly corrosive commodities or commodities with extremely high molecular weights, are also available.
Tank containers are available in a variety of sizes, with the most common size being 6 m in length, or the same dimensions as a standard 20-foot general purpose container. The recent introduction of a 40 ft ISO tank is aimed at further maximising economies of scale.
ISO UN portable tank containers are constructed to international quality standards and are tested by surveying companies such as Bureau Veritas and DNV GL. The tanks’ inner shells are manufactured from marine grade stainless steel which has a high corrosion resistance. The stainless steel shell is approximately 4.5 mm thick in order to ensure that chemicals or food grade products remain free from contaminants.
Tank containers may be cladded or insulated in order to help insulate contents and provide protection from external impacts. Tank container valves are inspected prior to every loading and approved by the relevant authorities and tanks are also pressurised and leak-tested prior to loading, in order to ensure that the commodity stored within the ISO tank retains its integrity throughout the storage duration.
Alpha Shipping maintains that tank containers are one of the safest means of storing liquid commodities above ground and that the risk of spillage upon loading, transportation and discharge is greatly reduced compared to flex tanks or flex bags and standard drums. In addition, the company asserts that the versatility of tanks and their suitability for carrying a variety of cargo reduces the need for empty container repositioning and disposal, thus further reducing the cost of tank rentals.
ISO tank containers are also said to have a far longer lifespan than drum containers or flex tanks, making them a more environment-friendly alternative.
Tanks are suitable for the storage and transport of a variety of goods, including food grade, hazardous and non-hazardous chemical commodities and specialist ISO tank containers are available for commodities that cannot be stored within standard ISO tank containers, such as sulfuric acid – a highly-corrosive commodity that is extensively used in copper mining regions throughout Africa. These highly specialised units are designed with a pre-installed steam coil which allows for the efficient loading and discharge of temperature-sensitive liquids such as phenol and lubricants which have a tendency to thicken and become viscous when the temperature drops.
New technology has allowed for tanks to be heated electronically by means of glycol, which is a liquid placed in the steam tubes of the tank and heated to create the same effect as if steam was to be pumped around the inner shell, liquifying the contents within.
The company further outlines that, compared to drums, tank containers are fast and safe to load and unload, provided that the loading site is adequately equipped for the management of tank containers. This helps to reduce turn-around time and minimises the number of staff required. Alpha Shipping further highlights that tank containers have a loading capacity of approximately 26 000 l, while drum containers carry an average of only 13 325 l of product. This greater capacity translates to a lower price per litre and less frequent restocking of supplies, leading to overall cost-savings.
Alpha Shipping supplies ISO tanks for purchase, lease or hire and can be contacted for any information related to ISO tanks.