07 May 2012 00:01 [Source: ICB]
We present the ICIS Top 50 Chemical 3PLs to help you select a partner to manage logistical challenges. We highlight services, capabilities and geographic regions
From road to rail to ship, getting chemicals and polymers from their production point to where you need it in a cost-effective manner is critical to managing your supply chain.
More than ever, companies are focusing on transportation and logistics to either maintain competitiveness or gain an edge. It's worthwhile exploring all the options in getting products from A to B. Sometimes flexibility is required, as relying on one mode of transport may not meet buyer and seller needs.
Stephen Hamilton, managing director of US-based third-party logistics provider (3PL) ChemLogix explores this dynamic on page 34, giving examples of the advantages of intermodal transport - shipping goods using more than one form of transport.
The growing use of standardized ISO tank containers has revolutionized the way shippers can handle, store and transport chemicals, says Hamilton. These containers can be transferred from trucks, freight trains and ships without unloading, enabling a relatively seamless relay from one mode of transport to another.
On a global basis, as the chemical sector responds to economic and social changes, 3PLs must also be ready to adapt, says Paul Gooch, founder and managing director of Switzerland-based consultancy The Logistical Group, in his article on page 32.
Greater volumes will continue to flow out of the Middle East, and also potentially from the US as the shale gas boom leads to greater production. In Asia, capacity and demand are expected to grow strongly, driving trade within the region.
These 3PLs will be faced with the challenge of keeping up with these changes, and at the same time avoiding over-engineered solutions that can build unnecessary costs into the supply chain, says Gooch.
The main challenge for 3PLs is dealing with the complexity inherent in the global chemical sector, and reducing that complexity in coming up with supply chain solutions for customers, he adds.
We hope you find the ICIS Top 50 Chemical 3PLs listing useful in finding the right partner to solve your logistical challenges. It is a global listing; coverage of geographies often goes far beyond the companies' country headquarters. There is also a wide variety of 3PLs - some asset-based and some non-asset based (4PLs).
While all the companies listed serve the chemical sector, the vast majority also serve a number of other sectors, from food to metals to consumer products. Whether privately-owned for decades or publicly traded, each offers unique services.
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