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Concerns over shipping costs and uncertainties

Concerns over shipping costs and uncertainties
Chemical distributors rely on global transport networks to be able to deliver the chemicals efficiently, safely, and timely. However, their ability to do so is under significant pressure from excessive freight costs. Container freight rates have risen sharply the past months, reaching historical highs. Moreover, the past year has introduced several new supply chain uncertainties which has been caused by a combination of factors and was exacerbated by Covid-19. Chemical distributors require affordable, efficient, and predictable international transportation networks. Building on UNCTD analysis, ICTA has several requests for policymakers around the world to reduce the current issues and prevent similar situations in the future. Here you can read our article on this subject.
 

 
ICTA stresses importance of preventing diversion in chemical supply chains

ICTA stresses importance of preventing diversion in chemical supply chains

The G7 Global Partnership has revised its strategic vision to focus more on chemical weapons, a global culture of chemical security, capacity building and working with industry to raise awareness. In his role as chair of the Chemical Security Working Group, the representative of the Department of Homeland Security stressed the need to engage industry effectively. At that moment, however, ICTA was the only chemical industry representative in the room. It was noted that evidence shows Syria exploited weak links in international supply chains to source substances for their chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction program.

During the meetings the OPCW advised that their program and budget for 2019 had been approved. OPCW is recruiting for ten new posts to support the new work plan. There is broad support for OPCW’s work on verification, national implementation and terrorism, but some political divisions remain as key questions. There was for instance a perception that some members of OPCW sought to block effective OPCW action in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and UK (Salisbury). Verification planning in Syria is ongoing, but the planned work budget currently has a €800k shortfall. OPCW is also looking to fund cyber security, business continuity and physical infrastructure.

The EU gave a presentation stating that CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) threats are real. Internet terrorist propaganda and handbooks are spreading quickly, despite counter efforts. The attack in Salisbury was an eye opener at EU level. It has triggered actions to strengthen resilience to attacks with chemical weapons. The EU has therefore launched a CBRN Centre of Excellence initiative with €156m funding to build capacity. The EU is also developing a common list of threat chemicals, which it has almost finalized and is based primarily on the USA CBRN list. The EU’s next steps is to intensify dialogue with private actors in the precursor supply chain. The EU also wants to improve detection technology and first response capabilities.

On behalf of ICTA, Peter Newport welcomed the redevelopment of an EU list of threat chemicals. He pointed out that the existing list is based on risk perception, not science. He expressed the importance of taking a scientific approach when composing the new list and the importance of sharing the new list with industry. Without information sharing, there can be no effective control of listed substances. It became clear that the EU still concentrates on post supply chain diversion detection technologies, instead of on preventing the diversion in the first place. Meetings have been held with detector technology and equipment vendors, but not yet with chemical vendors. ICTA has expressed its firm belief that the focus should be on preventing diversion.

ICTA will continue to be involved with chemical security in 2019. Chemical security events in Bangladesh and Brussels (for EU & Turkey) took place and are expected to take place in March respectively.

The official report can be found here.