Gulf SQAS is a system to evaluate the environment, health, safety, security and quality (EHSS&Q) performance of Logistic Service Providers (LSPs) using standardized modular assessment questionnaires, carried out by independent certified assessors. Gulf SQAS avoids multiple assessments by individual chemical companies and encourages dialogue between LSPs and chemical companies based on the assessment results. It helps companies select new LSPs and offers a tool for evaluating continuous improvement. Gulf SQAS is therefore a key element of Responsible Care® applied to logistics operations.
A Gulf SQAS assessment does not lead to a certificate, but offers a detailed factual assessment report, which a chemical company can use to compare against its own requirements. The system provides information on the strengths and weaknesses of the LSP as observed during the assessment and provides the opportunity for LSPs to take ownership of their improvement action plan. After the evaluation of the assessment report, the chemical company can offer specific feedback to the LSP, enabling them to update their improvement action plan directly within the Gulf SQAS system. This helps in building a mutually beneficial partnership.
The GULF SQAS principles
The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), centrally manages the system and ensures its integrity and success. The system is based on four pillars:
- A common questionnaire for each category of companies
- The accreditation of assessors
- The electronic database of assessment reports
- The GULF SQAS member company group
The GULF SQAS questionnaires and modules
GPCA has developed two (core and transport services) and a future three (warehousing, cleaning stations and rail) specific GULF SQAS questionnaires for the different types of LSP active in land logistics in close co-operation with the involved member companies. The questionnaires, English and Arabic, and the associated databases of assessment reports are accessible via the modules listed on the "home page". The logistics modules cover logistics service providers offering transportation and other logistics services to chemical companies.
Similarly, CDI (Chemical Distribution Institute) coordinates a number of assessment modules to cover the various maritime activities. These modules are covered in separate systems.
As a consequence, each industry sector (transport, cleaning, warehousing, etc) can be assessed with a common questionnaire. GULF SQAS avoids multiple assessments by different individual chemical companies at the same logistics company, which prevents duplication of efforts and saves resources at both ends.
The GULF SQAS assessors
The assessments are performed by professional assessors who are trained and accredited by GPCA for each type of assessment. They are also closely monitored by GPCA Technical and Accreditation Committee to ensure a continuous high and uniform quality of work across the Arabian Gulf region.
New candidate assessors are referred to the link "Assessor Accreditation Documents" for further information on how to become an GULF SQAS accredited assessor.
The electronic database of assessment reports
The assessment reports are stored in a central database, split per module. The electronic database allows better accessibility, transparency and easy analysis of the assessment results, but is secured to provide access to authorized persons only.
Chemical companies use these assessments for risk management in support of their product stewardship activities. The reports provide useful information on the strengths and weaknesses observed during the assessment. The chemical producers use the reports in their selection of new service providers and for their ongoing evaluation of the environmental, health, safety, security and quality performance of their existing partner companies, and for their dialogue with these companies, leading to continuous improvement.
GULF SQAS member companies
In order to ensure an ongoing sustainable operation of GULF SQAS, GULF SQAS member companies provide both the financial resources and the management structure to operate the systems successfully.
GULF SQAS member companies obtain the following services:
- Access to the online database containing all the assessment reports allowing a quick analysis of the assessment results by using queries and templates;
- Training in the adequate use of the GULF SQAS system;
- Access to the network of accredited GULF SQAS assessors.
Getting started to do a GULF SQAS assessment
Any logistics company who considers to undertake an assessment is advised to familiarize themselves with the applicable questionnaire and the associated guidelines, and to choose an assessor from the list of accredited assessors, in order to plan and prepare the assignment and fulfill the required administration. The assessment process is explained in further detail in the guidelines of each module, and can be downloaded under the link "questionnaires" of the chosen module.
Use of the GULF SQAS system by logistics service providers
The GULF SQAS member company group has been created to accommodate all users who need access to other GULF SQAS reports of interest, allowing them to evaluate their respective business partners, like transport companies, packaged warehouses and cleaning stations.
Any logistics companies who have performed an assessment at their own facilities, may register as a member of this user group. The registration form is posted under "other documents". Only one corporate registration is required for a multi-site or global company, with one central contact person, who can appoint multiple users within the organization.
Currently, these users are given access to all GULF SQAS transport service reports when the partner transport companies have authorized them through a function in their assessment "manage user access to the report". To allow efficient functioning and transparency of the system, it is recommended that assessed companies authorize access to their business partners who may have an interest in their report.