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Cleaning Water The Chemical Company

Understanding the Chemical Industry’s Role in Water Treatment Operations

Cleaning Water The Chemical Company

Drinking water quality measures worldwide have reached historic highs. Today, an estimated 71 percent of the global population has access to safe drinking water, according to researchers from the World Health Organization. The U.S. boasts some of the cleanest supplies on the planet, as 94 percent of its residents can take advantage of pollutant-free aquifers, pipes and fixtures. Numerous parties laid the foundation for this progress, here and abroad. From government institutions and nonprofit organizations to private enterprises, countless entities have contributed to drinking water decontamination efforts across the globe. Surprisingly, chemical companies are among these H20-conscious groups.

Businesses within the global chemicals space have long provided the synthetic materials needed for water treatment operations. These organizations produced more than $24 billion worth of such products in 2018 alone and are expected to generate another $25 billion in water treatment chemicals this year, according to projections from BlueWeave Consulting and Research. In short, chemical companies play an essential role in drinking water decontamination programs and will continue to do so as these initiatives expand.

Unpacking the water treatment equation

Here in the U.S., water treatment unfolds at the community level. Independent public drinking water systems across the country sanitize the supplies found within local aquifers and transport the clean end product to individual homes, per the Centers for Disease Control. The decontamination portion of this process features four distinct phases:

  • Coagulation and flocculation: Water treatment teams introduce positively-charged chemicals to untreated water. This neutralizes the negative charges carried by dissolved sediment and draws these particles together, creating larger, easier-to-handle dirt flecks called floc.
  • Sedimentation: The floc sinks to the bottom of the supply and settles there.
  • Filtration: With the larger contaminants resting at the base of the supply, water treatment personnel run the purified water above through a series of filters that collect particles still present in the H20, including charcoal, gravel and sand. These fixtures also catch microorganisms such as bacteria, parasites and viruses.
  • Disinfection: Following filtration, a number of disinfectants are put into the supply to eliminate any lingering bacteria and inoculate the water against any of the germs it might pick up will traveling through delivery infrastructure.

This water purification methodology has proven extremely effective domestically, despite the scale at which it is deployed. However, this is not the only strategy communities around the world use to rid their supplies of harmful particles. For instance, some leverage slow sand filtration, a much simpler and more cost-effective technique, according to the WHO. That said, the approach outlined above is perhaps the most dominant water treatment procedure in Western nations with access to ample capital and manpower.

Understanding the role of chemical companies



Enterprises within the chemical production arena provide the solutions that propel the water treatment process deployed here in the States. Aluminum sulfate and other inorganic substances are used during the coagulation process, neutralizing the charged ions attached to dangerous contaminants and making them more manageable, per the Minnesota Rural Water Association. Chemicals facilitate flocculation too. All manner of molecular polymers are used here, lending loosened particles the magnetic attraction that allows them to bunch and sink the bottom of supplies in the moments before sedimentation.

And finally, chemical compounds make drinking water disinfection possible at scale, according to the American Chemistry Council. Chlorine is the dominant product here and has been for more than a century. The U.S. and Canadian government began using chlorine to treat drinking water during the early 1900s and have relied heavily on the chemical ever since. Why? Chlorine is an effective germ killer and can easily dispatch waterborne microorganisms, while keeping funguses and harmful chemicals such as ammonia and nitrogen at bay. It eliminates unwanted tastes and odors as well. Together, these features make it an ideal compound for use in this essential industrial niche.

Facing future water treatment challenges

While the chemical companies and other entities that support water treatment operations in the U.S. and abroad have managed to achieve significant success, numerous challenges lie ahead. Crumbling infrastructure is perhaps the most pressing for all parties. The American national drinking water delivery system, which is centered on fixtures installed 75 to 100 years ago, is falling apart, according to field analysis from the American Society of Civil Engineers. For chemical companies, other infrastructure problems, including deteriorating domestic railways, roadways and waterways, complicate logistics, creating further water supply risk. In addition to infrastructure-related hardships, chemical companies are coping with product-centric issues related to the increased regulation of disinfection byproduct, per the ACC.

However, chemical companies are up to the task. Many are providing products to supplement decaying water delivery infrastructure and ensure communities can access safe H20. They are also adjusting their supply chains to combat logistical issues and looking into new disinfectants to meet federal regulations and put residents at ease. In the end, these efforts will strengthen the industry and, by extension, the water treatment operations it supports across the globe.

Grappling with Procurement Challenges in the Chemicals Industry

Grappling with Procurement Challenges in the Chemicals Industry

Grappling with Procurement Challenges in the Chemicals Industry

Procurement is an unceasing challenge for businesses across virtually all sectors. From supply chain breakdowns to stocking issues, the stakeholders managing this essential organizational function often find themselves putting out fires rather than developing and deploying overarching operational strategies. However, these hardships are particularly pronounced for firms orbiting the chemicals space. Here, chemicals producers and consumers grapple with significant procurement roadblocks, some of which are entirely unique to the industry. Instead of mitigating procurement issues as they materialize, these chemicals-adjacent companies must pinpoint and implement sustainable solutions that lay the foundation for success, now and in the future.

Here are some of the common procurement challenges that arise in the chemicals sector and what industry leaders are doing to address them:

Product toxicity

It is no secret that many of the products chemicals manufacturers develop are hazardous by nature. For instance, sulfuric acid, which is perhaps the most commonly produced and used chemical compound in the world, according to researchers from the University of York in the U.K., is intensely caustic and poses a serious threat to all who handle it, including logistics teams. The ubiquitous industrial ingredient ethylene, which the American Chemical Society deemed an imperative “petrochemical building block,” is similarly dangerous and can cause considerable damage if exposed to open flames or agitated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. This variable complicates the procurement process, as producers, shippers and buyers must implement safety measures to protect workers, bystanders and the environment, lest they risk regulatory action from government agencies such as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. In most cases, this involves developing safety training programs, investing in viable chemical transportation assets and cultivating complex reporting workflows, according to Inbound Logistics.

On the surface, these demands appear excessive and almost impossible to meet. This is not the case. Numerous organizations in the chemicals space manage to maintain compliant, efficient and effective procurement processes that drive growth. Most of these high-performers achieve this by ensuring supplier excellence via robust sourcing and vendor evaluation practices. This allows them to pinpoint and collaborate with only those partners that can facilitate optimal availability, while meeting regulatory and safety standards. This emphasis on partnership and supplier excellence has proven effective among businesses with top-flight procurement operations, according to analysts for the consulting form A.T. Kearny, who found that this strategy generated 27 percent of the total procurement value when deployed effectively.

Increased competition

Competition is fierce in the global chemicals industry, which rakes in approximately $5 trillion in sales annually, researchers for Deloitte revealed. While this robust marketplace offers immense potential, it also creates significant operational issues, especially where procurement is concerned. The cost pressures and increasingly intricate organizational relationships that have arisen as a consequence of this booming environment make it difficult for suppliers distinguish themselves. And, the shortened value chains associated vertical integration and portfolio consolidation create risk for purchasers. In all, the immensely competitive state of the chemicals space has created volatility that disrupts procurement operations.

That said, both chemicals suppliers and consumers have viable options for addressing such competition-related roadblocks. For those in the latter category, network optimization combined with renewed client collaboration workflows can bring down expenses and attract the attention of potential customers, all of whom prize cooperation and transparency. Businesses reliant upon raw chemical compounds must explore new supplier selection and performance tracking methods, while adding elasticity to existing vendor networks to mitigate the risks that come with managing procurement operations in an arena where mergers and acquisitions flourish and vertical integration reigns.

Fluctuating economic policies

For the better part of the last decade, businesses everywhere have been adjusting their processes to address the emergence and crystallization of globalization. Procurement stakeholders in the firms navigating the chemicals arena pursued extensive infrastructure expansions in an effort to more effectively tap global supplies and draw in international customers. Unfortunately, things appear to be moving in the opposite direction thanks to the very recent phenomenon of “deglobalization,” according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Over the last year, countries across the world, including the U.S. and U.K., have disengaged from the global marketplace with the intention of boosting domestic growth. This has further complicated procurement activities in the chemicals space, as businesses that spent years rolling out worldwide supply networks now grapple with finding themselves working to mitigate the risks that materialize as this bulwark breaks down.

Optimizing supply chain flexibility is really the only recourse for the organizations dealing with this particular issue. These entities must have options when it comes to procuring raw materials and finished chemical compounds, and this necessitates the cultivation of multi-layered supplier networks primed to reduce the risk of operating amidst deglobalization.

Together, these issues pose a serious challenge to procurement departments tasked with sourcing chemicals and the base compounds that form their foundations. However, as discussed above, there are viable solutions for addressing these roadblocks, no matter how serious.

Searching for solutions to ongoing chemical logistics issues

Searching for solutions to ongoing chemical logistics issues

Searching for solutions to ongoing chemical logistics issuesEnterprise transportation spending has skyrocketed. U.S. businesses invested almost $1.5 trillion in logistics services in 2017, an all-time high, according to researchers from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Chemicals manufacturers were, of course, among the numerous organizations that contributed to this spend; as such firms heavily depend upon commercial freight companies. Why are the enterprises that populate this unique and ever-expanding niche setting aside so much for shipping? A number of significant challenges plague logistics services providers, especially those operating in the continental U.S. Together, these issues, which require expensive intervention, are expected to cost American chemical companies an additional $79 billion between 2017 and 2027, according to analysis from the American Chemistry Council and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

With this disturbing projection in play, stateside chemical companies should gain an in-depth understanding of the logistics issues affecting the industry.

Competition and staffing in the trucking space

An estimated 61 percent of chemical shipments travel via truck, making the semi the dominant mode of transportation within the space, the ACC and PwC discovered. Unfortunately, the upward momentum of the economy has created a traffic jam of sorts, as businesses across all industries race to reserve the relatively limited number of shipping slots and push trucking companies to capacity. This heightened competition has allowed logistics organizations to raise prices with impunity, The Wall Street Journal reported. However, demand is not the only variable fueling this price increase. Logistics companies with mature trucking fleets have been struggling to achieve optimal staffing levels for some time. The nationwide trucker shortage presently sits at 50,000 and could increase to as much as 174,000 by 2026. Firms in this logistics niche are attempting to address this issue by luring new drivers with high salaries and robust training programs, the cost of which they are lying in the laps of customers. Sadly, there are no solutions on the horizon, meaning chemical companies will be forced to pay increased trucking costs for some time or risk severing their supply chains.

Congestion on the railroads

As the second-most utilized shipping method in chemicals manufacturing behind trucking, rail plays an essential role in the space, especially for bulk shippers. While most businesses in the industry continue to see logistical success with this particular mode of transportation, it is not without its issues – namely, congestion. Back in February 2018, for instance, organizations in several sectors saw significant delays stemming from congestion at Canadian National Railway and Union Pacific Railroad terminals in Illinois due to a variety of variables, including weather, locomotive operator shortages and electric logging device issues, the Journal of Commerce reported. With turn-around times stretching as long as four hours, shippers voiced considerable displeasure. Depleted infrastructure is often cited as a contributing factor, as private and government entities responsible for American railroads lag behind on mission-critical repairs to tracks, cables and other key fixtures, the ACC and PwC found.

The Association of American Railroads and other industry groups have long advocated for increased institutional investment. But without a massive infusion of cash, little is likely to change, an unfortunate scenario for chemicals manufacturers.

Crumbling marine infrastructure

American ports have long bolstered logistics operations in the chemicals arena. Today, approximately 14 percent of all chemical products move through these aquatic gateways by way of marine container vessels, according to the ACC and PwC. However, this logistics strategy has been less reliable as of late. The causes? Crumbling infrastructure is one, analysts for the American Society of Civil Engineers found. A good number of the more than 920 ports that dot the country have not been retrofitted to accept modern container ships, which boast carrying capacities as high as 22,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. For comparison, in 2005, the average shipping vessel could hold no more than 10,000 TEU. Without the physical structures needed to support the streamline flow of the behemoth ships of today, congestion regularly occurs.

In addition to suffering from serious infrastructural deficiencies, U.S. ports are often at the center of maritime administrative disputes that inhibit operations. West Coast ports in particular are known for experiencing delays due to such disputes, the ACC and PwC found. For example, a contractual conflict between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association back in 2015 derailed productivity at ports across the Pacific Coast. Unfortunately, the solutions for these maritime shipping problems are few and far between, which will require businesses in the chemicals manufacturing space to come up with internal fixes to mitigate the impact.

Finding a solution

These multi-modal logistics challenges might seem insurmountable, especially since there are, at the moment, virtually zero overarching solutions capable of ameliorating these issues in one foul swoop. However, chemical companies are not doomed to ratchet up their logistics budgets into perpetuity to cover the cost of logistical dysfunction. Adding flexibility to the supply chain is the best solution here. Chemical companies that do this by growing their supply bases, streamlining procurement methods and facilitating optimal collaboration can find their way in today’s less-than-ideal enterprise transportation arena without losing steam or emptying the coffers.

Understanding the Importance of Plasticization

Plastic is perhaps the most dominant industrial material on the market. From building supplies and consumer items to commercial packaging provisions and textiles, plastic is deployed in the fabrication of countless products. However, this foundational substance would not boast such value without plasticizers – the colorless and odorless chemicals that make it pliable and therefore usable across numerous applications. In 2017, organizations worldwide invested more than $12 billion in plasticizers, according to research from MarketsandMarkets. The market for this material is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of almost 6 percent, with analysts expecting plasticizer spending to reach $16.15 billion by 2022. Of course, this should come as no surprise to those familiar with this transformative substance.

Grappling with the plasticization process
Plasticizers are responsible for softening a variety of plastics – most notably, polyvinylchloride, more commonly known as PVC or vinyl. Businesses that produce and sell this material account for between 80 and 90 percent of the plasticizer market, according to IHS Markit. Phthalate esters are the most common plasticizer types, accounting for 65 percent of all the plasticizer products sold in 2017. These assets center on alcohol and phthalic acid, which combine with plastic polymers to reduce rigidity and support optimal chain flexibility. The acid’s low molecular weight makes these outcomes possible, cutting down on crystallization and supporting polymer elongation. In the end, this entire process lays the groundwork for great flexibility and strength, two qualities that make vinyl an immensely popular material.

Grasping the impact of plasticization
Vinyl and other plastics produced via plasticization hold great sway in the global marketplace, underpinning a variety of critically important industries. The homebuilding industry is perhaps the biggest consumer of PVC, as roughly three-quarters of all vinyl products are used in construction projects, analysts for the American Chemistry Council discovered. Where? Just about any homebuilding application imaginable. Synthetic products such as vinyl flooring are extremely popular among architects and builders, more than half of whom reported using these items in 2018, according to data from the American Institute of Architects. PVC is also an essential ingredient in many electrical wiring products, including conduit which is used to protect cabling. And vinyl is, of course, the linchpin component found in PVC plumbing fixtures, which is industry standard.

As mentioned above, the homebuilding sector is merely one of the many industries that leverage products derived from plasticizers. Packaging, for instance, is another industrial arena that relies heavily on PVC, the ACC found. As does the health care space, where hospitals and other medical entities take advantage of PVC-based intravenous therapy and blood bags that are flexible yet unbreakable. In all, this versatile material has an immense impact on consumers, playing a central role in the creation of key consumer products, some of which quite literally save lives.

Unpacking the plasticizer safety equation
Despite the widespread use of PVC and similar plastics, some question the safety of items fabricated via plasticization, Stephane Content, Sector Group Manager for the European Council for Plasticizers and Intermediates, explained in an interview with Chemistry Views. Why? Content said a small number of concerned customers and environmental health and safety analysts believe plasticizers leach out of PVC products, resulting in the release of harmful gases. In reality, in well-formulated compounds and products, this is not the case. Leaching of this kind only occurs in the event that vinyl is exposed to highly caustic solvents for extended periods of time, or in a compound that may not be properly and definitively compounded for its’ required application. For everyday items, the possibility of this occurring is slim-to-none. In addition to leaching, some outside of the plastics space have been known to claim that PVC dust is an active irritant or pollutant. Again, scientific studies have proven this to be false. PVC dust poses no harm.

On top of being safe, plastic materials produced via plasticization are heavily regulated, according to the ACC. The Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and NFS International, a third-party product testing organization, manage PVC-related regulatory workflows and ensure all vinyl materials used in the American industrial space are safe to consumers.

How plasticization propels product advancement
Plasticizers and the polymer fortifying processes in which they are used are critical to numerous industries, lending enterprises across numerous spaces the ability to create and deploy sturdy assets that stand up to punishment and the slow march of time. And, as plastics carve out an even deeper niche in the global marketplace, plasticization will only increase in popularity and importance.

World Antifreeze Trends in 2019

Antifreeze boasts numerous industrial applications, from combustion engine temperature regulation to heating, ventilation and air conditioning refrigeration. Businesses across numerous sectors rely upon the compound due to its plain yet versatile chemical framework. However, this simplicity does not translate to the marketplace, where numerous developments are reshaping the antifreeze arena. That said, the total effect of these changes is positive, as the global market for the substance is growing at an accelerated rate and expected to surpass the $8.7 billion mark by 2025, according to data from Grand View Research. Exactly which factors are fueling this expansion? Here are some of the most important trends:

Increased investment among automakers

Businesses in the automotive manufacturing space have always been reliable antifreeze consumers. Every single motor vehicle on the road requires the compound, after all. This historical trend lives on, as carmakers and original equipment manufacturers in the United States and abroad continue to make massive investments in antifreeze. In fact, spending from this sector is likely to increase due to rising vehicle production demands, analysts for MarketsandMarkets discovered. The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers found that automakers worldwide produced 97 million passenger and commercial units in 2017 – the highest number ever recorded in the history of the space. Former Reuters automotive correspondent and Forbes contributor Neil Winton believes the group will publish even larger figures by the conclusion of 2018, laying the groundwork for additional growth in demand for antifreeze in the car manufacturing niche. However, this exciting development is not without complications.

Regulatory bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency have rolled out amended industrial standards in recent years, including more stringent antifreeze disposal and recycling rules, prompting automakers to embrace sustainability on the shop floor, according to Grand View Research. Even so, larger builders like Fiat Chrysler Automotive are prioritizing more substantial materials as part of such efforts, including fluids like antifreeze, which constitute just over 4 percent of the average FCA vehicle build, are less likely to be subject to usage reductions.

OAT products continue to dominate

There are numerous antifreeze mixtures on the market, but all center on ethylene glycol or polyethylene glycol, though additives may vary. However, additives vary. Inorganic acid technology mixtures, which feature EG and have dominated the market for decades, contain phosphates and silicates that complement the various metals used in automotive cooling systems. These coolants normally last for three years or 36,000 miles. Organic acid technology solutions, on the other hand, contain PG and leverage corrosion-fighting additives and other chemicals to remain active for five years. The latter offer very obvious benefits to users and have begun to overtake their older counterparts. In fact, IAT antifreeze accounts for more than half of all blends sold and maintains the title of fastest growing product segment in the antifreeze space, according to research from MarketsandMarkets.

Global aerospace firms drive growth

In addition to businesses in the automotive sector, aerospace firms are making significant investments in antifreeze products, and are therefore driving considerable growth, analysts for Grand View Research and Global Market Insights discovered. Total commercial aircraft deliveries continue to climb due to increased demand, an overarching trend that has forced plane builders to spend more on mission-critical production components, including antifreeze, according to Deloitte. Additionally, numerous nations, including the U.S., are increasing their defense budgets, allocating extra war fighting funds that inevitably go toward the development of new combat-ready aircraft. In 2016, the latest year for which data from the Aerospace Industries Association was available, U.S.-based firms generated nearly $150 billion in revenue linked to defense projects. With further defense budget increases on the way, the aerospace sector is poised to drive traffic to suppliers of all kinds, including the makers of antifreeze.

The Chemical Company’s Products & The Antifreeze Market

The Chemical Company supplies a wide variety of products that directly or indirectly supply or impact the antifreeze industry. TCC distributes products such as Monoethylene Glycol, Diethylene Glycol, Triethylene Glycol and Methanol. For more information, click here to request product information from TCC.

 

Rhine River Levels Rise The Chemical Company

Rhine River Water Levels Return to Normal; Transportation Eases

Rhine River levels are returning to normal, meaning higher barge capacity resulting in lower barge rates into and out of Germany.

The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) explains that water levels are currently rising due to significant surface discharge from recent rain events, but has warned this trend may not sustain. For significantly better Rhine levels in spring of 2019, CCNR administrator Kai Kempmann warns, “We will need a precipitation of 1,000 millimeters in December, which is about 120% of the average monthly rainfall.” Even still, Kempmann does not expect levels to fall to the extremes observed through these previous summer and autumn months.

According to data collected by Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde (the German Federal Institute of Hydrology), current levels are within mean range, though stations in Maxau (upper Rhine), Kaub (mid Rhine), and Emmerich (lower Rhine), all report levels are currently dropping as of Dec. 28, 2018.

The CCNR quarterly freight rate index fluctuates around the 100 mark during periods where the load capacity of 2.5 and 3-meter draught vessels can operate at 60% or greater capacity. 2018 has seen freight indices topping the 500 mark from May through the present, as 3-meter draught vessels are just able to make 40% capacity, while smaller vessels are breaking 50%.

The CCNR freight index is expected to decline over the first quarter of 2019, with reports that rates have already significantly shifted.

 

Source Article:

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/maritime/rhine-water-levels-rise-rates-jump

Ethylene Glycol: An Unseen Manufacturing Powerhouse

Modern manufacturers leverage countless chemical compounds. However, few of these industrial substances are as important as ethylene glycol. This colorless, odorless liquid is deployed in an immense number of manufacturing environments, which is why the global EG market continues to grow. In fact, analysts for Grand View Research predict that EG sales will surpass $33 billion by 2020. What exactly are manufacturers using this chemical for? Here are some common applications, along with some information on the chemical characteristics that make EG an unseen production powerhouse.

An essential coolant component

Antifreeze, the industrial coolant used to keep combustion engines operational in extreme temperatures, is perhaps the most common product associated with EG – and for good reason. The manufacturers that populate the worldwide antifreeze market, which is expected to eclipse $885 billion by 2021, according to research from MarketsandMarkets, heavily rely on this compound. When mixed with water, EG can lower the freezing point of any given liquid while also increasing its boiling point. This makes it ideal for use as antifreeze, which is in turn deployed across numerous industries, including the automotive and heating, ventilation and air conditioning sectors. In short, most motors, residential and commercial cooling systems and the functions these assets support depend on the versatile thermal capabilities of EG.

The foundation for food packaging

The global market for packaged food continues to expand, despite the emergence of competing trends, including the increased consumption of fresh fruit, meat and vegetables. Within fewer than two years, spending on off-the-shelf food items is expected to reach $3 trillion on the back of a compound annual growth rate of 4.5 percent, according to projections from Allied Market Research. This activity is driving similar growth in the worldwide food packaging space, which analysts for Grand View Research believe will expand to more than $411 billion by 2025. Companies in both of these interconnected industries can thank EG for some of this financial success. Why? The chemical provides the foundation for a good portion of the food packaging floating around grocery stores worldwide.

EG supports resin formation by reacting with dimethyl terephthalate or terephthalic acids. Food packaging manufacturers leverage this process to produce everything from soda cans to egg cartons – essential assets for companies selling pre-wrapped fare of all kinds.

A textile production essential

Clothing and textiles accounted for 6 percent of all the manufactured goods exported globally in 2017, according to research from the World Trade Organization. Analysts for the National Council of Textile Organizations, an American trade group, found that producers in the U.S. shipped out almost $80 billion in products over that 12-month span, an all-time high. This growth is expected to continue over the next six years, with researchers for Grand View Research predicting worldwide textile sales to reach approximately $1.2 trillion by 2025. The textile manufacturers powering this marketplace expansion are leveraging a variety of shop floor workflows to meet consumer demand and facilitate success, many of which center on EG.

The chemical is a key ingredient in the production of polyester fiber, which is used in a variety of textile products, including carpet, clothing and furniture upholstery.

The basis for fiberglass products

Industrial companies worldwide invested almost $14 billion in raw fiberglass in 2017, according to research from MarketsandMarkets. That figure is expected to increase to more than $18 billion by 2022 through an impressive compound annual growth rate of 6 percent. This versatile material is used in numerous applications, from the production of bathtubs and bowling balls to shipbuilding. Of course, fiberglass is a not a naturally occurring material. Manufacturers craft the substance in bulk via shop floor processes that leverage EG, which catalyzes resin formation and makes fiberglass possible.

A little-known manufacturing mainstay

These are just a handful of the ways in which EG is used in the manufacturing space. The chemical’s versatility makes it ideal for a vast number of applications. Perhaps the only downside to EG is its toxicity. The substance does pose a hazard to humans if ingested in raw form, which is why industry groups and occupational safety and health oversight organizations advise manufacturers to put into place stringent handling protocols. That said, businesses that manage to address this challenge often find themselves experiencing significant success as a result of EG usage.

rhine river critical levels for the chemical company

Rhine River Levels Critical for Global Trade and Supply Chains

Considered a lifeline to all of Germany, the Rhine River has reached crippling new lows as the severity of this summer’s draught is reaching dire consequences. Recent measurements put the riverbed at 10 inches deep or less, leaving the man-dredged shipping channel at about five feet deep, down from a standard 10-12 feet.

According to the New York Times, roughly 80% of the 223 million tons of cargo transported by water in Germany each year will hit the Rhine at some point in the supply chain. Low water levels have crippled multiple chemical production facilities along the river, leading to either a lack of production, lack of ability to ship goods out, and in many cases, both.

The 745-mile-long river has played a vital role in shaping the worldwide economy due to its influence on international trade since the days of the Holy Roman Empire. It still plays that role to this day. The months-long drought, the most severe since the 1920s, has captured the attention of the global media because of its far-reaching impact on dependent economies in an array of businesses; the chemical industry being one of the most important and most hard hit.

BASF, the German chemical group said in a statement that it was forced to curtail production at the world’s largest integrated chemicals facility at Ludwigshafen due to the inability of ships to navigate the low water levels.

“With the current water level, only a few barges can dock,” BASF said. The statement went on to say, “Even if some goods are transferred to alternative means of transport such as trucks or trains, the supply of some important raw materials will be restricted.”

S&P Global Platts, a publication that covers oil and commodities reports that available smaller barges, capable of navigating the shallow waterways, raised prices from $4–5 per metric ton to more than $40, a cost that will ultimately be absorbed by consumers.

The LED reading at Duisburg, a Rhine measuring station, read 5.09 feet. “This is the lowest level ever measured here,” said Jan Boehme, a hydrologist with the Water and Shipping Authority.

Although the claims on the causes of the drought on the statistical website are not proven beyond a doubt, German authorities say the extreme dry weather matches the models of climate change drawn up by scientists.

The chemical industry and the world are anxiously waiting to see what the impact of the extreme drought coupled with possible new tariffs, trade agreements, and regulatory changes resulting from the U.S. mid-term elections will have on the industry, supply chains, and the global economy. At this time—the outlook is grim.

The Chemical Company Weekly Market Update Benzene Ethylene Propylene PGP RGP Crude Natural Gas November 7, 2018

Weekly Market Update: November 7, 2018

TCC’s Weekly Raw Materials Update: November 7, 2018.

Ethylene

Flat-to-higher
Nov MtB-NOVA bid at 20, offered at 21cpp

Up 1-2cpp from October

Benzene

Much Lower
Priced DDP HTC at 237cpg

Down $.50, from 287cpg in October

Propylene

PGP
Nov PGP traded at 45.25cpp, down 11cpp from Oct

RGP
Nov RGP last traded at 32.5cpp, down 12cpp from Oct

Brent Crude Oil

Lower
$72.12/bbl – Down $11.50
Jan ICE Brent

Crude Oil

Lower
$62.21/bbl – Down $12.00
Dec NYMEX WTI Crude

Natural Gas

Higher
$3.555/mmBtu – Up $.30
Dec NYMEX Natural Gas

Weekly Market Review

The Chemical Company Weekly Market Update Benzene Ethylene Propylene PGP RGP Crude Natural Gas November 7, 2018

TCC produces weekly market review graphics, with content courtesy of PetroChem Wire. This information is distributed via TCC’s social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as posted to The View section of the website, and occasionally published via email with other market updates.

NACD President Eric Byer Interview | The View, Podcast Edition - Episode 016

NACD President Eric Byer Podcast | The View, Ep 016

On Episode 016 of The View, Podcast Edition, we sit down with NACD (The National Association of Chemical Distributors) President Eric Byer. TCC Marketing & Sales Specialist Ben Sawicki, and Regulatory Specialist Matt Francoeur discuss current industry trends throughout the industry, including tariff implications, trucking and logistics, and more.

Visit thechemco.com/podcast to stream Episode 016 on the platform of your choice!

Episode 016 Transcript:

Ben Sawicki:                 00:11               What’s up everybody. Welcome to the View From Jamestown podcast edition. This is episode 16 and we are sitting down with the NACD president, Eric Byer. I also have TCC regulatory and sales specialist, Matt Francoeur on the line too. Good morning guys, thank you guys for sitting down.

Matt Francoeur:           00:27               Glad to be here again.

Ben Sawicki:                 00:29               Eric, thank you as well for your time. We appreciate you sitting down and talking to us for a little while here.

Eric Byer:                      00:34               Absolutely, appreciate the opportunity, thanks.

Ben Sawicki:                 00:37               Maybe Eric if you wanna get started maybe with a little bit of background on you and the NACD, what you guys do and work on and all that fun stuff.

Eric Byer:                      00:45               Sure. NACD was established back in 1971. We primarily represent chemical distributors and a lot of their supply chain partners and most of our member companies do everything in the distribution space. They can process chemicals, formulate blend repackage, warehouse, transport, you name it. They service about 750 thousand customers annually. To give kind of a flavor on the economics side, we have about 70 thousand or so employees and generate a little over five billion in tax revenue for communities throughout the country. Our members total, we have about 450 total overall and we represent about 85 to 90 percent of the chemical distribution space. It’s a good group, a lot of small businesses, our average sized member’s about 26 million dollars in sales and about 25, 26 employees.

Eric Byer:                      01:37               By way of background for me, I’ve been doing this now for about five years. Came here from a law firm working on a lot of policy and communications efforts and then did a lot of government affairs work for a trade association that was kinda similar to NACD, but in the aviation world. Before that I worked on Capital Hill for a member of Congress out in State College, Pennsylvania.

Ben Sawicki:                 01:58               Very nice. Are you based in DC?

Eric Byer:                      02:01               Yeah. We’re technically inside the beltway, we are in Roslyn, which is the closest part to DC in Arlington, Virginia. We’re right across the river from Georgetown.

Ben Sawicki:                 02:10               Got it. That’s where … Is everyone that works for the NACD based there or do you guys have offices …

Eric Byer:                      02:15               Yeah, our headquarters are here along with the Chemical Educational Foundation that has their staff here as well.

Ben Sawicki:                 02:19               Very nice. Jumping ahead, what are some of the biggest things you guys are working on or seeing throughout the distribution space and the chemical space as a whole? What are some of the biggest industry trends going on and things you guys are really spending a lot of time of internally?

Eric Byer:                      02:35               Sure. Lots of things obviously. From a public policy side I think everybody’s seen what’s going on with the China 301 tariffs, that’s obviously been something that’s really important to a lot of our members, especially smaller companies that import product from China. That all started back in the spring and there’s been three lists that have come out from the president as to companies that … As to products that are gonna be set to tariff, whether it’s 10 or 25 percent. We’ve been aggressive on that sending a lot of our members to testify before the US trade rep. We’ve worked somewhat successfully in getting a number of exclusions for products coming up. I think it was 350 or so that we’ve actually had members concerned about, we’ve been able to get exclusions to about 30, 35 of them, which is pretty good, 10 percent. Most people say that’s not great, but in this world where people are not having much success, we’ve been pretty successful in that arena. That’s probably been one of our big issues.

Eric Byer:                      03:31               Lots of other policy issues that we’re talking about right now. We have CFATS that expires in early January next year we’re trying to get reauthorized. We’ve got a huge driver shortage out there where it’s tough for a lot of our members to get product delivered on time because of the lack of qualified drivers. We’re working on some legislative and regulatory fixes for that potentially. Obviously consolidation of our industry continues to be something that we see, obviously I think everybody’s seen at this point Univar looking at purchasing Nexio. Those are two or three of our biggest members that we have out there, so that’s a big deal, so we’re keeping a close eye on that. But we’ve seen a number of other MNA activity over the last six months to nine months, so that’s something we’ll keep a close eye on.

Eric Byer:                      04:16               Lots to tackle both from a policy, but also an industry side. The good thing is that even with the tariffs, the economy’s been pretty strong. Having seen our members at regional events and some other industry events here in the last two weeks, everybody seems to be doing pretty well. I think the fact that the regulatory climate is not as challenging as it was under President Obama has been helpful. I think tax reform has been helpful. The China tariffs are challenging to say the least, but I think there’s still light at the end of the tunnel in terms of our guys are doing pretty well economically and they’re definitely out there, they’re trying to hire people, they’re definitely growing their businesses, we’re seeing better returns year over year from this year to last and that’s a trend that’s happening the last two, three years. Those are all good indicators that the economy’s still pretty strong for the distribution space.

Ben Sawicki:                 05:04               Definitely sounds like you guys are not struggling to find things to do by any means. Definitely lots going on it seems like, which good and a bad thing I suppose.

Eric Byer:                      05:14               Yes, all gainfully employed that’s for sure.

Ben Sawicki:                 05:15               Absolutely. Maybe going a little bit deeper on the tariffs for a second, we spent a lot of time on the podcast and putting emails out and things like that just trying to keep our customers and business partners aware of what’s going on just publishing information. It seems like we put a lot out and there’s obviously news articles all over the place and you guys do a great job with getting the word out as well and it just seems like there’s still lots of people that either have decided to selectively ignore what’s going on or hope it’ll go away and close their eyes and just hope that it just disappears overnight.

Eric Byer:                      05:49               Yes, exactly.

Ben Sawicki:                 05:51               Obviously the three lists aren’t final as Matt Francoeur over here has done a great job keeping an eye on for us. Where does all that lie and maybe any recommendations or advice for your member companies with how to proceed for the next month and then obviously once the new January 1 deadline comes into effect, what you guys are recommending and talking to people about?

Eric Byer:                      06:12               I think obviously going back, the biggest thing here is educating yourself with what’s going on. There’s three lists and everybody’s got information pieces out there. For our members we’ve got a static page on NACD dot com that talks about each of the three lists, what part out there with the products they’re gonna have a tariff assessed to them. We’ve essentially laid out when the activity is gonna take effect, what that increased tariff rate’s gonna be, those types of elementary stuff right now so people understand what it is. We’ve also put in submitted comments on how to potentially or at least request to have products excluded. Some have been successfully done, most of them have not been. Right now we are still looking at a last ditch effect, which USTR’s gonna put out there publicly about how you can make one final request to have a product excluded from one of the three lists. Namely list three is what we’re focusing on right now pretty soon. Those are all efforts that are all ongoing that we continue to tackle everyday.

Eric Byer:                      07:10               We’re working with Capital Hill, we’ve been working aggressively on a number of different letters, there’s another letter that’s coming out here probably in the next few days that requests the White House and the administration to make sure they have the opportunity to put in for chemicals that could be excluded out of list three, that’s something we’re working hard on.

Eric Byer:                      07:28               In terms of what’s gonna happen moving forward, we’ve heard lots of things that are going on up there. Could the president revoke everything he’s done if he start to deal with Beijing, we don’t know, certainly that’s a hope that a lot of people have. I couldn’t tell you exactly what’s going on in the inner core of the White House with the negotiation process, but we do know it’s very high level, we do know that members of Congress, especially from states that have a high impact in terms of manufacturing are struggling and they’re hearing from businesses small, medium and large. I think with an election coming in a few weeks, there may be potentially some movement with the White House and striking a deal I hope. But if not, this is when people vote. If they’re frustrated, this is one of those things where I think a lot of folks are gonna be up there and saying we gotta make a change here. I don’t know ultimately what’s gonna happen, but this is something that could very much be around for at least the next couple years and I think it’s something that people need to prepare themselves to be permanent as much as we hope there could be a fix where things could change up.

Ben Sawicki:                 08:26               One of the things we were just talking about yesterday actually on our monthly view podcast with Rob Roach, the TCC president, is it seems like Trump is boasting about how much money the US is gonna make from these tariffs, but in reality, it’s the businesses, it’s us essentially that are paying these tariffs. It’s not like we’re gonna be making these millions and millions of dollars from China and I think once people realize that, it’ll be interesting to see what happens come midterm election time.

Eric Byer:                      08:54               It’s fair to say that there’s been a trade in balance, I don’t think anybody disputes that, especially with China. This is how the president believes is the best way to negotiate and that’s fine. I think the idea that it’s not hurting businesses and revenue to the association is not genuine to be frank with you, I think we have plenty of member companies that can testify to the fact this is really gonna cripple their business, especially for products they’re importing that only can come out of China. I think that’s where you’re really starting to see a lot of small companies that have a number of products that are coming in just from China alone where they’re trying to recalibrate and find out could it be made somewhere else, do they need to diversify their product portfolio if you will. There’s a lot of things out there that I know it’s a struggle and it’s challenging. This is what the White House wants to do and that’s fine, but I think for our guys, the best thing that they can do is say we can’t put our head in the sand, we gotta find a way to either get this product manufactured somewhere other than China or some other countries and if we can do so, can we ensure that it gets here in time so we can fulfill what we need to provide to our customers.

Ben Sawicki:                 09:57               I think at the very least at least it’s decided now. We know what products or chemicals are effected and it’s a good thing that’s at least decided. Kind of we’ll just wait and see at the very least there’s gonna be a three, four, five, six week shortage of stuff coming in from China because people just weren’t ordering because they had no idea what would happen. At the very least, I think through the end of the year, stuff that is coming from China will be interesting to see what happens on the supply side.

Eric Byer:                      10:24               Yeah, I would say that between election day and the holidays, that’s a pretty pivotal time period. I’ll be curious to see if the shortages do occur and see what pressure points are put on the administration if any, whether they’re economic or political or otherwise. I think you will see something shake out, I don’t know if it’s gonna be good or worse. We keep hearing there could potentially be a list four. There is still several hundred million dollars worth of product out there that could be tariffed. I don’t know for sure, but I think something will shake out here over the next eight to 10 weeks, we just don’t know which direction it’s gonna go.

Matt Francoeur:           10:56               Little bit earlier you were talking about trying to convince the USTR to pass the … I think it was the product exclusion requests. When do you expect that to start coming about kind of around this January 1st deadline for the 25 percent tariff?

Eric Byer:                      11:11               Yeah, I would hope soon. It takes time, it would take time for our guys to put in the request, it takes time for USTR to consider and vet them and then issue a final list if you will of potential products that could be excluded. I suspect that not many will be approved for exclusion since they’ve kind of gone through the initial phase. But I’m hopeful soon, I couldn’t give you a specific date to be honest with you. But if you look at where we are now versus January 1, we got less than three months and time’s ticking. I’m hopeful fairly soon so we can get more information out to our members on how to do that process.

Matt Francoeur:           11:43               That’s it. I remember looking at the list of product exclusion requests for list one and there’s a couple thousand on there and all of them are pending. I don’t think they have the man power.

Eric Byer:                      11:55               And list three is the kitchen sink in my mind. That will take an extraordinary amount of time to get that done. I hope it’s sooner than later, but we’ll see. For all we know there could be a delay or extension, I don’t know. But you’re right, the fact that list one still hasn’t been finalized up there, that’s a good point to be made and one where time is definitely ticking.

Ben Sawicki:                 12:17               I think the way things have gone, we could wake up tomorrow morning, it could be a 180 and all this could be gone. The way things have gone, it’s gonna be interesting to see how things certainly shake out through January 1 and beyond.

Eric Byer:                      12:29               That’s the hope, but hope can only carry you so far. The fact is we got a reality ahead of us that we gotta make sure we prepare our members for.

Ben Sawicki:                 12:36               Pivoting slightly to another exciting topic surrounding trucking and logistics throughout the US as well as kind of the global marketplace for different freight and logistics moves, what are you guys seeing on your end with the freight industry obviously has gotten tight over the last six, 12, 18 months across all different channels. What are some of the things you guys are monitoring and keeping an eye on and trying to advocate for across the chemical industry?

Eric Byer:                      13:04               As I said, the economy’s doing pretty well for most of our folks, which means there’s more product that’s trying to be moved. Whether it’s coming for abroad and being brought in on a freighter across Pacific and put on rail and brought in by … Or truck, it’s one of those things where it’s a good problem to have, but it’s a bad problem to have. It’s good because the economy’s going strong and our members are able to do more business and grow with new jobs and stuff like that, but it’s bad in the fact that logistically it is a challenge. The rail marketplace has been very challenging for our guys that do bring in products via rail. The class ones have continued to demonstrate an inability to provide a lot of the products that our members bring in on time, not a really good communication network and when there are complaints, they’re not being heard. Sometimes some of the rate charges that are out there are just doing very quickly, not a lot of discussion about it.

Eric Byer:                      13:55               There are a lot of issues when you tie in product coming in on rail and then getting ultimately to a destination where you potentially offload onto a truck and then you have a driver shortage. There are definitely challenges between rail and driving right now where it’s hard for our members. They’re looking to find ways where they can get product in safely, securely and on time, always what they’re looking for. But when that can’t be done, they’ve gotta look at other alternatives. I know I’ve talked to a few distributors who are actually looking at getting back into owning their own trucks again because they can kinda control their own destiny that way. That’s one way we’re looking at it or some of our members are looking at. But I think everybody’s trying really, really hard, especially with the third party logistic providers that are out there to find qualified drivers to get product from point A to point B because it’s a real opportunity for them as well because if our members are doing well, they can do well by moving that freight. I think everybody’s trying to find solutions where they can get folks in.

Eric Byer:                      14:48               There is a bill on Capital Hill that we’re pushing that would take the driver age from 21 to 18. Right now you have to be 21 to cross state lines to drive a truck. For someone like me who lives in northern Virginia, Maryland is literally two miles away, but a driver could go from where I live in northern Virginia down to the southern part of Virginia, which is four hours away, but they couldn’t cross the two miles into Maryland because that would be illegal. There’s the possibility where that age would be dropped from 21 to 18. There are a number of folks that I’ve talked to that have folks that are coming out of the military that could certainly handle that responsibility for sure with proper training as this bill would dictate. That’s another area we’re looking at. But it’s small in the grand scheme of things. I think it’s just a matter of can we find people and get them enthused again to drive trucks, which has been a challenge for a number of years.

Ben Sawicki:                 15:41               That was gonna be one of my next kind of followup questions is what tactical advice you guys are offering to member companies in the industry. Obviously there’s the option to buy trucks and hire drivers and get into that asset based piece. You can advocate for longer lead times, you could advocate for flexible delivery dates and all that stuff. Is that kind of what you’re preaching at this point or is there any other advice you’ve given people?

Eric Byer:                      16:06               We do have a number of member that do provide those types of services that are fairly reliable that we’ll encourage them to at least talk to, so we’re doing that. But a lot of things you just talked about, whether it’s better lead time, whether it’s having a better relationship with the company you’re dealing with, whether it’s bringing it in house and having your own drivers again, a lot of our folks are way ahead of us in terms of just thinking about opportunities and a way to ensure the product is getting there on time. But I think the idea that it’s a challenge to say we know product’s coming in and you’ve gotta add another week to week and a half because you’re not sure when that product’s actually gonna arrive is frustrating for a lot of our guys. They’re doing the best they can to build that in time wise for a product to be delivered or look at other opportunities working with a third party provider that can guarantee a shorter window of time that are more reliable. There are those that are out there, companies that can do that. I think everybody’s putting anything they can on the table to find ways to get that product there.

Ben Sawicki:                 17:02               It’s been amazing seeing some of the articles that have come out about double digit percentage growth of prices for trucks and double digit growth across rail in six months. It’s incredible to see the capacity overload that’s on a lot of these channels.

Eric Byer:                      17:19               That’s in a lot of the transportation modes. I came from an aviation industry where pilot shortage is always something that was very cyclical. When the economy got strong, pilots were in high demand. In the trucking industry it’s no different, there has been a shortage now for some time. The ATA has worked out there about the shortage on what it is now, what it could be moving forward. We’ve gotta find a way to make the trucking industry … I use the term sexy, but appealing again for folks coming out of school to get interested in driving trucks again. There was a time where it was, Smoky and the Bandit back in the ’80s, that kind of thing, but it’s one of those things where we need to find a way to get it, whether it’s higher pay, better benefits, better time to spend with your family, whatever it may be and I know people are working that angle as best they can. But there’s gotta be ways where we can get people interested again in driving trucks to ship product around.

Ben Sawicki:                 18:08               I’ve always kind of thought of it almost like this gig economy we’re in where people are flocking to drive Uber and Lyft because they like to do it on their own time and they like to be where they wanna be and you can pick up and move and do that anywhere. It almost seems like the trucking industry is a similar kind of comparison. It’s just interesting what companies need to do to attract people that are willing to do Uber and Lyft, but maybe don’t wanna drive a truck. What are the major differences and how can they appeal to those people.

Eric Byer:                      18:35               I think that’s a good point because there’s that one time that everybody finds very, very important, it’s flexibility. How can I have the flexibility to maintain my lifestyle while generating some additional revenue. With Uber, that’s gonna work for people that are trying to do extra jobs on the weekend or whatever it may be, people can do that. For trucking, it’s gotta be that flexibility’s gotta be built in where the pay’s gotta be good, the benefits gotta be good, but the time commitment to ensure that someone’s home on the weekend for the family or whatever it may be, all those factors are very, very important and I think can ultimately help grow back the trucking driver population that we’re struggling with right now.

Ben Sawicki:                 19:09               It’ll be interesting to see what we see companies doing. I’m 24, Matt you’re 24, 25.

Matt Francoeur:           19:15               23.

Ben Sawicki:                 19:16               It’s amazing how companies are gonna appeal to kind of people in our demographic to wanna drive trucks.

Eric Byer:                      19:24               Exactly right.

Ben Sawicki:                 19:26               Moving on a little bit too, obviously a couple big daunting projects and tasks in front of you between the tariffs and the trucks. What are you guys seeing in the industry on a more positive note, I know you mentioned the economy’s doing well and many of your member companies are doing pretty well at this time. What are some positive trends you guys are seeing and working on and spending your time on?

Eric Byer:                      19:46               The economy obviously is doing great relatively speaking for most. When I go to our meetings, I go to the northeast part or the south or the west, whatever it may be and pretty steady across the board the economy is stronger, I think tax reform has served a good purpose for a lot of our folks. I think regulatory reform, while it’s not something as an issue that’s passed on Capital Hill, it’s something that has been done by this administration very effectively. There used to be with President Obama’s administration a lot of rules, but also guidance documents that would pop up on a daily basis that you would have to sit there and look at as to what the impact’s gonna be on your company. That has been curtailed significantly over the last 24 months.

Eric Byer:                      20:29               That has been a huge thing for our members too is … Not that anybody’s shirking their responsibilities with safety and security, but we have a 27, 28 page regulatory checklist for our members. Our members comply with plenty of rules, justifiable, some probably not. I think it’s one of those things where they’re actually able now to focus more on how do I grow the business while still doing it safely and securely while providing more jobs, more revenue to local community and that kind of stuff. I think reg reform has been a good thing for the entire industry and not just even the chemical industry, other industries as well that it allows companies to sit there and small business in particular, to do what they’re good at, which is go out there and provide for the local community, provide for the company and grow. I think reg reform’s been a big thing as well.

Eric Byer:                      21:15               I think the other thing here to consider is taxes are good, reg reform’s good. I think the fact that we are seeing while there’s been a lot of consolidation, there’s also been a lot of good creativity from our industry, new ways to go out there and diversify their product portfolios. I said earlier they’re trying find new ways to reinvent who they are and what they can do. That’s been something I’ve seen some pretty cool ideas out there, whether it’s through technology, whether it’s through partnerships with other companies, whether it’s working with … Distributors working with distributors to team up on a product offering for distribution, whatever it may be. I think there’s a lot of cool creativity that’s out there right now and it’s really … I’m excited to see how things unfold over the next five or 10 years. As we look at things like e-commerce and Alibaba and Amazon and folks like that, that’s something our industry has always been kinda lukewarm to get really hot and heavy into. But I think now as the climate changes, there’s some exciting opportunities where I think our members are looking more at e-commerce as something that can help grow their business. While it could be a struggle for some, I think there’s opportunity for others. I think all those factors are really good things that our industry are gonna do well in to help grow their business moving forward.

Ben Sawicki:                 22:26               I would agree with a lot of that absolutely. I’ve started with TCC more on the marketing side and now pivoting more into a bit of a sales role. But the last year and a half kind of keeping an eye on what TCC’s doing for marketing and trying to see what other companies are doing as well. It definitely kind of lags behind in terms of the e-commerce and the creativity and the technology and things that people are doing, but I think it’s inevitable that it’s gonna go there. I agree it’ll be definitely interesting to see in the next two, three years what companies do with technology with e-commerce, with making sure they’re on mobile and executing all these different platforms. I definitely agree with that.

Eric Byer:                      23:02               Yup.

Ben Sawicki:                 23:02               I guess wrapping things up Matt, any other questions or thoughts for Eric?

Matt Francoeur:           23:07               No, not so much at this point.

Ben Sawicki:                 23:08               I know you’ve used the NACD resources a lot over the last couple months, so I’m sure you’re appreciative of all that stuff being put out.

Matt Francoeur:           23:15               Yeah, big time. I remember Carrie forwarded me the first email that the NACD listed their resource webpages and that was by far and large the best resource that I was able to find.

Eric Byer:                      23:28               We appreciate it. One of the things I think we do really well around here is trying to provide people educational tools. We got a good team with Jennifer Gibson and been kinda a point person on our trade stuff, they’ve done a great job. We’ve got in person workshop that we have coming up at the end of this month in Kansas City that focuses … It’s gonna focus a lot on trade. We also have webinars and a lot of other tools in that resource page that you’re talking about. If anybody has questions or anything like that, NACD dot com is a good place to start and happy to take it from there for those folks that need some answers to a lot of the pressing issues.

Ben Sawicki:                 23:58               I was gonna kinda pivot into my kinda final thought as maybe you wanted to mention ways companies can get involved with NACD, some of the public events that you guys do as well as some member only events and member only resources you guys have, just ways companies can get involved and stay involved with the NACD.

Eric Byer:                      24:18               The two biggest things that we have is we’ve got a fairly robust event structure. We have our annual meeting coming up in a few weeks in Carlsbad, California and that’s the cream of the crop for our industry where we get 700 people or so to come in and talk a lot about policy and business issues and economic issues, whatever it may be. That’s a good thing, that’s a member only event, but it’s something that a lot of our folks value greatly.

Eric Byer:                      24:42               I think the advocacy side too is where we have a very active base. I always say you can put all your time and effort into something and you get something out of it because you try hard. I think a lot of our members really care about the issues they’re being confronted with, whether it’s tax related, regulatory, trade, security, whatever it may be. We have a pretty robust opportunity to go out there and change things on Capital Hill. In person meetings with the staff level, but also our grassroots apparatus is something where a lot of our members take an active role in things. They come into DC for our fly in in the spring where we were able to change things. It’s really helpful to see such an interest in what we do. For those that are interested, our guys, it’s a good group of folks that go out there and work hard because they recognize the better the industry is, the better their companies are gonna be. Whether it’s through our events or advocacy, events or training tools as we talked about from a regulatory compliance side, but also with our responsible distribution program. Lots of good things that are out there and always encourage people to check it out if they don’t believe us and go on NACD dot com and we can certainly answer questions they may have moving forward.

Ben Sawicki:                 25:50               I know TCC can definitely vouch for all those events and all those resources you guys have. I know Nick and Rob have been involved for a long time and Ray Altenberger with TCC has been involved for a long time as well with the events and regional meetings and things like that. I know we can definitely vouch for all the efforts you guys make to better the industry and be a resource, it’s been fantastic.

Eric Byer:                      26:11               We all think you’re only as good as your member and you guys have been great supporters, we appreciate that. Ray’s been a very active member obviously in our committee structure and with the association for awhile. We appreciate your support and as I said, it’s one of those things where we’re blessed to have members that care. Because they care so much, we work really hard for them to provide them a good opportunity both networking, but also on all the other member services that we have to continue to grow. We continue to grow as an association, which is great. The more we grow the more opportunity we have to provide things to our members.

Ben Sawicki:                 26:41               Sure. Absolutely. I think that’s a good way to wrap things up. Any final thoughts you wanted to get out there Eric or any other updates?

Eric Byer:                      26:49               No, I think that’s about it. A lot going on, appreciate the opportunity. Encourage people to stay engaged, that’s the one thing is you gotta know what’s going on, especially whether it’s trade or security or safety, you gotta know what’s out there to make sure you can prepare from a regulatory perspective, but also any impact of the things coming down legislatively. So always be aware of what’s going on. I think that’s one of the things we do at NACD really well and I encourage folks that are not members of the trade group for their industry to look at it because they have a lot of different educational tools that really help folks say I know how to comply now with something that I didn’t realize beforehand and that’s important for our company to grow.

Ben Sawicki:                 27:25               That’s a good way to put it. I think we’ve seen that too, we have some customers that just wanna know the baseline what’s happening and we have some customers that wanna get very, very detailed and wanna know all the specifics and constant updates. Whichever bucket you seem to fall in, there’s definitely good resources for either type of company.

Eric Byer:                      27:40               Absolutely.

Ben Sawicki:                 27:41               Alright Eric, we appreciate the time this morning. Matt, thank you as well. Great to sit down and chat with you for awhile and hopefully we can have you on another episode some time soon.

Eric Byer:                      27:50               Absolutely, thanks for the time guys. Appreciate it.

Ben Sawicki:                 27:52               Thanks Eric.