From paints, adhesives, sealants, and resins to fertilizers and pesticides, the chemical industry is broad, intricate, and specialized. When transporting chemicals around the world the level of intricacy increases. You’ll need to be an expert in everything from global trade compliance, and air and ocean freight, to over-the-road bulk and truckload shipping. Transporting chemicals throughout the supply chain relies heavily on process and solid integration into business management. That’s when you need a transportation provider who understands the intricate processes behind safe, efficient, and responsible shipping of chemicals. Here are 4 elements to consider when searching for a chemical transportation provider.
- Don’t ignore the core supply chain expertise needed for global shipping. Even though the chemical industry is specialized and you want your provider to speak your language, it still comes down to finding a global third party logistics provider (3PL) that specializes in the full spectrum of supply chain execution and management. Ultimately, the provider should recognize that maintaining product quality and reliable shipments are paramount. They should be large enough to be able to scale up as your operations grow with a diverse carrier base for optimal flexibility.
- When you vet providers it pays to look through a process lens. In chemical transportation, everything has a process and your provider should live and breathe sales and operations planning (S&OP) just like you do. S&OP, an integrated business management process that starts with a company’s executive leadership team, should resonate with your provider and they should be able to identify a multitude of processes they follow to ensure seamless execution for your shipments.
- Find a provider who is certified as a Responsible Care® 14001 partner. Created and monitored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the Responsible Care Partnership Program certifies companies involved in the chemical supply chain for their adherence to environmental, health, safety, and security (EHS&S) practices. A 3PL with Responsible Care® 14001 certification is able to demonstrate organizational knowledge and processes around environmental management systems with standard policies and objectives for legal and other environmental requirements. Knowing that your chemical transportation provider implements the program and obtains independent certification will strengthen your EHS&S efforts throughout your supply chain. And it will positively impact your company’s sustainability goals and carbon footprint.
- Technology plays a key role in ensuring global visibility when transporting chemicals. Visibility to your shipments and actionable business intelligence is critical. You need a flexible, scalable, and comprehensive TMS to service your established and emerging markets around the world. Look for innovative solutions, but make sure the provider is innovating in the right area and putting an emphasis on the features you need to lower costs and improve service reliability and minimize risks.
In the end, when you ship a variety of hazardous and non-hazardous chemical materials, you care about every detail of the transportation process. Make sure your provider is certified, experienced, and well-versed in the process and business value of transporting chemicals. I am passionate about helping chemical companies with their supply chain needs and I am looking forward to upcoming conferences like LogiChem and the Responsible Care conference. If you’re attending these conferences, please connect with me and comment below if you have any questions.