When you’re looking for a liquid bulk tanker to transport your products, you’re looking for a pretty specialized option within the world of trucking. When your products are food-grade, that option becomes even more specialized – and can become exponentially so based on your specific requirements.
It is important then to understand what information your food-grade liquid bulk carrier or freight broker will need from you upon booking your load. Having this information ahead of time will not only speed up the booking process but will also ensure that your project runs safely and efficiently.
What your food-grade liquid bulk carriers need to know about your load
1. What are you shipping?
You’ll need to provide the product’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) along with information about its key characteristics.
Your product’s spoilage rate is one of these characteristics. The carrier will need to understand how long the product can remain in the tank without spoiling. Most carriers will want to have more than ample time to transport your product safely, while allowing for extra time should the unexpected (e.g., a storm or a blown tire) occur. If it’s too tight a window, the carrier may decline the load.
The carrier will also need to know your product’s list of incompatible prior products. This is simply a list of items that the tank must not have shipped prior to your product. Such a list helps your carrier prevent contamination and ensure your product’s integrity.
Additionally, your carrier or broker will need to know if your product is food-grade (non-edible), food-grade (edible) or food-grade (kosher). The shipping of kosher products is associated with a host of additional requirements. For instance, there are tanks, equipment and tank washes solely dedicated to kosher products. A kosher product will be considered contaminated if it ships in – or otherwise encounters – non-kosher materials.
Liquid bulk freight brokers can add an extra layer of protection in ensuring that kosher products are shipped using 100% kosher tanks and equipment. Your broker will have a list of kosher tanks from each of its partner carriers. When the truck and tank report for duty at the loading site – and your broker is informed of the truck (e.g., truck #123) that arrives – the broker can cross-check the number of this truck with the listing of kosher trucks it has on file. If there is any discrepancy, loading will be delayed until all parties are certain that a kosher tank is being used.
2. What equipment do you require?
Your broker or carrier will need to understand how your product will be loaded and unloaded to and from the tank. These considerations will dictate the type of tank to be used.
Most liquid-bulk-food-grade loads will not require additional equipment such as hoses and pumps other than those provided at the loading and unloading sites. Why? The risk of contamination is too high. Companies want to prevent using equipment that could have handled other – possibly incompatible – products.
Should you require additional equipment, however, your broker or carrier can likely provide it at an additional cost. Keep in mind that there is a more limited pool of providers that will have “food grade, with equipment” capabilities, so it may take a bit longer to find a capable carrier.
3. Does your product require temperature control?
Some temperature-sensitive products need to maintain a certain temperature (i.e., heat) throughout the transport process. This is accomplished by using tanks that have special in-transit heating units and/or by steaming the tank along the way to increase the temperature. As with equipment like hoses and pumps, however, not all food-grade liquid bulk carriers can accommodate temp-controlled shipping – thereby shrinking the pool of potential carriers.
4. When do you need to move your product?
Now that we’ve covered the product and the equipment required to transport it, let’s talk about the project timeline. The key consideration here is that, due to the specialized nature of food-grade-liquid-bulk shipping, there is a relatively small pool of bulk freight carriers that handle it. This pool is diminished even further by additional equipment needs as discussed above.
There are also seasonal considerations with food-grade liquid bulk shipping. When the wine season in California is booming, many trucks are tied up. The same goes for seasonal fruit juice spikes.
So, patience is sometimes required for this type of shipping due to the scarcity of trucks. You can help your chances of securing capacity exactly when you need it by planning and booking loads in advance.
Turn to Bulk Connection to source food-grade liquid bulk carriers
With all this talk of specialization, it is worth mentioning that we here at Bulk Connection are specialists, too. Since 1987, we have specialized in all forms of bulk shipping and continue to maintain one of the largest networks of bulk carriers in North America. In short, if you need bulk shipping of any kind, you save yourself time and frustration by making us your first call. We have the carrier relationships and product and lane expertise (our agents average almost 20 years in the business) to expertly handle any bulk load that comes our way. To learn more about our capabilities, contact us today.