Case Study

How Fluechem Delivered Caustic Soda 50% Safely and Efficiently Under Transport Constraints

Fluechem were approached by a major cruise line to deliver Caustic Soda 50% for vessels using scrubbers to reduce SOx exhaust gas emissions and that were calling into UK ports. The operator was encountering a variety of difficulties relating to the receipt of Caustic Soda 50% due to chemical transfer restrictions combined with driver shortage issues and it was becoming quickly evident that a robust solution was required to ensure compliance and efficiency.

The Challenge

Having discussed the challenges being presented to the ship owner Fluechem took into account the various requirements around safe working practices for the delivery Caustic Soda 50% since it is classified as a hazardous substance. Also the fact they were dealing with cruise vessels offered additional risks associated with the movement of large numbers of passengers and crew in the vicinity of the operation.

Prior to the operation commencing and in line with Fluechem procedures, all of the key personnel had a kick-off meeting and identified that one of the key measures for Health and Safety was to ensure that personnel not essential to the transfer operation were kept at a safe distance from the hazards.

The Solution

The Fluechem team worked with local port authorities and the vessel owner to complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, in compliance with all the stakeholders’ safety management systems. This allowed an agreed HSE plan to be developed, which not only focused on the hazardous nature of the Caustic Soda 50% but also focused on passenger and crew personal safety issues.

The team took the lead and focused on simple effective measures to identify the hazards and installed a clear barriered off exclusion zone around the road tanker, pumps and hoses to ensure that any risks of injury were reduced to as low as reasonably practical. All of the authorised and essential personnel wore high-visibility vests to ensure that they could be clearly identified by third parties.

Fluechem recognises that over and above the core industry standards, every customer also has a unique set of values in place in terms of safety and environmental stewardship as well as sensitivities for specific vessels, such as cruise ships, where the visual impact of its operations is a critical

part in delivering customer satisfaction. With this in mind the entire Fluechem team was fully briefed on each and every nuance this job presented. Effectively operating as a part of the ship’s crew we were able to seamlessly deliver the best-in-class service required.


Despite the logistical constraints created by the shortage of lorry drivers, the Fluechem team used their extensive infrastructure to deliver Caustic Soda 50% where the customer needed it, when it was required, safely and in an environmentally sensitive manner. Another example of a safe delivery on time, every time.