Ongoing disruptions continue to impact companies and customers, says Tim Doggett. Here he explains how the Chemical Business Association (CBA) applies its expertise in support of the wider chemical supply chain.
Reliable logistics are crucial for ensuring robust, cost effective and efficient supply chains in the chemical industry. Over the last two years, several factors have wrought havoc on the chemical supply chain.
In addition to battling Covid-related challenges, companies have had to deal with regulatory changes and increased bureaucracy due to Brexit. At the same time, the supply chain has experienced multiple disruptions, including a chronic shortage of HGV drivers, an issue which has intensified in recent years.
As a result of these issues, supplies of key chemical components, many operating on a just-in-time basis, have become ever more erratic with severe consequences for the manufacturing and process industries. The CBA offers members – including chemical distributors, manufacturers and logistics services providers that represent the greater part of the UK’s chemical supply chain – valuable and practical support in understanding EU and international transport as well as the changing import and export rules, bureaucracy and paperwork.
The industry is committed to the highest levels of contemporary chemical safety and environmental protection and the CBA has repeatedly raised concerns with the UK government over the workability of UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).
After it was introduced as a UK replication of EU REACH following Brexit, the CBA achieved a significant step forward in its efforts towards the end of last year when the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced it would consult on extending the deadlines for submission of data, and that it would explore a new model that would be both workable and affordable.
Industry has benefited significantly from the organisation’s interventions. Specifically, its leadership in highlighting and addressing the HGV driver shortage issue has led to the introduction of various short and medium term remedies, with the CBA continuing to work with various stakeholders towards more long-term solutions.
The supply chain has experienced multiple disruptions, including a chronic shortage of HGV drivers, an issue which has intensified in recent years
Another service offered is a dedicated helpdesk, addressing everything from technical advice through to questions on importing and exporting and customs formalities. This has seen record levels of demand over the course of the last few years due to the significant changes and continuing challenges that have arisen.
The organisation also offers training in the form of workshops and seminars on topics such as compliance, regulations, security, and best practice, as well as Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA) services and training and support on everything from the carriage of dangerous goods through to the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH).
Aside from the practical support it offers UK businesses on the ground, the CBA acts as an advocate, representing businesses in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels. Within the EU, it has effective working relationships with lawmakers, regulators and various national chemical industry associations across Europe.
It is also in discussion with the German Embassy and Indian High Commission to promote trade between these important economies and the UK. The CBA is part of the Alliance of Chemical Associations (ACA), works closely with the CIA (Chemical Industries Association) and BCF (British Coatings Federation) and is an active member of the International Chemical Trade Association (ICTA).
Despite the challenges, the CBA, which has been the voice of the UK chemical supply chain for almost a century, will continue to work hard on its members’ behalf to lobby policymakers, resolve problems and support businesses.
Tim Doggett is CEO of the Chemical Business Association (CBA)