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Winter Readiness in Paint and Coatings Industry

December 15, 2015

The 2014/2015 winter made plenty of headlines for shipping mishaps caused by severe weather. Water-based products –like some paints, coatings, stains and inks—are particularly vulnerable. That’s because water-based products can freeze while in transit, compromising product integrity.

Businesses should be talking with their transportation company now, before winter strikes, to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Coatings World recently interviewed  Randy Swart, COO for A. Duie Pyle, an expert in transporting products in the most extreme conditions. I can coordinate an interview with an expert to talk about what companies should be asking to ensure product integrity, and what they should be doing to prepare for the winter months.

Coatings World:  What should companies be asking their shipping provider to ensure product integrity?

Swart: Providing a comprehensive Protect From Freezing less-than-truckload (LTL) service requires sustained investments in equipment, infrastructure, training and technology. Businesses that ship and/or receive water-based products will find that many freight carriers won’t transport their products during cold snaps leading to supply chain uncertainties and delays. It’s important to look for a service provider with a few key attributes to reliably protect temperature sensitive shipments including a large fleet of heated and insulated trailers, heated service centers throughout the network, pickups 5 days a week without interruption, and no embargoes due to low temperatures.

CW:   What step should paint and coatings companies be taking to prepare for the winter months?

Swart: It’s always smart to start planning before winter arrives. Cold snaps often lead to a number of supply chain disruptions including shipment delays and damaged products. Many freight companies do not have the equipment and processes needed to provide reliable freeze protection for temperature sensitive products. Savvy businesses develop year-round relationships with specialized freight carriers to make sure capacity is available when the temperature drops.  

It’s also important to keep in mind that it may not be freezing the day you ship or at the location you ship from, but in the winter weather changes quickly. Unexpected delays add unforeseen risk to all water based products in the winter.  Shipping product that can be damaged by cold temperatures in unheated trailers in the winter is a gamble. It is your company’s reputation on the line if your customer uses a defective product caused by it being frozen in transit.

CW:  What specific types of paints and coatings are the most vulnerable and what can companies do to protect their products from freezing.

Swart: Water-based paints, coatings, adhesives, lubricants, solvents, inks, and even some electronics are at risk when the temperature drops below freezing. Shipments moving through the Northeast region are especially vulnerable because of the impact of snow and ice. Partner with a freight company with a track-record of success in providing freeze protection. Ask questions ahead of time to avoid surprises. Does the carrier provide uninterrupted service regardless of temperature or day of the week? Does the carrier operate a large fleet of heated and insulated trailers instead of relying on cargo quilts or pads in unheated trailers to protect your shipments? Is the carrier able to pick-up your shipments on Fridays and safely store them in heated terminals through the weekend?

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