How Top Resin Suppliers Manage Logistics Challenges
Though shipment delays are bound to happen, a resin supplier can enact proactive strategies to overcome logistical hurdles for its converter customers.
Like many types of businesses, plastic converters keep their customers happy by delivering orders on time. To do that, they need a reliable resin supplier that is on time and on specification. Shell Polymers has the people, plant, and processes to give converters a reliable strategic supply option.
Overcoming Threats to Supply Confidence
While suppliers that have invested in the right infrastructure and systems can deliver batches of resin on schedule more consistently, shipment delays are sometimes inevitable.
In those cases, a supplier with effective mitigation and proactive communication strategies – including strategic logistics infrastructure, monitoring systems, proactive communication protocols, and multi-modal transport options – can reduce impacts and provide crucial peace of mind to converters.
Current common logistical hurdles in the plastics industry include road and rail congestion, as well as an ongoing shortage of truck drivers. Let’s explore some other potentially significant challenges to converters’ supply confidence.
- Extreme weather events impacting resin availability and pricing aren’t the only problem faced by plastics suppliers located in the U.S. petrochemical epicenter of Texas.
- The Lone Star State has 14 of the country’s 100 worst traffic bottlenecks impacting truck-borne freight along significant corridors, including two of the U.S.’s top 10 worst choke points.1
- An ongoing truck driver shortage is also impacting petrochemical and resin companies.2
- Meanwhile, congestion on rail corridors is worsening.3 “Dwell times” have been increasing at a number of U.S. rail depots, which means shipping containers are sitting for longer periods before being moved.4
- Greater congestion spells increased uncertainty for rail and truck-borne resin shipments en route to converters.
At Shell Polymers’s new Monaca, Pennsylvania polyethylene plant, we’ve made strategic investments aimed at reducing congestion delays to the greatest extent possible and increasing supply confidence for our converter customers.
Plant’s Defenses Against Resin Supply Delays
Converters working with Shell Polymers can count on a dedicated team of people taking the time to build a deep understanding of their business challenges and goals, and working to be proactive versus reactive.
We know converters count on a reliable supply that creates peace of mind when it comes to logistics. Those needs are what drove many of the strategic features of our new polyethylene plant.
Our choice of location for the polyethylene plant is deliberate.
Monaca is within 700 miles of a majority of North American polyethylene consumption, meaning shorter trips for shipments of high-quality resin en route to their facilities. The plant also won’t be subject to the type of severe storm activity that has hit the Gulf Coast in recent years.
Meanwhile, the plant is equipped with weather protections – including a raised site and a pipe temperature maintenance system – that will keep operations running reliably through periods of flooding or during Pennsylvania’s cold winter months.
How Shell Polymers Mitigates Logistics Challenges
In business and life, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. When it comes to shipping resin to converters, Shell Polymers takes a multimodal approach, leveraging both truck and rail to ensure shipments reach our customers as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, we keep a close eye on railcars once they leave the Storage in Transit (SIT) yard bound for customers. Customer relationship coordinators (CRCs) assigned to each of our customer accounts will monitor rail shipments for problems and can arrange for truck transport if railcars are delayed.
Customers themselves will also benefit from real-time shipment visibility using GPS monitoring. This technology offers an improvement over older technology that updates a railcar’s location periodically – only when the train passes a series of gates along the route.
Our plant infrastructure is also built with efficient shipments in mind. Those strategies take effect the moment our resin leaves our plant.
For example, our silo to top truck loading infrastructure allows trucks to be loaded in 15 to 20 minutes, and ready to hit the road within an hour. In addition, our centrally located SIT yard gives us flexibility in connecting and working with various railroads to coordinate resin shipments.