Across Europe, the chemical industry relies heavily on outside logistics companies to store, handle and transport its materials.
The chemical sector needs assurance that these operations are carried out with due regard for the safety of employees, the public and the environment.
At that time, individual chemical companies had to carry out their own periodic audits of their logistics providers. Inevitably, this led to a disjointed approach, with multiple auditing programmes in place. For both the chemical industry and the transport operators, this fragmented system of checks and audits was costly and inefficient.
In response to the demand for a uniform approach that could be applied across Europe, the ICE project developed a number of standardized safety and quality assessment systems.
What SQAS does
SQAS provides a tool to assess the quality, safety and environmental management systems of logistics service providers. This in turn allows chemical companies to select suitable logistics service providers and to help shape improvement in logistical services.
Crucially, SQAS removes the need for multiple assessments by individual companies in favour of a uniform system conducted by independent assessors based on a single standard questionnaire.
Although the overall system of assessment is standardized, Cefic has developed five specific SQAS modules for the different types of providers of land-based logistics and one for chemical distributors (i.e. customers of the chemical companies).
SQAS Transport Service module
Of key importance to transport companies is the SQAS Transport Service module.
This was developed in 2006 as a ‘catch-all’ for the various types of logistics service providers involved directly or indirectly in transport operations, such as:
- Transport companies operating their own vehicles and employing their own drivers
- Logistics service providers using sub-contractors
- Land-based freight forwarders
- Logistics coordinators offering integrated but sub-contracted services
- Inland transfer terminals
- Owners of rail-tank cars and other providers of rail services.
Benefits of registration
Typically, chemical companies and their customers require assurance that their supplies are transported in accordance with industry best practice, as set out in SQAS.
An SQAS assessment by an independent body does not lead to certification and does not guarantee safety and quality.
However an SQAS report does provide a mass of useful information, which each individual chemical company then evaluates according to its own requirements.
SQAS also provides valuable feedback directly to the logistics provider, setting out the strengths and weaknesses observed during the assessment.
In addition, after the chemical company has evaluated the assessment results, its own interpretation of the data can also be fed back to the logistics provider. This in turn can help to forge a strong partnership of mutual benefit to both organizations.
Role of NSAI
NSAI is registered by Cefic to carry out SQAS inspections. Those companies which are approved are registered by NSAI on the Cefic website.
Although not compulsory, we would recommend that any transport or logistics company which intends to do business with the chemical sector arranges an SQAS inspection.
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RH Rev. 1.0