he chemicals that make their way across the country and around the world are critical to multiple essential industries—agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing, to name a few. Chemical logistics
companies take to heart their role in ensuring the products they move arrive at their destinations safely, accurately, and as timely as possible. “Many chemical shipments go to key pieces of business in America,” says Jennifer Braun, vice president of Kansas City operations with Trinity Logistics. “They cannot be delayed.” Yet chemical logistics companies are confronting the same challenges—capacity and labor shortages, geopolitical upheaval, port congestion, and factory slowdowns—impacting supply chain and logistics functions in all industries. On top of the supply chain challenges most companies face, chemical logistics companies face additional challenges. The total number of licensed truck drivers able to carry hazardous materials makes for an even smaller pool to hire from, says Dustin Miles, vice president of global transportation with Rinchem Company, Inc., a provider of chemical management solutions. Many drivers currently can earn more by driving crude fuel oil, says Randy Strutz, president of Quality Carriers, Inc., which operates the largest liquid bulk chemical trucking network in North America. “It’s a boom-and-bust business. Right now, oil prices are up, and business is booming.” In addition, some of the chemical plants taken offline when a mammoth winter storm struck Texas in February 2021 are still recovering. While companies are generally able to access products from other plants, they’re often located farther away. “All our customers are scrambling,” Strutz says.
June 2022 • Inbound Logistics 71
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