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For South African logistics companies and industries that carry huge amounts of commodities, bulk bags provide a cost-effective and efficient packing solution. However, assuring your products’ safe delivery at their destination is critical. 

Custom Bulk Bags, a renowned South African FIBC producer, understands the necessity of risk management during shipping. We manufacture high-quality packaging solutions that are tailored to your needs. We produce up to 3.5 million bulk bags per year and our products can safely hold between 500kg and two tonnes of material per bag.

Bulk bags, also called flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) are extremely adaptable, able to transport a wide range of products, including food-grade ingredients, building materials, and hazardous chemicals. However, their adaptability can provide difficulties during transit if not managed properly.

Improper loading, inadequate fastening, or selecting the incorrect FIBC type for the cargo being transported can all result in spillage, product damage, or even injuries during transport. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your FIBCs arrive at their destination safely and securely.

Bulk bags being lifted off a trailer by a forklift

Minimising transportation risks with bulk bags

1. Proper FIBC selection

The first step in reducing risk is to choose the appropriate FIBC for the project. Custom Bulk Bags provides a diverse range of products in South Africa, each intended for a specific application. Factors to consider are:

  • Material being transported – Different materials have different weight capacities and necessitate unique FIBC features. Moisture-sensitive items, for example, may require vented FIBCs to avoid condensation build up, whilst hazardous materials may requiredUN-certified bulk bags to meet regulatory requirements.
  • Safe Working Load (SWL) – Never exceed the SWL of your bulk bags. This ensures that the bag can safely support the weight of its contents.
  • Filling and discharging procedures – Consider how the FIBC will be loaded and unloaded at the origin and destination. Custom Bulk Bags can equip products with discharge spouts or valves to facilitate material handling.
A large lorry parked in a truck-stop in the late afternoon

2. Efficient loading procedures

Proper loading is essential for safe shipping. Here are some important tips:

  • Even weight distribution – Make sure all FIBCs on a pallet are packed evenly to avoid weight imbalances that could cause tipping during transport. Palletisation also makes forklift handling and stacking easier.
  • Don’t pack too tall – To avoid undue pressure on lower FIBCs, adhere to specified stacking heights.
  • Secure FIBC placement – Use dunnage (filler material) to keep FIBCs from shifting during transportation.

3. Choosing the right transport mode

The most suitable means of transportation is determined by distance, urgency, and cost. Popular choices in South Africa include:

  • Trucks – These are the most commonly used mode of domestic bulk bag transportation. To avoid FIBC movement, ensure that the truck’s loading bed is correctly fastened and level.
  • Shipping containers – These are ideal for long-distance sea freight. FIBCs can be packed snugly into containers to reduce mobility.
  • Break bulk cargo vessels – For extremely large amounts of product, break bulk vessels can be an economical choice. Ensure adequate lashing and securing of FIBCs in the vessel’s hold.
Bulk bags help you reduce shipping costs

4. Securing bulk bags properly

Once loaded, FIBCs must be anchored to the transport vehicle to keep them from shifting or toppling during transit. Here are some popular approaches utilised in South Africa:

  • Strapping – Secure the FIBCs to the pallet or container with robust straps or slings that are rated for their weight.
  • Corner protectors – Use corner protectors on FIBCs that are prone to damage from straps or slings.
  • Slip mats – Consider placing anti-slip mats on the vehicle’s loading bed to help prevent FIBC movement.
Bright orange shipping containers against a dark blue sky

5. Using pallet wrap to increase security

Pallet wrapping your FIBC-loaded pallets has various advantages:

  • Moisture protection – Pallet wrap acts as a barrier to moisture ingress, which is important for moisture-sensitive products.
  • Load stability – Pallet wrap helps to bond the FIBCs together, increasing load stability during transportation.
  • Tamper prevention – Pallet wrap prevents tampering with the contents of the FIBC.

6. Bulk bag insurance provides peace of mind

While adopting these procedures considerably reduces risk, unforeseen events may still occur. Consider obtaining cargo insurance designed exclusively for your FIBC shipment. This offers financial insurance in the event of loss or damage during shipment.

At Custom Bulk Bags, we are dedicated to supplying South African businesses with high-quality FIBCs and experienced advice on safe transportation. Our staff can assist you choose the most appropriate FIBC for your specific needs. For more information about our bulk bags or to get advice on the ideal design specifications, please contact us today.


Custom Bulk Bags is a leading South African manufacturer of woven polypropylene bags for various industries, such as mining, chemicals and food. We are able to produce over 3.5-million bulk bags per year, keeping our customers in stock at all times. Our bags adhere to the highest levels of quality as a result of our stringent in-house testing and quality control programmes.

Custom Bulk Bags holds ISO 9001 certification and we currently have a number of UN-certified designs. We are a Level 2 B-BBEE manufacturer and supplier and fall under the ownership structure of Deneb Investments Limited. For more information on our products, contact Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram for our latest news and industry insights.