Interview with CDI


Capt. Howard N. Snaith. FNI
CDI General Manager.

What do you see as the current issues for the Chemical Distribution Industry (aside from increased revenues post credit crunch)?

Let us be clear that if we talk about the chemical distribution industry, we must include two sides reliant on each other: the shippers and the carriers. Together, the two sides are responsible for the safe transportation of chemical products through the global supply chain. The current issue facing the industry can be encapsulated in 4 short words: "loss of corporate memory". In addition to mergers and acquisitions, the industry is going through repeated waves of cost cutting, down-sizing, restructuring, and outsourcing, all aimed at better efficiency and more profitable operations. Experienced supply chain functional leadership is disappearing and is often replaced by managers in pass-through roles, or responsibility is split over businesses or incorporated in Shared Services organisations, invariably leading to a dilution of expertise and loss of corporate memory. The modern industry is now in danger of re-inventing wheels already developed and perfected by a previous generation. In past years experience was on file which would be handed down. Now, what with record retention policies, and correspondence largely in the form of email which is regularly deleted, there is no paper record. For the benefit of the industry as a whole, it is time to document knowledge and preserve experience for the industry of the future to draw upon.

CDI is working on a ‘Bulk Liquid Chemical Handling Guide’, what were the drivers for commissioning such a project?

In addition to chemical industry demands for a robust inspection scheme, CDI receives a constant stream of enquires from the bulk liquid chemical storage industry, seeking guidance and understanding of best industry practice. CDI’s primary objective is to constantly improve the operating standards of the supply chain, and whilst the global players generally have excellent standards of operation, there remains an obligation for CDI to raise operating standards of all players. Compliance in the world fleet of chemical tankers is relatively easy to measure against international regulations and the abundance of established best industry practice. In sharp contrast, for the bulk liquid chemical storage industry, there is no international legislation and the national legislation differs widely from one region of the world to another. Both the chemical industry and the storage industry require an industry reference. The quick guide to provide answers for: the terminal manager, the supply chain manager, the employee, the surveyor and not least as a teaching reference for the next generation. Additionally and most important, the reference has to be international to bring the global consistency that is desired.

What will this guide cover?

    • General knowledge of chemical characteristics
    • The management of the terminal
    • Product transfer systems
    • Vapor return, recovery & treatment
    • Sources of ignition and control
    • Fire safety
    • Emergency response
    • Personnel safety
    • Security
    • Storage tanks
  • The jetty
  • Road & rail loading stations
  • Drumming facilities
  • Warehouse
  • Buildings
  • Sewers, waste water & waste
  • Power distribution systems
  • Vehicle circulation & control
  • Blending

Why was the BLCH Guide created?

CDI receives a constant stream of enquires from the bulk liquid chemical storage industry, seeking guidance and understanding best industry practice. CDI’s primary objective is to constantly improve the operating standards of the supply chain, and whilst the global players generally have excellent standards of operation, there remains an obligation for CDI to raise operating standards of all players. The BLCH Guide has to be international to bring the global consistency that is desired.

Is there need for such a guide in the distribution of bulk liquid?

Yes, more so than ever before. With the complexity of modern supply chains, chemical manufacturers are even more reliant on the storage industry in order to respond to customer demands.

How do you see the guide being used within the Chemical Distribution Industry?

Originally it was envisaged that the guide would be an essential hand book for both the chemical and bulk liquid storage industries. However, as the work progressed, it has become clear that the publication will be valuable to a much wider group of industries. A liquid storage terminal has so many operations taking place, each with individual and critical disciplines: tanks, drumming, packaging, road and rail, ships, barges, waste water, emergency response, etc., all requiring the application of best industry practice. Information exists, but from so many sources that it is fragmented and often difficult to locate; no single publication brings the data together in one volume of internationally consistent best practice. This publication will provide answers for the numerous employee groups involved in the whole chemical distribution industry, and beyond.

In the absence of formal guidance in the Chemical Distribution Industry, how do you believe this will be received?

It is the absence of such a guide that is propelling the interest and indications are that the overdue publication will be well received across industries. The CDI-T inspection covers every operation that a terminal may be engaged in and companies currently stock pile libraries of information to give advice and to teach all the different disciplines. No other organization looks in detail at the many operations of a storage terminal, now CDI will produce this international reference for all those involved.

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