Flexitank vs. Tanker Packaging Sizes

Posted by Hannah Broaddus

Freight truck delivering bulk oilDo you buy your oil in bulk? The next packaging size larger than drums and totes is a full truckload of oil, flowing loose in a truck. In fact, your oil will deliver in one of two different types of trucks, and it’s important to know the differences. That way you can be to be fully prepared to unload your oil when it arrives, and it will help you make the lowest cost choice.


Learn The Differences Between FlexiTanks and Tanker Trucks

What is a Flexitank?

Flexitank of Bulk Olive OilA flexitank is large rectangular container that is moved using an 18-wheeler. The oil is stored inside the truck in a strong bladder that lines the outer container. Typically, these bladders hold 43,000 lbs of oil (about 5,600 gallons), but you can specify a lower amount if you’d like. 

Flexitanks are just holding containers, and the trucks don’t have an attached pump to get the oil out. This means that to receive a flexitank, you must have an attachable pump to get the oil out of the bladder and into the holding tank in your facility. The cost of these pumps is about $1,000, but it is a one-time cost that is well worth the savings.

When you’re done dispensing the oil, the bladders must be removed from the truck and disposed of. For hygiene purposes, the bladders are typically one-time use items.

Flexitanks Are For International Deliveries

Flexitanks are used primarily for international travel. Therefore, if you’re buying 100% olive oil that is being shipped from the harvesting location overseas, the oil will come in this container automatically.

Price Implications of a FlexiTank

The great thing about a flexitanks is that the oil inside is the absolute lowest cost that it canbe. There’s two reasons for this:

  1. The inventory is shipping direct from the manufacturing location overseas, so you don’t incur any built-in domestic storage costs or extra transportation costs.
  2. It’s the largest packaging size, so you’re not paying any unnecessary packaging. Normally, you’ll see a $0.10 /lb decrease in the cost of the oil when switching from totes to flexitanks. That’s a savings of about $4,300 in one shipment! The actual savings that you will see really depends on the current olive oil market at the time that you place your order.

What is a Tanker Truck?

Tanker delivering bulk oil - Canola, Soybean, SafflowerTanker trucks are large trucks made specifically for transporting edible liquids. Tanker trucks come as one unit, as opposed to the flexitanks which are actually two separate parts (the large container, picked up by a tractor trailer truck). Tanker trucks don’t have a lining, and the oil flows freely within the body of the truck. This means that the insides of the tanker must be thoroughly cleaned in between each use for proper hygiene and to prevent the spread of allergens. 

These tankers typically hold about 48,000 lbs of oil (about 6,300 gallons), which is slightly more than a flexitank. The trucks come with a pump attached, which means that you need your own separate pump to get the oil out.

Tankers Are For Domestic Deliveries

Tanker trucks are most commonly used within the US for domestic deliveries. This means that if you’re receiving an olive oil blend, canola oil, safflower oil or soybean oil, your delivery will come in one of these trucks. That is because each of these oils are manufactured within the US.

You can also receive imported olive oil in these tankers. However, because the oil is harvested and produced overseas, it’s important to realize that tanker costs automatically include the extra transportation and storage costs as a result of having it to an additional location (on top of your own) and to have your supplier hold the oil until you need it. If possible, it’s always best to take olive oil in a flexitank if you want the absolute lowest cost possible.

Price Implications of a Tanker Truck

Tanker trucks are great options, depending on the type of oil that you want to order. If you’re buying an oil that is produced in North America, tanker trucks will be what you automatically receive.

If you’re buying olive oil, it’s best to receive it in a flexitank and make the one time purchase of an attachable pump.

Like the flexitanks, tankers are still one of the cheapest options out there. Because they’re the largest size available, they help you avoid any unnecessary packaging costs. Typically, there is a savings of about $0.10 /lb when switching from totes to tankers. That’s a savings of about $4,800 in one shipment! Of course, the actual savings you will see depends on the current oil market.

In Conclusion, Go Big or… You Know.

At the end of the day, your supplier can walk you through the type of truck that you will be receiving, why and how to prepare. We want to take a moment to commend anyone who’s receiving their deliveries in flexis or tankers to begin with-- you’ve taken a big step to help your company save money on their oil ingredients already.

For a consult to help your company save more and make the switch to tanker or flexitank deliveries, contact us at (800) 689-7510 x1 or request a consult online.

Topics: Packaging, Prices & Saving Money



Related Articles

Download the Manufacturer's Ultimate Guide To Bulk Edible Oil Packaging

Enter your email below to get commodity market updates & cost-saving tips for procurement professionals.






Buy & Ship Direct From Our Online Store

Select an item below to see live pricing (LTL quotes included at checkout).



Now you can order direct from our website, without ever talking to a salesperson.  We've created this new industry-leading online storefront which makes the bulk oil buying process so much easier!

  • See live price quotes for oils online
  • Shipping costs are auto-calculated at checkout
  • Buy single drums, partial pallets or full pallets
  • Pay with a credit card
  • Ships from Centra Foods within 1-3 business days