Sector Report : Chemical Logistics 2015

15 January 2015

Hazchem Network [among other key players in our sector] were consulted by freelance journalist Simon Jack, for Motor Transport’s 2015 report on the optimistic state of the Chemical Logistics Sector. We are delighted that both Motor Transport Editor Steve Hobson and Journalist Simon Jack have allowed Hazchem Network’s news page to feature this informative article, as downloadable .pdfs. The links are below, either left-click on the page number to open in most browsers. If you experience any difficulty, right-click on the page number, and ‘save as’ to your hard drive.

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Our Managing Director Ali Karim, was interviewed along with fellow Directors from HW Coates, Norbert Dentressangle, RASE Warehousing and Distribution, Suttons Tankers, Clarke Transport and AkzoNobel.

Motor Transport were naturally interested to hear what 2015 holds commercially and operationally for logistics players from the Directors they interviewed. Ali Karim’s comments [which naturally had to be edited down for the feature] may be of interest to those working our sector -

The Chemical Industry in the UK has like other sectors, experienced a pick-up in economic activity, however we’re very cautious as the recovery is more fragile than some politicians would lead us to believe. Remember the exceptionally low interest rates have a crucial factor in an industry heavily involved in employment of capital as well as research and development budgets. The volatility of energy [and feedstock] costs make long term investments problematical, as though in the era of high oil pricing, we’ve recently seen sharp reductions in oil prices, related to PVD [production vs demand], which in normal times would see excess capacity being mopped up by India and China, but in the current economic cycle this does not appear to be happening. Oil analysts credit this due to the increasing exploitation of Shale Oil Gas [aka Fracking] which in North America is increasing markedly, reducing the volume of Middle-Eastern Imports. It appears OPEC nations are not cutting back on production, and with the Indians and Chinese not mopping up the surplus production due to low demand, oil prices have been falling. This can also produce economic issues to the countries heavily reliant on Oil export revenue. The other factors in play are the increase in legislation, security and environmental considerations which all add costs and operational activity in the chemical industry, where there is little scope to recover additional costs by pricing, due to a challenging marketplace.

So to answer your question, many of us in the UK chemical industry remain optimistic, but with a large caveat relating to caution, due to difficult trading conditions – Ali Karim

We would like to thank Debbie Oram of Hazchem Network Depot 016 Owens Logistics and Jayne Masters of Hazchem Network Depot 018 Miniclipper Logistics for their kind words and support of the Hazchem Network Infrastructure.

We would also like to thank Steve Jobson, Editor of Motor Transport for allowing us to feature this very prescient and informative article at Hazchem Network’s News Page. It’s interesting that both Steve and our Managing Director attended Liverpool Polytechnic, with Steve studying Maritime Studies which steered his career into Shipping, and then Logistics and Journalism, while Ali studied Chemistry, and following working as an Industrial Chemist [UK and Overseas] entered logistics in the 1980s, and the experience gained helped him set-up Hazchem Network [and] with his colleagues in Rugby, England.

We also thank freelance journalist Simon Jack, a writer and commentator who specialises in logistics and general business issues. He writes for a wide range of magazines and websites and can be contacted via

Motor Transport and Commercial Motor are key publications and web resources for people working our sector – from Road Transport Media and recommended reading to keep up to date in the fast moving world of Logistics. The HTML links embedded above will lead you to their subscription pages.