Schoeller Allibert, the European market leader in the production of recyclable, reusable and returnable packaging solutions for the chemical industry, has commented on the current shortage of intermediate bulk containers in the market and the need for new rental models to boost industry supply chain sustainability.
Intermediate bulk containers, also known as IBC totes, tanks or pallet tanks, are reusable, multi-use industrial-grade containers engineered for the mass handling, transport, and storage of liquids, semi-solids, pastes, or solids. The two main categories of IBCs are flexible and rigid IBCs, with rigid IBCs in the spotlight as Brexit, shortages of steel, and escalating raw material prices are creating supply challenges.
Noel Lynott, Country Manager at Schoeller Allibert, commented: “We are seeing a number of companies struggling with the supply of IBCs hampering their supply chains, when things are difficult enough with the pandemic and Brexit situation. The shortages are a result of lockdown affecting usage levels, along with Covid-19 affecting IBC production capacity due to staff absenteeism. On top of this, there have been continual increases in both steel and polymer prices over the past few months.
“What it has brought to the fore, is that today’s basic IBCs, while cheap at the outset, really have a short lifespan and typically end up being landfilled or downcycled after 2-3 years of use. This is simply unacceptable in today’s more sustainably focused global supply chains seeking circularity.
“At Schoeller Allibert UK, we launched the ChemiFlow® IBC in 2020 to tackle many of these issues. As a 100% plastic solution, ChemiFlow avoids the current problems with procuring steel and doesn’t corrode. It can be used for multiple products thanks to its ‘bag-in-box’ format and offers an extended lifespan of up to ten years. Being fully repairable too, Chemiflow delivers a far higher return on investment.
“As companies seek to boost their IBC capacity, rental and leasing models are emerging to help them spread the cost.
Schoeller Allibert’s rental services enable customers to flexibly upscale their fleet as required and benefit from high quality returnable transit packaging solutions for a fixed monthly cost, without capital expenditure investment. Assets are equipped with a tag and unique ID and customers can choose the duration and type of contract.
At the end of the contract, the containers are returned to Schoeller Allibert where they are thoroughly washed, inspected and, if necessary, repaired. All assets are re-used, meaning that customers can replace their inefficient legacy fleet with best-in-class RTP containers. At the end of the working life, materials are not wasted, they get recycled and reused to create new high-quality assets.
Lynott concluded: “Renting ChemiFlow IBCs is a great way for chemical manufacturers and distributors to utilise a premium solution while enabling them to manage their costs, drive efficiency and boost their sustainability credentials. It’s a win win for the industry and fundamentally a better model for achieving supply chain resiliency.”
To discover more about the company’s 360° approach to product and service innovation, please visit www.schoellerallibert.com.