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DACHSER Chem-Logistics: Chemicals in safe hands

The chemical industry is one of the most successful and competitive industries there is, supplying virtually all other sectors with crucial intermediate and end products as well as solutions. This is made possible by high production standards, comprehensive infrastructure, and tailored logistics with a clear focus on reliability, quality, and safety.

Chemistry is in safe hands at DACHSER in Karlsruhe.
Chemistry is in safe hands at DACHSER in Karlsruhe.

Chemistry and progress form an exceedingly stable bond. The idea of using chemistry to change something for the better is reflected in the etymology of the word: “chemistry” is derived from chēmeía, the ancient Greek term meaning “the transformation of metal,” or alloying. Over the millennia, science has undergone its own kind of transformation. Whereas early alchemists were primarily interested in producing gold, later scientists turned to examining the properties of the elements and of compounds, an activity that provides much deeper insights to this day.

From clothing fibers to detergents, fertilizers, paints, plastics, and adhesives – chemistry shapes our life and work like no other branch of industry. With its diverse processing and manufacturing activities, the chemical sector is one of the most competitive and successful industries in the European Union. According to the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), the chemical industry in Europe, which employs over 1.1 million people and generated EUR 543 billion in sales in 2019, is more than a key driver of prosperity. As the second-largest producer after China, it also plays a key role in driving innovation in other industries. Indeed, it invests more than EUR 10 billion (2019 figure) annually in research and development.

A bespoke industry solution

According to the German chemical industry association (VCI), chemical companies in Germany alone generated more than EUR 186 billion in revenue in 2020 and employed around 464,000 people.

Chemical research centers, factories, and logistics chains are interwoven across the continent, constantly coming up with new ideas and intelligent materials for products that contribute to our hygiene, safety, comfort, and enjoyment in a whole host of different ways. “All signs point to continuing growth in the chemical industry. This is largely driven by ongoing innovation and diversification in materials and components in the manufacturing and construction sectors as well as in consumer goods,” says Michael Kriegel, Department Head DACHSER Chem-Logistics. “Logistics solutions tailored to the specific needs of the chemical industry give companies certainty that they can plan on having secure access to European and global markets at all times.”

DACHSER has built up decades of experience as well as a tightly knit transport and warehouse network for packaged chemical products. “Our DACHSER
Chem-Logistics global industry solution, which we launched in 2007, combines the standardized network services of one of Europe’s largest groupage logistics providers with very specific, tailored chemical logistics expertise,” Kriegel explains. “Put in chemistry terms, we want to create the perfect compound solution for our customers.”

All signs point to continuing growth.

In 2020, DACHSER Chem-Logistics handled some 4 million shipments weighing 3.4 million metric tons, including 1.25 million dangerous goods shipments weighing 457,000 metric tons. With its global land, air, and sea freight transport network, the logistics service provider embodies process reliability with its defined procedures, reliable transit times, and the capacity it offers. Furthermore, its quality and safety standards far exceed the legal requirements; DACHSER has been a trusted partner of the VCI for forwarding services by road, air, and sea since 2009.

DACHSER has its own European transport network with daily routes serving Europe, the CIS states, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East—with uniform logistics standards governing all operations. “Through direct transports, platforms, and hub solutions, we directly minimize the handling frequency of sensitive chemical goods,” Kriegel explains, adding that this categorically enhances both safety and process quality when dealing with chemical products.

On that basis, Kriegel says, DACHSER can put together an attractive, comprehensive package for chemical customers. “In collaboration with DACHSER Contract Logistics, we create comprehensive, integrated logistics solutions using warehouses specially designed for the storage of chemical products. For its part, DACHSER Air & Sea Logistics is a one-stop shop that provides fast and flexible access to all worldwide sales and procurement markets,” he says.

Safety is always the top priority for all DACHSER services.
Safety is always the top priority for all DACHSER services.

Efficient systems and high-quality data

Holistic, industry-specific logistics concepts are a key pillar of the DACHSER Chem-Logistics strategy for success. “All transports are handled in the network using efficient, IT-based route planning and uniform standards,” Kriegel says. “Our entargo product family has the right solution for every transport requirement.” The DACHSER experts also advise customers from the chemical industry on storage and site optimization as well as on industry-specific warehousing and stock withdrawal strategies.

“IT underpins the efficiency of our European and global logistics network. Thanks to our standardized, globally connected systems, we ensure we provide efficient processes and high-quality data at all times,” Kriegel says. A pivotal role in this is played by DACHSER’s integrated core transport and warehouse management systems: the EDI Center as a central communication platform, the eLogistics web portal, and the ActiveReport supply chain event management tool. Data security for these systems is certified according to ISO 27001.

Safety first

Kriegel explains that the company offers a wealth of options for developing and implementing customized solutions in line with specific goods requirements. These range from the transport of temperature-sensitive goods with active and passive temperature control (for frost-protected transports at plus 5 degrees Celsius in Germany, for example) to customer-specific project business, such as DACHSER Rail Services on the Europe-China line and back, or parcel shipments via Global Sky Express. 

“Safety is always the top priority in all our services,” Kriegel says. This is reflected, for example, in the automated application of all global dangerous goods regulations, the consistent availability and use of load-securing equipment, mandatory vehicle and loading inspections in addition to DGR checks (in accordance with dangerous goods regulations for air transport). Further examples are the provision of rescue equipment and personal protective clothing and equipment, plus consulting on packaging and loading specifically for dangerous goods.

New hazardous materials warehouse in Malsch, Germany: “Everything from a single source”
A key component of DACHSER’s tried-and-true expertise in handling chemicals are its warehouses specially designed to store hazardous materials. One example is the company’s new 21,800 m2 hazardous materials warehouse in Malsch, Germany, which offers 48,000 storage locations. In this state-of-the-art logistics facility, DACHSER provides a wide range of value-added services at the highest safety standards—from finishing and picking to display-build and returns management for the B2B and B2C sectors.

Competent specialists ensure proper handling along the entire logistics chain.
Competent specialists ensure proper handling along the entire logistics chain.

People make a difference

The correct handling of dangerous goods calls for highly trained specialists along the entire logistics chain. Mandatory standards applicable to everyone involved are also a must. To this end, in its central dangerous goods management system for Road Logistics and Air & Sea Logistics, DACHSER has established standardized, internal regulations with defined transport exclusions and risk assessments. DACHSER has more than 250 regional dangerous goods safety advisors, who conduct regular internal and external training for over 15,800 employees worldwide each year. The aim is to ensure in-house expertise in handling dangerous substances thanks to specially trained employees and industry experts. “When it comes to our safety and quality standards, we far exceed the legal requirements,” Kriegel says.

A clear reflection of this is that DACHSER’s 24 European locations received positive SQAS (Safety & Quality Assessment for Sustainability) evaluations for their performance based on Cefic’s “Transport Service” and “Warehouse” assessment questionnaires. The SQAS assessment provides a statement of facts attesting to the performance of a safety, health, environmental, and quality management system. “With this proactive quality monitoring by neutral assessors, we are continuously working to safeguard our performance standards. Not because we have to, but because we can and want to demonstrate this independently to ourselves and our customers,” Kriegel explains. With these efforts, DACHSER is creating a reaction in order to prompt change – fully in line with the essence of chemistry. And it’s not always comfortable, but as the great physicist and chemist Marie Curie was well aware: “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” On the other hand, that is precisely how you prepare for the future.

Contact Christian Weber Corporate Public Relations