WOODBRIDGE, Ontario—The International Warehouse and Logistics Association (IWLA) has created a cross-border protocol for the warehousing of chemicals.
IWLA President and CEO Joel Anderson made the announcement about the new handling and storage procedures while speaking in Woodbridge, Ontario at the IWLA Canada Fall conference.
The Responsible Warehousing Protocol sets standards regarding best practices for third-party chemical warehouse operators. The organization’s hope is that eventually these will be approved by organizations such as the Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors, the US-based National Association of Chemical Distributors and the American Chemistry Council. If that happens, it would reduce or eliminate requests from customers for 3PLs and warehousing companies to undergo repeated, extensive and expensive audits.
“It’s an example of what can happen when we don’t let borders get in our way,” said Anderson.
The protocols, established by the IWLA’s Council of Chemical Warehouse Providers, will require those adopting the standard to enter into a three-year verification and certification period, which will be followed by three-year re-certification cycles.
The program will require participating businesses to pay an annual membership payment (at this point it’s estimated to be around $600) and to cover the costs of the verification and certification process (estimated at $3,900 for each three-year cycle).
Rather than setting absolute requirements, the protocol was designed as a continuous improvement program.
The program requires participants to put in place best practices in 11 areas of operations: handling and storage, job procedures and training, compliance review and training, emergency response and public preparedness, document and data control, risk management, internal audits, corrective and preventative actions, community outreach, waste management and resource conservation, and carrier selection.
According to Anderson, this protocol could be the first of many.
“We are looking at more protocols because, by and large, the shippers are multinational and they are looking for good warehousing either south of the border or north of the border and our entry into responsible warehousing for chemicals could very well be a template for all types of responsible warehousing, expanding from there and saying, ‘This is what a good 3PL looks like. These are good standard practices. When you go to scope out a warehouse and give a contract to them, you should look for these types of activities because you know they are well-run, with safe perimeters, securely kept data, good handling of goods, deliveries made on time, and all the rest.”
“We want to distinguish members of the Canadian Warehouse Association and the International Warehouse Association from the pack—to set ourselves as a cut above. When you’re dealing with one of our members, you’re dealing with some really quality people. And the way you know that is they engage in these types of processes. So look for that to be a byproduct of the Chemical Council and its protocols.”
For full coverage of this year’s conference, the theme of which was “Security and Safety Hits the Bottom Line Hard”, please see the November-December issue of MM&D.