Intermediate bulk containers, known also as IBC totes, pallet tanks, and IBCs for short, are versatile cargo containers used in the transport, storage and distribution of various materials as well as the direct integration into applications and business process lines. In the U.S., the IBC is one of the most used standardized containers for handling liquid volumes between 110 and 793 gallons, but how much do IBCs cost?
An IBC costs between $200+ to $9500+. The price will depend on individual tote model. Composite IBCs, also known as Caged IBC Totes, are the most cost-effective IBC type and have the lowest purchase cost ranging between $200+ to $450+. Rigid, thick-walled Plastic IBCs are mid-range cost IBCs with a purchase price that ranges between $680+ to $5000+. Metal IBC tanks have the largest price range with costs between $2100+ to $9500+.
Note, the price ranges for IBCs are provided for reference and are subject to change with market fluctuations. See the following table for an overview of available IBC container types and common cost ranges:
TABLE OF IBC PRICES BY IBC TYPE
|IBC Type||Model Examples||Volume Range||Pricing|
|Composite IBCs||Caged Totes: Reconditioned, Rebottled, New||275 & 330 Gallons||$200+ to $450+|
|HDPE Plastic IBCs||CageBuster, Standard, Premium, Payloader, Ultratainer, Voyager, Megatainer||120 to 550 Gallons||$680+ to $5000+|
|Metal IBCs||Carbon Steel; Stainless Steel||110 to 793 Gallons||$2100+ to $9500+|
FACTORS AFFECTING IBC COST
The total purchase cost of an IBC tote will depend on the product’s material type, engineering design, storage capacity, and any custom modifications requested for specific application requirements. The material an IBC is manufactured from and its related model type contribute most to the factors affecting IBC cost. In general, IBCs and materials can be ranked by cost as stainless steel, carbon steel, then HDPE plastic. This indicates metal IBCs have a larger initial investment cost than plastic IBCs but is perhaps offset by having the potential for a longer service life, greater durability, and compatibility with specific commodities.
The engineering of an IBC refers to individual model design features and fabrication differences, such as those between poly caged totes, Megatainers, a Widemouth IBC, and Stainless Steel IBCs. These tote examples all feature manufacturing and equipment differences that affect the resulting cost of the IBC, and where components are similar, they may still differ in end quality, quantity, or its overall approved use.
The IBC’s storage capacity contributes to total cost in a fairly linear relationship where IBC pricing tends to increase with increasing IBC storage volume. The intended work use of an IBC can also contribute to total end cost where a more durable model may be needed to support harsh chemicals, by-products, fuels, intermediates, or sensitive cargo such as food ingredients.
Intermediate bulk containers can also require extra design specifications in order to meet regulations and/or standards for the individual application such as additional Title 21 CFR requirements or ISO 22241. Example scenarios that can require additional modifications to the base IBC material, additives, equipment or its fittings include consumable food grade use, wine and beverage applications, and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) distribution.
TAKEAWAY | HOW MUCH DO IBCS COST
Intermediate bulk containers have a price range that extends from a low of $200 to a high of $9500 (or more) depending on the pallet tote’s design specifics. The purchase price of an IBC is considered an investment in company workflow and logistics due to the extensive benefits offered by an IBC, its service life and unique engineering.
Low-cost IBC containers can be reusable but are often one time use, and when compared to other common portable containers, can provide a money-saving volume-to-cost ratio as well as greater service and handling efficiency. Higher-cost IBCs provide a quality, durable container that is often intended for extensive use and reuse over several or many years.
Intermediate bulk containers are considered long-term company assets where the initial purchase cost is lessened over years of successful, repeat service with an increased volume and engineering that bests other handling containers such as the 55 gallon drum. When comparing IBC price to portable alternatives, the IBC provides a cost effective, consistent, standardized, UN/DOT approved container sure to meet company cargo and commodity handling needs.
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