Transporting liquid cargo is sensitive and potentially hazardous work. As such, it requires careful consideration, including compliance to local and international safety rules on hauling liquid cargo.
Precautionary measures typically start from the source, where transporters are required to observe proper handling and storage even before the tank truck leaves the shipper’s premises. Ahead, you’ll find some valuable tips on properly transporting liquid cargo.
- Know The Proper Classification Of Liquids
Bulk liquid deliveries require extra precautionary measures. These specific safety rules are based on which type of cargo you’re carrying:
- Edible liquids: Food products consumed by humans, including wine and other beverages, are considered edible liquids. As such, they must be kept safe and free from bacteria and other dangerous organisms that may cause health issues when the products are consumed. Water tank containers are the most preferred option for transporting edible liquids. Check out https://www.watertankfactory.com.au/types/truck-water-cartage-tanks/ for more options. These companies offer tanks in various capacities at affordable prices.
- Non-edible liquids: As the name suggests, these types of liquids are not for human consumption and are typically used for industrial purposes. These fluids can either be non-hazardous, such as dyes, construction additives, and glycerine, or hazardous, like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
- Hazardous liquids: This counts LPG and petroleum as the most common products. It’s further divided into three sub-categories: fire hazard, marine pollution hazard, and air pollution hazard. Because of their sensitivity to the environment, this hazardous liquid cargo must be handled and stored with extreme caution.
- Non-hazardous liquids: Simply put, these refer to fluids that don’t pose specific risks to the general public and the environment. Juices, milk, and oils are the most common types under this classification.
Modern transport systems may have helped increase cargo safety. But transporters are still bound by the safety and environmental requirements imposed by the different industries and government laws. For instance, food products require different types of tank trucks compared to transporting hazardous liquid, being that the latter is more sensitive to certain kinds of materials like metal.
- Choose The Right Container
With that being said, knowing the different types of vessels and tank trucks is primordial. Your choice must be in line with the regulatory and safety rules and will also depend on the type of fluid you are transporting.
To prevent leakage, as with hazardous fluids, and spoilage, as with edible liquids, liquid cargo must be placed in a safe and secure container. Below are the most common container options:
- International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) tank containers: Its large capacity and versatility make ISO containers an excellent option for companies transporting high cargo volumes, up to 26,000 litres.
- Steel, plastic, or fibre drums and barrels: These liquid cargo containers work best for transporting lower volumes, as their cargo capacity ranges from 20 to 250 litres each. While most businesses prefer to transport edible and non-hazardous liquids using this method, drums can also carry specific hazardous materials.
- Flexitank: This plastic-based container is mainly used for transporting non-hazardous liquids and can be customized according to the customer’s needs. On average, a flexitank can carry up to 24,000 litres of fluids. It cannot be reused, though, unlike the other tank types.
- Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs): These industrial containers can safely transport hazardous chemicals at average capacity, generally up to 1,250 litres per container. These highly in-demand vessels are also stackable and have discharge and loading points, making handling and transfers more manageable.
As a rule, flammable substances must be placed in durable, anti-corrosive, and fire-resistant vessels. Meanwhile, some liquid food products are temperature-sensitive, and their tank has to be resilient to temperature changes.
- Practice Proper Health And Safety Precautions
Care must be practised in transporting liquid cargo to ensure safety and compliance with the regulatory rules. For instance, if you’re handling hazardous chemicals, the manufacturer should provide you with a Safety Data Sheet, or SDS, which describes the physical and chemical composition of the product, transportation, storage guidelines, and the steps to do in cases of accidental spills and leaks.
Handling edible liquid requires the same care to ensure safe consumption. Transporters are often required to have refrigeration chambers for milk and other daily products to prevent contamination. In addition, transport companies must clean the tanks and containers thoroughly with steam before and after each use.
- Train And Equip Your Staff
Equip your trucks with enough resources to prepare for emergencies. Apart from the first aid kit, always check that the vehicle has fire suppression systems and your driver has personal protective and safety equipment. Have an emergency response plan and train your staff to respond appropriately to emergencies. These incidents may include vehicle collision injuries, not just chemical spills and leaks.
The Bottom Line
To transport liquid cargo successfully, it’s crucial to identify the type of fluid that needs to be shipped to plan well. Different liquids require different containers, transport trucks, and regulatory guidelines to ensure their safety.
Having a deep understanding of what you are dealing with will allow you to manage the cargo pretty well and guarantee the health and safety of everyone involved in the process, not just the end-user. Ultimately, proper preparation helps ensure that the products and person carrying the goods will have a safe journey no matter where the destination is.