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The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) recently signed on to a letter by the Council of Chemical Association Executives calling for a joint hearing by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and Surface Transportation Board (STB) to discuss escalating chemical supply chain disruptions. 

Over the past year, increasing port and rail congestion has led to product delays, rising costs, and inventory stock-outs that have been felt along all supply chains. Disruptions in the chemical supply chain have broad consequences. As many chemical products are no longer manufactured in the U.S., the country relies on these imported shipments to function.

The letter, which is addressed to FMC Chairman Daniel B. Maffei and STB Chairman Martin J. Oberman, calls for the FMC to vigorously enforce the prohibition against unfair demurrage and detention practices. It also calls for the STB to subject container storage charges to the Board’s demurrage rules and expand shippers’ access to alternative service, both in emergency situations and when necessary to provide competitive rail service. 

“The state of shipping as it currently stands is unsustainable, and it’s past time for the FMC and STB to leverage their respective authorities to address both the acute problems and the long-term industry trends that have exasperated them,” said NACD President and CEO Eric R. Byer. “Chemical distributors facilitate the movement of ingredients necessary for everyday life. Prolonged disruptions to the chemical supply chain will have severe effects across the entire U.S. economy, and for that very reason, it’s time to move beyond fact-finding exercises and towards concrete actions.”