Chemical shipping and storage is not a task to be taken lightly. Chemicals can range from the window cleaner under your kitchen sink to radioactive plutonium waste. Therefore, we need to find a safe way to ship and store these chemicals. Above all, it is essential to be informed about each step of the process and those who handle the chemicals themselves.
3PL Chemical Shipping & Storage: What You Need To Know
To help you make a prudent choice, here are a few suggestions to consider before signing on the dotted line with any 3PL.
Use objective resources
Firstly, for the purpose of warehousing chemicals, one of your best resources is going to be the local fire department. Ask them about any incidents or compliance issues. The fire department is typically the ones who have first-hand knowledge of any of these issues. In many cases, they issue the licenses in accordance with state and local regulations. In addition, when it comes to regulatory bodies, 3PL chemical shipping and storage companies must comply with nearly a dozen different agencies from the DOT to the FBI.
When it comes to shipping, ask for references. That is to say they should provide you with the contact information for clients who will give you an honest review of their services. Online research and reviews are also a great place to start. Consequently, you will be able to get an understanding of the company you intend to do business with quite quickly.
Going the extra mile
Adhering to local and state regulations should be viewed as the bare minimum. For example, many 3PL’s ensure safety by complying with the Responsible Distribution program. The Responsible Distribution Program membership is required by the NACD (National Association of Chemical Distributors). An outside auditor from the program ensures that the 3Pl is following their stringent guidelines. This organization ensures that the company is going beyond the bare minimum for 3PL chemical shipping and storage.
Most reputable companies will allow third-party auditors to ensure safe transportation and storage. By adhering to the extra stipulations, the company is broadcasting they take safety and efficiency very seriously. Likewise, ask questions and find out what third party associations they are members of.
Know what you are shipping and storing
Not all 3PL logistics companies are the same. Companies that handle one class of chemicals are not necessarily qualified to manage others. To clarify, you need to make sure that your chosen 3PL is certified to handle specifically what you intend to ship and store. Generally, various chemicals must be stored and shipped independently of one another. By ensuring the 3PL company you are dealing with handles your chemical regularly, you can cut down on hold times for transit. Moreover, you can ensure the chemicals are stored in a convenient location.
Know the people you are entrusting
First and foremost, you are urged to get a line by line explanation of the insurance and liability coverage. Please take all the necessary steps to ensure that when the chemicals are no longer in your care, they are under the umbrella of the 3PL’s coverage. Ensure you are familiar with the policies for both shipping and warehousing.
Discuss the continuing training of staff, the chemical and logistics experience of managers, and knowledge of regulatory compliance. A well-versed 3PL company will be more than willing to share their experience and qualifications. As discussed above, merely meeting the minimum requirements should not be the deciding factor. Trust in experience and credentials.
Anyone who transports or stores hazardous chemicals must understand exactly what they are dealing with. Most importantly, they must be certified across multiple avenues. Transporting and storing potentially explosive and poisonous chemicals is not a casual enterprise. Make yourself familiar with everyone involved in the process.
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