This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)
DB Schenker’s contract logistics facility in Brazil caters to a large chemical producer that requires extremely high levels of employee and product safety.
When employees arrive at DB Schenker Brazil’s contract warehousing facility every morning, they put on personal protective equipment (PPE) and uniforms that have been cleaned and are ready to use in an environment that contains a high volume of hazardous materials.
Before those employees hit the warehouse floor, they gather for a meeting. There, they discuss any potential issues, talk to safety supervisors about the plans for the day, and then work collectively to mitigate any potential risks.
Paulo Barreto, Manager of Contract Logistics and Supply Chain Management for DB Schenker Brazil, says this daily safety routine is a critical part of the company’s operations, which are largely focused on providing logistics and warehousing support for one large Swiss manufacturer of flavors and fragrances.
“Another point that we take under consideration are our forklift operators,” says Barreto, “knowing even the slightest vehicle accident where chemical products are involved can quickly become a major issue.” To keep those accidents to a minimum, DB Schenker provides extensive training to forklift drivers, each of whom must understand the parameters for the overall operations, the safety rules, and the basic operational guidelines for the forklifts.
“We also have regulations about PPE, personal protective equipment, and the clothes that every employee wears while onsite, that are changed daily to be washed by our 3PL supplier,” says Barreto, noting that the company’s stock of PPE is controlled day and night, and checked regularly to ensure that its quality is maintained. “Then, we make changes as needed.”
Those changes are often needed when DB Schenker takes on a new role or responsibility for the chemical customer, or when it starts a new activity or task. “Our employees get continual training to make sure everyone is on the same page and operating safely,” says Barreto, whose team is always walking around conducting inspections, reducing any risks, and ensuring very high levels of safety. “We never start the operation before analyzing the entire warehouse environment.”
Brazil’s Growing Chemical Sector
The ninth-largest economy in the world, Brazil has the eighth-largest chemical industry worldwide. That industry has grown substantially as Brazil’s economy has increased in global stature. “Brazil is a natural destination for the world’s chemical industry because it is rich in oil, gas, minerals, and rare earths and has much biodiversity,” Abiquim’s Marcos de Marchi told Global Business Reports.
With annual net sales from domestic production of US $113.5 billion, the chemical industry is the third-largest industrial sector in Brazil’s economy, representing 10% of overall industrial gross domestic product (GDP). It also supports 2 million jobs in terms of the whole chemical value chain and 400,000 direct jobs, the publication reports.
DB Schenker plays an important role in helping these companies manage their contract logistics and the transportation of their products to and from—and within—Brazil. It’s built a contract logistics facility that other providers are using as a model for good, safe chemical distribution in the country. Later this year, Barreto says DB Schenker will begin managing a new project, working in-house for another chemical company that needs its logistics support.
“It’ll be similar to the setup that we already have here,” says Barreto. “A lot of potential chemical customers have come to visit us here at our facility, looking to emulate our success and safety record here. Going forward, we’ll definitely have the chance to work on a lot of new projects in this sector in Brazil.”