Following the rollercoaster ride that was 2020, the European Federation of Tank Cleaning Organisations (EFTCO) is wondering what the year ahead has in store for the industry.
Following the end of the transition period that finally saw the UK leave the EU for good and the culmination of the Trump Administration in the US, the sector is looking forward to more stability in the next 12 months and beyond.
Hygiene is nothing new for tank cleaning sites and, therefore, the challenges of 2020, with the introduction of complex measures to comply with COVID-19 rules, went according to plan.
Cleaning stations and their competent cleaning and waste removal systems are seen as an essential business within the logistics supply chain.
All stations continued with their operations and remained open last year, despite the lockdown and travel restrictions.
Ensuring the COVID-19 virus was eliminated from tanks and the supply chain in general remained operational, stringent efforts were taken to ensure tanks were virus-free.
However, on the flip side, this slowed the total number of tank deliveries for many of EFTCO’s members. The process of ensuring drivers provided the necessary documentation and details for the vital COVID-19 contact tracing process also resulted in companies incurring additional costs.
But, all cleaning stations recognised the importance of ensuring the health of their drivers as well as their other employees in general and so all necessary protocols were adhered to. Problems due to increased sick leave created unexpected problems that disrupted some of the tank cleaning processes, as it was sometimes difficult to find short-term replacements.
The pandemic also resulted in a change in the way organisations communicated and worked with each other. There were no national and international meetings last year, as the personal safety of attendees could not be guaranteed. It looks as though meetings with association members will continue to be held remotely this year until the pandemic situation improves significantly.
The impact of Brexit has been minor and has had no negative impact as the use of the EFTCO Cleaning Document (ECD) in the UK is still accepted by the organisation and all of its partners. EFTCO’s UK partner, the National Road Tanker Cleaners Association (NRTCA), has continuously engaged in supervising the correct use of ECDs issued to members.
The ECDs issued in the UK are declared valid within the EU while the European ECDs are accepted within the UK, so the issue of having the right documentation has not been an issue. EFTCO is registered in the UK, but this could result in future difficulties regarding new EU legislation and accounting tax issues. This may result in the decision to relocate EFTCO out of the UK in future.
The digitalisation of logistics communication is a top priority for EFTCO this year. The organisation and its partner the European Chemical Logistics Information Council (ECLIC) is committed to the rollout of the electronic ECD (eECD). The replacement of paper ECDs and the implementation of electronic ones has been delayed due to difficulties in changing the logistic processes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
EFTCO will be working hard with all of its logistic partners to use the year ahead as a path towards greater digitalisation of documents used.
In 2021, EFTCO is expected to receive additional global membership applications for cleaning stations outside the EU and the UK. By adapting the EU/UK philosophies of quality standards, improvements and control to the stations outside this bloc and the UK, the EFTCO philosophy continues to become a global focus within the chemical and food transport industry.
Kosher, halal cleaning, and allergen concerns will give additional challenges to cleaning stations and their associations. Therefore, EFTCO is also using the year ahead to improve its information service for the industry and will be looking at ways to improve food safety standards, particularly in these areas.
Environment and sustainability
This year will also be used by EFTCO to improve safety and the exchange of knowledge between its members. Health and safety training, incident and accident investigations will continue throughout the next 12 months and the use of multilingual training films is the organisation’s main tool to brief members. EFTCO has also renewed its commitment to initiatives such as Operation Clean Sweep by Plastics Europe.
EFTCO cleaning document
Over the last year, EFTCO has reiterated the validity of its cleaning documentation. The ECD records the last product a tanker has carried, as declared, to the cleaning station. By mutual agreement, parties may agree to clean a tank after it has carried its last product and to prepare a tank for loading its next cargo.
The uniform ECD has been developed by EFTCO in cooperation with ECTA and CEFIC in order to satisfy the needs of cleaning stations, transport companies and manufacturing companies. The use of the document has important advantages for members:
• The document has the same form that can easily be distinguished from forgeries
• The use of a unique numbering system provides security and authentication traceable against misuse of documents.
The ECD is accepted European-wide and uses cross-linguistic EFTCO codes, which provide a documentation of progressed tank cleaning and equipment accessories. These EFTCO Codes can easily be assimilated to the needs of new documentation and additional codes can be added.
Last year, EFTCO was not able to update its latest version of EFTCO Codes and the necessary improvements are scheduled for this year. These include:
• Revising the available codes for Food cleaning and food safety
• Developing of EFTCO codes for feed and pharma
• Adding missing codes demanded by the industry and deleting unnecessary codes
• Clarification of vague codes
• Updating languages for all members languages in EU territory and EFTCO Global members.
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