The 3 Secrets of a Successful Borate Supply Chain

:: Thursday, January 17, 2019
The world has an increasing need for clean borates (ie, free of impurities such as arsenic). Whether you make or use borate fertilizer, borosilicate glass, fiberglass insulation, borate-based wood treatments—or any of the multitude of borate-dependent products or processes—supplier reliability and a strong supply chain and support network is vital.

U.S. Borax: A Leading Global Supplier of Borates

As a leading global supplier of borates, U.S. Borax has a long history of getting our products where they need to go, on time and in excellent condition. After all, our original supply chain—the 20-mule team—is right there in our product name!

The days of transportation via mule team might be long gone, but our dedication to getting world-class borates to our customers is as strong as ever. Here’s how we do it.

Secret #1: Responsible Sourcing of Borates

Boron is a rare element, so our successful supply chain begins with responsible location and sourcing of high-quality borates. At our Boron, California operations, we prioritize safety. We conduct ongoing research into the best methods for extraction and optimal use of everything we mine.
Although our California borax mine still has many decades of production life, we work actively to locate new deposits. For example, the Jadar project in Serbia could extend our supply of borates as well as provide lithium, an important element in its own right.

Secret #2: Dependable Delivery Proves Supplier Reliability

As with any vendor relationship, it’s not what we say but what we do that matters. U.S. Borax proves our commitment to our customers by ensuring your orders are delivered reliably, as promised.
When you purchase 20 Mule Team® products, our sales team works with you to determine the right shipping and packaging option for your unique needs. The best methods of packaging, shipping, and storing borates differ depending on customer requirements, and shipping choices depend on multiple factors, including:
  • Product format
  • Amount of product needed
  • Location
  • Intended length of storage
  • Available storage facilities
We may arrange delivery directly from Boron, California or from one of our many globally dispersed warehouses and stock points. Once you’re established in our supply chain, we optimize our delivery method so that you get your product quickly and reliably. And if new options—for example, overweight containers—become available and would benefit you, we’ll notify you.
Of course, the unexpected can (and does) happen. But our customer first philosophy and robust, flexible supply chain enable us to do everything possible to keep unplanned events from affecting your shipments.
For example, when Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach (LA/LB) congestion threatened the speed of container shipments, we leveraged our ability to ship in bulk from our Wilmington, California facility—the only privately held port in the LA/LB region. By doing so, we were able to ship bulk boron products to our overseas facilities, from which we then packaged and delivered shipments, reducing the impact for our customers. Plus, we store stock in multiple warehouses around the world to further meet global supply challenges.

Secret #3: Expert Marine and Logistics Staff

The key to our outstanding reliability is the talent of our experienced global Marine and Logistics staff. As a part of Rio Tinto Group, U.S. Borax can draw on the worldwide Rio Tinto network, utilizing best practices from the company’s varied operations.
In addition to being the largest dry bulk shipping business in the world, Rio Tinto is one of the most innovative shippers. The company employs a fleet of driverless trucks, introduced fully autonomous trains in Western Australia in 2018, and is currently evaluating automated cargo ships.
Whatever your location, our global network of logistics experts are available to support and collaborate with you to optimize and improve our supply chain, introduce new ideas and options, and solve any issues that might arise.

Supply—and Service—You Can Count On

Supplier reliability is a top concern for every organization. Of course, ensuring that you receive our product when and how you need is a complicated endeavor. But with more than 150 years of experience in mining and delivering high-quality borates, we’re up to the task.




U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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