Transporting Dangerous Chemicals? Select Your Partner Very Carefully
Shipping partners provide a safe journey for the deadliest materials
This second decade of the 21stCentury has been a tumultuous one for chemical companies and thelogistics providers they engage to transport their products. The industry was not immune to the economic downturn that affected most other segments of business. When production fell, and a corresponding lack of demand for transport ensued, chemical producers suddenly faced a shortage of Third-Party Logistics (3PL) entities when the marketplace rebounded. With a consistent industry growth rate of more than 2% annually these past three years, fleet management may currently be more of a challenge for chemical firms. But a competitive marketplace should not result in a casual selection of transport for the most hazardous of materials on our highways.
People are often surprised to learn that even one of the largest chemical firms in the world, Dow Chemical, relies on 3PLs for a substantial amount of their product carriage.
Dow, like so many other smaller companies, realizes that they are in the chemical business, not the trucking industry. Rather than create a completely disparate business under their roof, lots of firms prefer to job out the transport of their products to providers that are experts in their realm.
Recent Federal law changes have arguably made our highways safer while, at the same time, have made the pool of 3PLs more competitive when chemical companies go shopping for transport. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 changed how the federal government rates carriers and drivers on safety. While drivers’ safety records were previously wiped clean whenever they began a new job, under CSA, those records travel with the drivers—and can impact the safety ratings of the carriers for whom they work.
CSA 2010 extends safety compliance and accountability to the driver level. Previously, if drivers were terminated because of safety violations, they could easily get a job with another trucking company. Now, under CSA, drivers with poor safety records will have a harder time getting hired. This new transparency is ensuring that flammable, toxic and hazardous materials traversing the country by truck has someone at the wheel with a proven record of reliability.
When selecting a logistics partner to transport your chemical materials, do your due diligence to ensure that your products and all those whose paths they cross will be safe.