KAG Merchant Gas has seen a 300% increase in oxygen usage due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

KAG Merchant Gas, which transports industrial and specialty gases in the US, has been collaborating with customers and medical facilities to maintain oxygen supply during coronavirus crisis.

Source: KAG Merchant Gas

That has meant converting nitrogen trailers into oxygen service to help meet demand for oxygen driven by hospitals due to increased patient care and ventilator use in the US.

“Since the onset of Covid-19, our team of drivers, mechanics and front-line managers have been working tirelessly to ensure we’re providing all the necessary resources to meet demand. We’re extremely proud of their efforts and response to the crisis,” John Frinzi, Executive Vice-President, KAG Merchant Gas, told gasworld.

“The increase in demand was significant and disruptive, with certain markets experiencing a 300% increase in oxygen usage in a matter of weeks.

“In addition to monitoring usage, our teams were actively engaged with our drivers to assess their well-being and availability to cover various shifts. Our drivers served a critical role in completing hazardous site assessments and by reporting continuous feedback on customer stations to ensure there were no service interruptions.

“Additionally, our maintenance teams worked diligently to add trailer capacity by converting nitrogen trailers into oxygen service. It’s a definite challenge to manage through such unpredictable variables but our teams proved they were resourceful and response ready.”

Source: KAG Merchant Gas

KAG driver Tim Barnes

The Ohio-based company has a professional driver base of over 7,000 drivers operating a fleet of approximately 7,000 trucks and 11,000 specialised trailers in 300 terminal locations across North America.

KAG Merchant Gas, which is part of The Kenan Advantage Group, Inc., has managed to overcome some of the challenges presented by Covid-19, while implementing vital safety measures for its drivers.

“We had ample [driver] coverage and were able to proactively deploy qualified drivers into high oxygen demand markets ahead of time without constraint,” added Frinzi.

“I believe KAG was ahead of the response curve because we’re well organised, have a mature infrastructure, and maintain robust emergency response plans. Our teams quickly implemented refresher training for all employees which included updated CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines.

“In certain scenarios, we’ve been able to partner with customers and hospitals to secure N95 masks for our employees delivering to medical facilities. We also maintained key engagement with our customers daily and collaborated to develop best practices together.

“Above all else though, I believe it was the determination and purpose driven efforts from our collective team that enabled us to successfully respond to the Covid-19 crisis.”