For chemical companies, tank cleaning is a cornerstone of the logistics process for which safety, quality, operational efficiency and compliance need to be safeguarded. An important milestone was the introduction of the European Cleaning Document (ECD) back in 2005, developed by EFTCO (European Federation of Tank Cleaning Organizations) in collaboration with ECTA (European Chemical Transport Association) and CEFIC to satisfy the needs of cleaning stations, transport companies, chemical-, feed- and food-manufacturing companies and their customers.
Whilst this ECD was a giant leap forward, the current paper-based process no longer meets today’s challenges and expectations. Technological capabilities have also evolved significantly over the past decade, offering new opportunities. That is why ECTA, EFTCO and essenscia are launching a project aimed at the digitisation of the ECD document.
This can bring benefits in terms of Quality and Compliance, Responsible Care and Safety and Operational Excellence:
- Quality and Compliance: Accurate and timely information-exchange between the tank cleaning, loading and customer delivery process requires seamless collaboration between all parties. Switching to a digital e-ECD form and related process will make these communications less error prone, more transparent and real time, resulting in a high-quality product and service to the end-customer.
- Responsible Care and Safety: All stakeholders aim for greater safety and higher Responsible Care standards. Accurate product and cleaning information combined with people with the right skills and the appropriate technical installations are essential to guarantee a safe and sustainable cleaning process.
- Operational excellence: Automating the capture of ECD information and digitalising its exchange will mean less manual work, faster site entrance and loading, less reworking and checks, and reduced waiting times. Shortening historical product blacklists leads to higher asset availability, which reduces costs and increases efficiency. Increased accessibility of data and an elevated trust level in the e-ECD information opens up opportunities for a spot check-driven process where companies with a positive track record and complete information can benefit from access to fast lanes.
The e-ECD project is split into two phases. The first, pilot, phase aims at demonstrating the digital e-ECD IT solution within a smaller process scope and limited geographical scope. This pilot phase will start at the end of 2017 and last for about six months. The second phase, rolling out the e-ECD solution to all European stakeholders, is foreseen for the second quarter of 2018 after a positive evaluation of the pilot project.