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NACD Press Release

Arlington, VA
July 9, 2021

Aileen Smith

NACD Releases New Data on Severity of Ocean Shipping Crisis

Results highlight need for market-based solutions to competition

Arlington, VA – Today, the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) released new data on the severity of the maritime shipping crisis facing NACD members and shippers throughout the U.S. The June 2021 survey, which follows similar research from March, shows that delays and costs associated with shipping have continued to rise dramatically over the last three months.

“This data is worse than we could have ever imagined and should concern every stakeholder in the U.S. supply chain,” said NACD President and CEO Eric R. Byer. “The state of shipping as it sits currently is not sustainable. Costs to consumers are already rising, and soon businesses will be forced to close their doors – if they have not already. Increased competition in ocean shipping and greater oversight and enforcement of rate increases are vital to remedying the situation. We welcome the Biden’s Administration’s focus on this critical issue and hope it will spur the Surface Transportation Board and the Federal Maritime Commission to enforce against excessive rates that we are currently seeing at historic levels.”

As previously reported, chemical inventories have been falling, with 84.5 percent of companies nationwide now reporting being out of stock of at least some imported products, up from 46.6 percent in March. An additional 7.1 percent of surveyed members reported being close to running out of stock, meaning nearly 92 percent will soon be suffering from shortages. With the increased demand for shipping as the holiday season approaches, these shortages are likely to get worse before the year ends.

Delays in shipping have also continued to worsen, with 82.1 percent of respondents reporting average delays of more than 11 days, and the longest reported delay being in excess of 180 days. The average length of the longest delay that respondents had experienced was nearly 61.5 days, 15 days longer than in March. Half of the companies now report delays greater than two months.

Despite the decline in reliability, the cost of shipping continues to rise. Previously, 55 percent of respondents reported being charged additional premiums by carriers beyond tariffs and contract rates. Now a whopping 61 of the 84 respondents, or 72.6 percent, report paying these premiums.

The survey was administered by John Dunham & Associates in June 2021. 84 responses were collected, meaning that the survey is significant within a range of +/-9.0 percent. A memorandum detailing the full results of the survey can be found HERE.


NACD and its over 400 member and Affiliate companies are vital to the chemical supply chain providing products to over 750,000 end users. NACD members are leaders in health, safety, security, and environmental performance through implementation of Responsible Distribution, established in 1991 as a condition of membership and a third-party-verified management practice. NACD was established in 1971 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For more information on NACD and how the association is Celebrating 50 Years, visit