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When choosing a bulk chemical carrier to handle your products, there’s a lot to consider. From using the appropriate equipment during transport, ensuring drivers have the proper training, and utilizing advanced technology to simplify order fulfillment, the logistics of bulk chemical transportation is complex and carrier selection should involve a thorough vetting process.

To gain a greater understanding of these factors and ensure that your bulk chemical transportation is done safely, efficiently and in a manner that meets all state and federal regulations, we’re providing you with the top 5 must have’s when choosing a carrier.

1. Make sure that safety is your carrier’s top priority.

Your carrier will be handling highly hazardous liquids so it’s vitally important that they adhere to all regulatory requirements of federal and state authorities. Don’t take a carrier’s word that they operate safely– ask for their safety metrics including TRIR and FMCSA scores.

A safe, responsible carrier will be open and willing to provide these metrics and will have a multitude of safety procedures in place including rigorous driver training, inward and outward facing dash cams installed on their trucks, advanced safety technology, and consistent safety meetings to review and correct any incidents that occur.
Another important vetting point to consider is whether your bulk chemical transportation carrier partakes in the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Responsible Care Partnership program. Responsible Care is the chemical industry’s global environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative. Program partners have demonstrated an 84% reduction in environmental releases, and a worker safety record that is five times safer than the U.S. manufacturing sector.

2. Seek out regional/national carriers with diversified commodity service capabilities.

When looking for a bulk chemical carrier, expand your search outside of your local market. Investigate regional or national partners with a diverse catalog of commodity services and the capability to support long-haul, regional and short-haul projects.

Even if you only anticipate needing product transported locally– regional and nationwide carriers will demonstrate greater efficiency because of their expansive fleet and sizeable driver pool.

3. Ensure your carrier has the capacity to deliver on-time, every time. 

We’ve all been there before. You need a product delivered by noon tomorrow and your vendor has “guaranteed” they’ll be able to accommodate your needs. You hang up the phone with a pit in your stomach and begin to think of plan B, C and D because it’s likely they won’t.

Unfortunately, unreliable service is all too common. But it doesn’t need to be that way. The key to finding a dependable bulk chemical carrier is to seek out partners with 24/7/365 operations and customer service teams. When a problem arises– whether it’s noon or midnight– there should always be someone available to troubleshoot and mitigate the issue.

Another crucial component in timely, efficient service is fleet size. How reliable can a carrier really be if they don’t have the capacity to deliver? This goes back to making sure that you’re working with a regional or nationwide carrier with a large fleet and driver pool, offering the capability to deliver on the same or next day if necessary. 

4. Secure a carrier with dependable, up-to-date equipment. 

As stated in tip #3, reliable freight services are a must. A major factor that will help determine efficient, on-time service is your carrier’s equipment. It’s important to not only find a carrier that has a large fleet and the proper hoses, containers, fittings and adapters for the job, but to also understand the equipment’s condition.

What’s the average tractor and trailer age? How many new trucks has your carrier added within the last 5 years? How many new trucks do they plan to add over the next 5 years? These are important questions to ask that will help determine your carrier’s commitment to providing the highest quality of service for their customers. New equipment will also help maintain product integrity, making it less likely that you’ll run into contamination issues during the loading, transportation and unloading of your products.

5. Choose a carrier that invests in technology.  

When vetting bulk chemical carriers, ask how they’re leveraging technology in their operations. An experienced carrier that’s committed to continuous improvement for their customers will invest in high-quality solutions. For instance, utilizing a carrier with an advanced transportation management system to help streamline dispatch, tracking, reporting and billing, will result in faster, more precise deliveries.

Another factor to consider is whether your carrier is using a cloud-based solution with geo-fencing capabilities. This allows for instant load tracking and automatic customer notification at arrival/departure to ensure that you, as the customer, are always up-to-speed. Having the capability to place and track your order via your computer or mobile app is not only incredibly handy, but also holds your carrier accountable to making sure that their deliveries are accurate and on-time.

This type of visibility into your bulk chemical deliveries will be invaluable to your business.

Ready to get your own bulk chemical products on the move? Contact our team to speak with an expert. Atlas’ Chemical Transport team has more than 150 years of combined experience in bulk chemical logistics and is happy to help!