When a customer orders a chemical from a chemical company, a series of events are triggered leading to the shipment. Every company has a unique business system for order fulfillment. Variable as the details may be though, certain aspects are shared by all companies.

There are special considerations for chemical goods that other manufactured items may not have. Chemicals must be packaged and shipped according to the nature of the material and to certain types of hazards that are present. The type of packaging is not just governed by good sense, but also by transport regulations.

Some substances are covered under regulations meant to control illicit drug manufacture or distribution. Diethyl ether, iodine, phosphorus, phenylmagnesium halide, phenylacetone, ephedrine, acetic anhydride, and many more seemingly ordinary chemical products are constantly under watch by authorities from behind the curtains.

Some substances may be used for explosives and munitions manufacture or use and prospective customers are screened accordingly. Other substances have been identified by the authorities as substances of interest. Phosphorus trichloride is one that comes to mind. Zirconium and titanium powders and components are subject to limitation also.

The kinds of regulatory constraints depend upon the compound of interest and whether or not it is an item for export or import. Import and export controls are in place for many reasons. The control of dangerous goods or illegal substances is an obvious goal. But the act of goods crossing the border is an opportunity for governments to temper the effects of international competition on behalf of homeland businesses through the imposition of duties.

International or domestic shipping of chemicals is rife with complications owing to the potential hazards of the cargo. Chemicals are classified according to their hazard and certain hazard classifications are barred from air transport or constrained to maximum package quantities. What is not transportable by air is usually fine for surface or ocean shipping, but these modes have their limitations as well. Fortunately, the regulations are internationally harmonized for the most part.

Woe is he whose container of hazardous goods is damaged or leaks at a foreign port of entry. Such an event may trigger remedies by the local authorities that will not only be very expensive, but will block the delivery of the material for a long time. This is why a smart manufacturer ships FOB -Free on Board. Once the order is on the truck and rolling off your mfg site, it is the responsibility of the customer thereafter.

For ocean shipments, the captain of the vessel has the final say as to what goes on the boat. Accordingly, your shipping container full of metal alkyls (Dangerous When Wet) will get loaded only at the pleasure of the skipper. It is not unheard of for the boat to sail without such cargos. More likely than not your container will get on the boat, but it will be placed at the top of a stack along side the railing. If there is a leak, over it goes.

A company that practices just-in-time inventory control with hazardous goods that come or go by boat must be prepared for delays and long transit times relative to air transport. It is always best to work with a logistics company that specializes in intermodal international shipments.