Bulk Bag Lead Times Explained

October 7, 2020


The majority of all FIBCs utilized in United States are imported from other countries. India and China produce over 70% of the FIBCs imported into the U.S. each year. 

In general, imported bulk bags are substantially less expensive than domestically produced bags. However, manufacturing lead time, or the time it takes from the moment an order is placed to the time it delivers, can be substantial.  

Lead times on FIBC bulk bags vary based on a number of different factors. These factors include: 

Country of Manufacture

Proximity between the manufacturing plant and the end-user is a substantial factor in overall lead time.

Raw Materials

Polypropylene and polyethylene resin must be sourced from 3rd party manufacturers. The resin is then extruded to create the materials used to make bag components. The availability of resin and the type of resin required can affect lead times.

Bulk Bag Type

Bulk Bags are produced at varying speeds based on their construction. For example, tubular bags are capable of being assembled substantially quicker than baffled bulk bags. This is due to the amount of cutting and sewing involved for each type.  

Plant Capacity

Plant size and capacity can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some plants are capable of producing 10 containers per month while other are capable of producing over 50 containers per month. 

Ocean Transit Time

Bags are transported in sea containers across the ocean. Transit time depends on the route, number of stops, and port capacity. Once the ship arrives to the port, the containers must be discharged. This can often take several days based on the size of the ship and the port’s unloading capacity. 

U.S. Customs

For the container to be allowed to enter the U.S., it must clear customs. Documents must be filed properly to ensure timely clearance. Containers may be detained and inspected at Customs’ discretion. 

Rail Transit Time

One of the most cost-effective ways of shipping a container is by intermodal rail. Containers must be delivered to the rail ramp via truck, transported by rail, and offloaded at the destination rail ramp. 

Over-the-road Transit Time

Trucking transit times depend on driver availability and the distance required for delivery. 

In general, FIBC lead times from the following countries are as follows:





Production Lead time




Plant to Boat




Ocean Transit




Port Discharge/Customs




Rail/Truck Transit








*This is intended to be used as a general guideline and is subject to change based on a number of factors. 

**Due to the coronavirus pandemic, lead times have become substantially impacted and are subject to change without notice. 


At Southern Packaging, LP we are a leader in bulk packaging supplies, providing supply chain solutions to manufacturers throughout the United States. With the help of our in-stock bulk bag supply lists and inventory management solutions, we can help you maintain your business and supply chain needs!