Security is paramount for chemical wholesalers

The terror attacks on the New York World Trade center and the Pentagon spawned dramatic rethinks about the way the chemical industry looks at manufacturing site and transport security. Chemical wholesale distributors have been equally aware of their responsibilities and have taken steps to enhance security during the distribution process.

The National Association of Chemical Distributors, NACD, have developed security plans, which have been vetted and approved by significant third parties. To retain membership, chemical wholesale distributors must comply with these measures which take into account facility, transport, third party carriers and qualification of customers desiring to purchase chemicals.

What is a chemical distributor?

A company engaged in chemical wholesaling and distribution is one who purchases, and takes title, to non-bulk chemicals and resells them to the end-user. These include companies that:

* Purchase bulk chemicals and repack

* Purchase chemicals ready for distribution, no further repacking is required

* Act as traders and brokers

Normally, a chemical distributor will own or lease a facility, and in many cases, numerous facilities where the repacking and distribution take place.

Chemical manufacturers and distributors:

Was it not for chemical distributors, the chemical manufacturing industry would find it very difficult, if not impossible to function as they do. The distributors are those responsible for getting chemicals into the hands of industrial users, I a wide variety of grades and package sizes to suit their needs.

The approximate volume of chemical sales that takes place through distribution is $18 billion. There are about 250 chemical wholesale distributors associated with NACD, and with branch operations, represent about 1,400 stand alone distribution facilities. These distributors are responsible for transporting the chemicals to their customers.

Chemical security is very much a result of the diversity of distribution. A distributor is understandably much smaller than any manufacturing facility. They are smaller in size, the quantity of chemicals on hand and revenue. It is this small size that makes them less visible, not only to the community in which they are located, but more importantly, to potential terrorists.

When chemical security is studied and analyzed, it quickly becomes apparent that the challenges facing both manufacturing and distribution are different. They both have vulnerabilities, but their sizes make the distribution of chemicals far less dangerous and with fewer threats than should the manufacturers attempt to distribute themselves.

The measures:

NACD asks of its membership that they adhere to a set of standards, which have been adopted:

* Consider individual security plans that take into account the unique characteristics of the member’s facility

* Develop a criterion for the selection of common-carriers with particular attention paid to hi-jacking and diversion of shipments

* Qualify purchasers

With a constant awareness of the demands for security, the chemical industry feels confident that at both the manufacturing and distribution sides, the country is safeguarded against a terrorist act.

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