North American HazMat Update

The Outlook:

Economic growth, especially in the chemical sector is expected to continue. Some experts even predict the US chemical market to out-pace GDP growth through 2021. This is keeping capacity tight and will further intensify the current crunch for the foreseeable future in the bulk industry. As tight as the bulk sector is at the moment, organizations moving HAZMAT cargo are finding it particularly difficult to move their loads.

Chemical Market Key Facts:

  • Roughly 1.4M HAZMAT shipments are made daily
  • The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reports 54% of US chemical shipments are made by truck
  • ACC predicts capital spending in the chemical industry will increase 65% by 2020 compared to 2014 levels (~$179B)
  • A direct result of the shale gas boom, 294 new chemical projects are pulling drivers from the existing bulk-liquid HAZMAT pool
  • Turnover rate at carriers with revenue of $30M or more is at 94% (American Trucking Associations)
  • The shortage of drivers continues to widen, with the ATA estimating the market needing to add roughly 89,000 new drivers annually to meet demand


The following recommendations will help HAZMAT shippers and carriers remain informed and proactive as the situation continues to develop.

  • Monitor New Regulations: Compliance in the HAZMAT field is imperative, but ever-changing regulations are challenging to keep up with. The links below are specifically tailored for shippers to stay in the compliance loop.
    • FMCSA Regulations: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains an evolving document, “ How to Comply with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations ”, which is also connected to the primary FMCSA HAZMAT regulations database .
    • EPA Regulations:
      The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a database of regulations and compliance information at their hazardous waste page. They will release information pertaining to regulatory changes for HAZMAT compliance as they develop.
      • As of 6/30, the EPA’s Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System is live. Information pertaining to compliance can be found here.
  • Consider Alternative Transport Options: With capacity in the bulk-liquid sector operating at-or-near 100%, utilizing other transport modes could provide the competitive advantage needed to thrive in the current market.
    • Odyssey operates a vast fleet of HAZMAT-ready bulk-liquid ISO tanks as an alternative to standard bulk-tank truck.
      • Odyssey ISO tanks can be transported by truck or by intermodal rail, providing customers an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective solution to standard transport.

Contact an Odyssey Expert: