Assured Confidence

SQAS - Transporting Dangerous Chemicals

About SQAS

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.
In the early 1990s, Cefic launched the International Chemical Environment Programme (ICE). This was a joint project by European chemical companies to improve safety during the transportation, handling and storage of chemicals.
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.

Find out more

To get more information about NSAI’s SQAS services, fill in our online enquiry form
RH Rev. 1.0
News & Events

Minister Breen appoints James Kennedy as Chairperson to the Board of NSAI

The Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D., today announced the appointment of Mr James Kennedy as Chairperson to the Board of the NSAI.


Public Consultation on I.S. 820 Non-domestic Gas Installations

The National Standards Authority of Ireland wishes to announce the launch of a period of public enquiry  on I.S Non-Domestic Gas Installations.

NSAI Tweets
NSAI Media Channel