U.S. specialty chemicals shipments by type 1990-2018

This statistic shows the value of specialty chemical shipments in the United States from 1990 to 2018, broken down by type. In 2018, the value of coatings shipments stood at around 32 billion U.S. dollars.

Specialty chemicals shipments

In 2017, the value of chemical coating substances shipments totaled 32.03 billion U.S. dollars, while other specialty chemical shipments totaled 61.08 billion U.S. dollars. Specialty chemicals include substances such as adhesives, cosmetic additives, fragrances, polymers, and surfactants. These materials are often sold based on their function or performance. The value of U.S. specialty chemical shipments totaled 93.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.

DowDuPont of the U.S. and BASF of Germany are considered some of the world’s leading chemical companies based on revenue, generating 84.12 billion U.S. dollars and 69.59 billion U.S. dollars, respectively, in 2019. Specialty chemicals require constant innovation and knowledge to be successful. Due to the spread of technological advancements and rapid economic growth, the specialty chemical sector has began to shift towards the Middle East and Asia. China may no longer be considered a low-cost producer and the country has started to shift towards meeting domestic demands for higher value products.

There are always environmental and human health concerns in regards to the shipping of chemicals and many governments have established guidelines and international conventions on how to properly transport and store chemicals. As of 2017, about 13 percent of industrial waste that was disposed on-site and on land in the U.S. was through the chemical industry.

Value of United States specialty chemicals shipments from 1990 to 2018, by type

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Release date



United States

Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

According to the American Chemistry Council the chemical industry includes: pharmaceuticals, basic chemicals, specialty chemicals, agriculture chemicals, and consumer products. The term "shipments" is equivalent to "value of output".

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