Challenges Facing The Chemical Industry

01/06/2023 by Christine Morris

Challenges Facing The Chemical Industry

The chemical industry faces challenges such as volatile raw material prices, shortages, supply chain disruption, and more.

The chemicals industry is one of the most important sectors, with 96 percent of all manufactured goods depending on them. With many moving parts and various stakeholders involved in the chemical supply chain, there are several challenges this industry faces. Here are some of the biggest challenges affecting the chemical industry.


  • Managing Raw Materials
  • Transportation Disruptions
  • Regulations
  • Large Amounts of Data
  • Complex Supply Chains
  • Lack of Visibility
  • Climate Change Pressure


The chemical industry, specifically chemical manufacturing, relies heavily on raw materials. Raw material prices, such as those for crude oil, are volatile and can fluctuate at any given time. This can make it difficult to forecast costs and budget and, keep prices competitive.

Keeping an adequate supply of these materials can be an additional challenge. Having too much inventory can potentially lead to chemical waste or spoilage while too little can make it difficult to meet customer demand.


Chemical industry supply chains can be long and complex. They have many moving parts, making the transportation of chemical products a challenge. If you add in transportation disruptions, it makes it even more problematic.

While transportation disruptions usually occur at some point, in recent years, there’s been a lot of supply chain disruption caused by the onset of Covid-19.

According to a survey by the American Chemistry Council, 97 percent of companies reported having to change to their operations due to supply chain issues in recent years. Because of this, the chemical industry must stay on the tip of its toes and be able to adapt quickly whenever disruption may happen.

Also, global supply chains see the most impact from transportation disruptions. The chemical industry has more global supply chains than other industries, making this challenge more difficult.


Chemical products are often specialized and need specific storage and handling. In addition, they face strict regulations on the transport of their products, especially hazardous materials. These regulations are necessary to have in place to protect the environment and people.

In recent years, several high-profile incidents have involved the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment. This has caused governments to introduce more strict regulations. As a result, this has increased the costs for chemical companies to operate. It’s been estimated that chemical companies will have to spend more than $300 billion over the next few years to meet regulations.

The chemical industry must be more vigilant than ever to remain compliant. These increased regulations put more pressure on chemical companies already trying to meet global standards.

The chemical industry has to work with many different regulations and agencies, such as;


The chemical industry handles a lot of data. All manufacturing and operational data must be recorded, categorized, and processed. It’s estimated that chemical companies handle up to;

  • 50,000 data points per raw material,
  • 100 samples per test,
  • 10,000 pieces of equipment per plant,
  • 150 data points per customer!

This massive amount of data can be a challenge, especially with supply chain management.


The chemical industry is a complex one. It can include various kinds of chemical processes with products in all forms, from raw to intermediate, to finished goods. There are also many stakeholders involved, from chemical manufacturers to distributors.

Additionally, chemical products are often required to have very specific characteristics with little to no room for variations. Chemical companies also handle more complex items, like hazmat or temperature-controlled. Chemical supply chains are often worldwide, making them much more complex than other industries.


Due to its complexity, lack of visibility can be a challenge for chemical supply chains. It can be difficult for chemical suppliers to know their inventory levels or how products are being used. Therefore, it’s important for chemical companies to have an accurate picture of their inventory and supply chain. Improved visibility can provide insight into opportunities to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.


The chemical industry is one of the top contributors to global carbon emissions. As the world becomes more concerned about climate change and sustainability, there’s more pressure added onto chemical companies that already face strict regulations.

There’s also a growing demand from consumers for more green and ethical products. For example, many companies are having to find alternative solutions for plastic or use recycled materials.

To keep up with the ever-changing market and demand, chemical companies need to change their processes. They must find ways to create less waste and more products that help reduce their environmental impact.

Also, as the planet warms, more severe weather is taking place. This is causing more disruptions to chemical industry processes. Whether causing a halt in transportation or a shortage of oil, climate change presents several challenges for the chemical industry.


The chemical industry can be a tough market to compete in. To overcome these challenges, chemical companies need to remain resilient and competitive. As the world and market continue to change, they need to be able to adapt.

Finding like-minded, expert partners with applicable technology is ideal to overcome these challenges. A third-party logistics (3PL) company, like Trinity Logistics, is one such resource.

Trinity Logistics has been in business for over 40 years and has worked with chemical companies of all sizes. Trinity is a trusted partner to help chemical companies better navigate their complex supply chains. We’re well-versed in the chemical industry and can help find a quality carrier for your shipment or offer improved visibility through our customized technology solutions.

When choosing to work with Trinity, our Team Member experts keep you up to date on industry news, upcoming regulation changes, or any other relevant information your business needs to stay successful.

Additionally, we’re a Responsible Care certified partner, meaning we’re committed to providing you with the best service for your logistics and transportation management while staying committed to sustainability practices.

At Trinity Logistics, we’re not your typical 3PL. We’re invested in your business and are here to help your business succeed. If you’re looking for a like-minded logistics partner to help you overcome some of your industry’s challenges, we’re here and ready to help.