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NACD: Tank truck industry plays vital role in chemical supply chain

Aug. 11, 2023
National Association of Chemical Distributors SVP sits down with Heniff's Dan Furth, who will examine the ‘Race for Clean Fleets’ during a pre-ChemEdge workshop Aug. 16 in The Woodlands, Texas.

Tank trucking is a vital part of the chemical industry. National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) members rely heavily on trucks, including tank trucks, to deliver products to their customers. As such, understanding how truckers operate and the challenges they face can help provide key insights into the chemical distribution industry.

NACD recently sit down with Dan Furth, executive vice president of corporate development and communications at Heniff Transportation Systems—and former National Tank Truck Carriers president and CEO—to discuss the partnership between the chemical distribution and tank trucking industries and the challenges both face.

“Tank trucking and chemical distribution are two very interconnected industries,” said Furth, who will speak to NACD members about the “Race for Cean Fleets” during a pre-ChemEdge regulatory workshop Aug. 16 in The Woodlands, Texas. Heniff is one of the largest chemical haulers in North America, with thousands of tractors and trailers that provide valuable transportation and logistics support for chemical distributors across the country.

As an integrated bulk logistics solutions provider, Heniff is uniquely positioned to see the issues impacting the trucking industry. “Even before the pandemic, our industry faced increased operating challenges, but over the last three years, it’s clear that some of these issues have become even more complex. The tank truck industry has experienced issues with driver and technician shortages, inflationary pressures, and changing regulatory landscapes,” Furth explained. “These problems continue to impact not only our business at Heniff but the timely shipment of critical chemicals across the industry each and every day.”

In the face of these challenges, transportation companies like Heniff have been working to adapt to this new environment. Some of these changes include the implementation of electronic logging devices, which have helped with safety and reduced problems with driver pay. Additionally, the installation of improved tracking technology has allowed for real-time load visibility for customers, better communications between all stakeholders, and greater efficiencies throughout the supply chain.

With the nature of chemical distribution, chemical haulers deal with significantly more regulations than other fleets because of the more stringent hazardous material regulations. “As with all hazardous material transporters, we face way more regulations than other truckers in the truckload and less-than-truckload segments,” Furth maintained. “Add onto that an ever-evolving regulatory environment and it can make it difficult to stay up to date.

“Luckily, NACD resources help members navigate these changes and ensure they have a framework to keep them compliant and safe.”

Despite Heniff’s adaptations to its new regulatory and economic environment, Furth says “the future of the trucking industry landscape remains uncertain right now.” However, he believes that despite whatever new challenges emerge, Heniff will be ready. “Constant innovation is one of the keys to success in the tank truck industry,” he said. “Our Founder and CEO, Bob Heniff, is a true visionary on the future of tank trucking and as a company we are always looking at ways to evolve our services through adoption of technologies that offer improvements and greater efficiencies for our customers.”

To learn more about NACD’s 2023 ChemEdge Conference and Trade Show, and Furth’s upcoming presentation on the potential for alternative fuel vehicles, regulations supporting them, and headwinds for the chemical industry, visit nacd.com/chemedge.

Jennifer Gibson is the senior vice president of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Chemical Distributors.