Transportation and Storage

Our regulations and measures for transportation and warehouse safety cover the delivery of raw materials, the storage and distribution of chemical products among BASF sites and customers, and the transportation of waste from our sites to the disposal facilities.

The graphic depicts the different stations along the value chain. The topics in each chapter address the station shown in light blue. (here: Suppliers, BASF, customers) (graphic)


  • Risk minimization along the entire transportation chain

We want our products to be safely loaded, transported, handled and stored. This is why we depend on reliable logistics partners, global standards and an effective organization. Our goal is to minimize risks along the entire transportation chain – from loading and transportation to unloading. Some of our guidelines for the transportation of dangerous goods go above and beyond national and international dangerous goods requirements. We have defined global guidelines and requirements for the storage of our products and regularly monitor compliance with these through audits and assessments.

Accident prevention and emergency response

  • Risk assessments for transportation and storage

We regularly assess the safety and environmental risks of transporting and storing raw materials and sales products with high hazard potential using our global requirement. This is based on the Guidance on Safety Risk Assessment for Chemical Transport Operations published by the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC). We also have binding global standards for load safety.

We stipulate worldwide requirements for our logistics service providers and assess them in terms of safety and quality. Our experts use our own evaluation and monitoring tools as well as internationally approved schemes such as the ship inspection reports issued by the Chemical Distribution Institute (CDI) and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF).

Transportation incidents

We are systematically implementing our measures to improve transportation safety. We report in particular on goods spillages that could lead to significant environmental impacts such as dangerous goods leaks of BASF products in excess of 200 kilograms on public traffic routes, provided BASF arranged the transport.

We recorded two incidents in 2020 with spillage of more than 200 kilograms of dangerous goods1 (2019: 3). None of these transportation incidents had a significant impact on the environment (2019: 0).

Securing raw materials supply via the Rhine River

At the Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, around 50% of incoming volumes are transported to the site by ship under normal conditions. In recent years, hot and dry summers often led to extended low water levels on the Rhine River, temporarily impacting logistics. We are implementing various measures to make the site more resilient to extended low water events in particular. These include a digital early warning system for low water, which was introduced in 2020. This makes it possible to forecast water level trends up to six weeks in advance, which significantly simplifies planning for raw materials supply and alternative transportation routes. We are also working with the German Federal Institute for Hydrology to improve water level forecasts. In addition, we chartered more ships that can navigate low water levels and invested in making loading stations more flexible. Together with partners, we are also developing our own type of ship designed for extreme low-water situations, which should start operation in late 2022. We support the hydraulic engineering measures proposed by the German Federal Ministry of Transport’s “Low water on the Rhine” action plan, in particular optimizing fairways on the Middle Rhine to improve long-term shipping conditions on the Rhine. We recorded no extended low water events that significantly restricted our logistics in 2020.

Activities in external networks

We are actively involved in external networks, which quickly provide information and assistance in emergencies. These include the International Chemical Environmental (ICE) initiative and the German Transport Accident Information and Emergency Response System (TUIS), in which BASF plays a coordinating role. In 2020, we provided assistance to public emergency response agencies and other companies in 112 cases (2019: 165). This included information on chemicals and their proper disposal, on-site operational support for transportation accidents involving hazardous goods, or information on human biomonitoring. We apply the experience we have gathered to improve our own processes and set up similar systems in other countries.

1 Hazardous goods are classified in accordance with national and international hazardous goods regulations.