Braskem began implementing its strategic plan for logistics in August 2002 with a view to increasing efficiency, safety and security, while lowering costs. Two and a half years later, the company has established a model that makes it a benchmark for the sector by reducing its dependency on road transportation and dramatically reducing insurance costs. As of 2005, it will also ensure a better quality of life and more safety and security for truckers and shipping companies.
Braskem used to transport nearly 90% of its shipments to distributors and clients overland by road. The company did not maintain long-term contracts with shipping companies, and at the end of each month it faced the problem of a shortage of vehicles for its deliveries.
Today, the company uses rail transportation to ship 4,000 tonnes (metric tons) per month from Camaçari, Bahia, to Paulínia, São Paulo, and up to the same monthly amount from Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, to Tatuí, São Paulo. It has also established a coastal shipping route between the Brazilian seaports of Maceió, Santos (São Paulo) and São Francisco do Sul (Santa Catarina), involving two to three ships per month each carrying 100 to 150 containers with a total weight of approximately 7,500 tonnes. Another maritime route is being planned to link the ports of Salvador (Bahia), Santos and Rio Grande (Rio Grande do Sul).
As a result, Braskem has reduced the use of trucks to 80% of its total shipments, as well as introducing new processes in all modes of transportation. A partnership with América Latina Logística (ALL), a logistics firm, ensures that the company’s products will be transported by rail from Triunfo to the distribution center in Tatuí and an exportation route leading to the port of Rio Grande. FSA – Ferrovias Sul Atlântico is the company responsible for transporting Braskem products from the port of Aratu, near the Camaçari Petrochemical Complex, to Paulínia, São Paulo.
According to Isabel Figueiredo, the Braskem officer responsible for Supplies and Logistics, the aim of the strategic plan for this sector is increasing security, safety and efficiency when transporting products, while reducing risks and costs. “We are introducing new modes of cargo shipment, and have reduced the number of shipping companies we work with from thirty to twelve. We have also established long-term contracts with these firms, with a clause stipulating that a fine will be charged for late deliveries. Furthermore, we have increased bulk sales thanks to partnerships with the shipping companies, which are installing storage facilities at the clients’ cargo receiving areas.”
In early November, Braskem signed a long-term contract with Docenave to improve coastal shipping and established a new partnership with ALL and Ultracargo through which Ultracargo, an Ultra Group subsidiary, is building warehouses and winning contracts to store and distribute products to the company’s clients in the São Paulo region.
Ultracargo’s storage facility at the ALL terminal in Tatuí is considered a model for intermodal operations. Cargo is unloaded from the train and either stored in a transshipment warehouse or loaded directly onto trucks for delivery to clients in the São Paulo region. “Braskem has no interest in investing in logistics assets, and this policy makes it easier to form partnerships,” explains Isabel Figueiredo.
The company’s logistics strategy pays special attention to road transportation. In addition to reducing the number of service providers, Braskem has included all the trucking companies it works with in Pamcary’s monitoring system, which makes it possible to keep track of each truck from the time it leaves a Braskem facility until the cargo reaches its final destination (see box). The results are clearly very positive: there were 12 truck robberies in August 2002, but by 2004 the average had dropped to two or three such incidents per year – an 80% decrease. As a result, the company’s insurance costs went down 60% over the course of the last year.
How Braskem ships its products
Until 2003, the main objective of the road transportation improvement program was preventing cargo robberies. Now that this goal has been met thanks to the monitoring system, 2005 will be accident prevention year. In addition to organizing the Road Accident Prevention Forum established three months ago by Braskem, OCS, the Odebrecht Group’s captive insurance company, and Pamcary, and requiring all trucking companies hired to carry Braskem products to undergo inspections by the Brazilian Association for the Chemicals Industry (ABIQUIM) Health, Safety, Environment and Quality System, Braskem is also creating Logistics Centers (LOGICs) to provide special receiving and service facilities for truck drivers.
Set up at the three petrochemical complexes where Braskem owns production units, LOGICs are being equipped with sanitary infrastructure, accommodations, a lounge for workers and their families, a barbershop and health services, areas for information, intelligence, management and security services, as well as equipment used to train truck drivers and raise their awareness. This initiative resulted from a partnership between Braskem and BR Distribuidora, Pamcary and Ballylog Logística, the trucking firm responsible for investing in the infrastructure.
The LOGICs will be used to carry out a highly intensive training program that will begin when Pamcary and Braskem have finalized agreements currently being negotiated with with local universities. Truckers will also receive advice and assistance from physiotherapists and other specialists, learn to foresee risks, prevent accidents and how to act in emergencies, as well as learning the basics on how to relate to others.
Despite the poor condition of most Brazilian roads, Isabel Figueiredo underscores that it is possible to make major improvements in the truck drivers’ safety and the efficiency of this mode of transportation, thanks to preventive measures like those being taken by Braskem. Through an agreement established between Pamcary and the Centro Universitário Capital – Unicapital, senior physiotherapy students at that university will teach drivers the basics about posture and relaxation as part of a program that aims to bring about an 85% reduction in road accidents by 2006.
The performance of each trucking company undergoes monthly follow-ups, including an analysis of the number and seriousness of accidents, and the company’s observance of legal standards for transporting chemical products, the sector’s requirements and the desirable requisites of quality.
In the area of maritime transportation, coastal shipping of liquids and gases is also undergoing a sea change through the establishment of long-term contracts between Braskem and shipping firms to adapt their services to the petrochemical company’s safety standards. Danielle Senatore, who is on Braskem’s Supplies and Logistics team and also a member of ABIQUIM’s Transportation Commission, has formed a team of internal auditors and paid visits to maritime terminals to check out their storage conditions and procedures for loading and unloading products. As one of the seven Brazilian inspectors certified by the Chemical Distribution Institute (CDI), Danielle is working to ensure that all of the terminals that Braskem uses have been inspected and certified by the end of 2005.
According to Isabel Figueiredo, the last few months have seen constant changes and important achievements. In her view, the year 2005 is a challenge to be surmounted, and the reward will not only be higher efficiency and lower logistics costs, but primarily the prevention of accidents affecting the large number of people involved in cargo transportation while protecting the environment with which the company’s products interact.