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As anyone can imagine, transporting chemicals is a tricky business and requires the right chemical logistics partner. Though chemical companies want what all shippers want, to provide timely and efficient deliveries, safety is the number one priority. There are significant safety risks associated with transporting and storing hazardous materials. Improper handling of chemical products can have major consequences, including injury for warehouse workers and truck drivers. For these reasons, many chemical producers choose to work with an experienced 3PL for their warehousing and transportation needs.

But choosing the ‘right’ 3PL for chemical companies can be a challenge. Aside from mandatory certifications and the necessary experience, chemical suppliers need to find a partner that focuses on safety. Here is a look at how to find the right partner for the job.

Choosing the right partner for chemical logistics

We know there are a lot of choices when it comes to third-party warehousing and distribution. From cost savings, expansive distribution plans, and technological integrations, the options are endless. But when it comes to transporting and storing chemicals, companies have other factors to address. The more traditional needs are still critical, but safety and safety protocols play a big role in finding the best partner.

Experience

There are numerous classes of chemicals, and each of these classes comes with its own specific requirements around handling, shipping and storing. Shippers should never assume that a potential 3PL is prepared to handle all the different classes of chemicals. From explosions and environmental damage to harm to employees, 3PLs that are handling chemicals need to have experience with all different types of chemicals, not just harmless or unregulated classes.

As a chemical shipper, you want to ensure that any potential partner has extensive experience with your specific class of chemicals. Be upfront about your needs and dig into the level of experience the potential partner has. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and inquire about the level of professionalism and customer service that the 3PL provided.

Think about current and future needs

It’s a mistake we see far too often. Proposals address a business’s current needs but don’t take into consideration growth and scalability. This can be a costly mistake, forcing chemical shippers to look for new partnerships instead of deepening the relationship they’ve established with their current 3PL.

Through the use of technology and innovation, shippers and 3PLs will be able to address current business objectives and challenges and forecast future growth. This collaboration between shippers and third party logistics providers will help strengthen the supply chain and drive opportunity.

Keeping tabs

Chemical shipments require a level of hand-holding that most other goods don’t. Often advanced tracking software and traceability are required to ensure that the chemicals are transported and stored properly. It’s imperative that logistics providers have an integrated warehouse management system (WMS) to provide real-time data and tracking capabilities.

“Tracking and managing your chemical inventory can feel secondary to the “real” work of production and distribution — but all of these activities impact one another. As products are created and moved, stock levels change, items are taken from their usual spots and chemicals near their expiration dates, so it’s critical to know the status of every product in your inventory at all times.” writes Caitlin O’Donnell.

As chemical companies continue to build more efficient supply chains, supplier data gives invaluable insight into the process, tracking, and even disruptions, allowing for more predictable deliveries.

The WSI difference

All industries take the necessary precautions to protect their materials and products. But for chemical companies, the needs and overall safety magnify these precautions. Choosing a third party logistics partner highlights the importance of compliance and safety over everything else.

Here at WSI, we’ve been working with chemicals for over 50 years and have strived to perfect chemical transport and storage solutions. Our experience and knowledge base enable us to stay in sync with the ever-changing requirements — providing comprehensive 3PL for chemicals.

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