The introduction and subsequent integration of new regulations, legislations and guidelines can pose a challenge for a whole host of varying industries and this is no different for the transportation of pressurised gases, as the Transportable Pressure Equipment Directive (TPED) takes effect.
The TPED directive covers the transport of a wide range of pressurised equipment, including gas bundles. Prior to TPED, the transport of such equipment was solely covered by BS EN 13769, which governed the design, manufacture, identification and testing of a gas bundle. From now onwards however, the transportation of such bundles has to comply with TPED and the specifications this implements.
Storage, handling and logistics specialist Ritchie designs and manufactures the frame element of a gas bundle for a number of high profile gases clients, and already boasts a wealth of experience in such legislation. Steve Robertson of Ritchie commented, “Even within Ritchie there have been diverging opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of the directive. However, it’s predominantly seen as a positive thing. Because we have a vast amount of design expertise and 30 years of experience working with our clients on issues like this, we perceive a competitive advantage in being able to say we are centre of excellence on the subject.”
Speaking of the challenges the new directive incurs for those in the industry, Robertson said, “One of the confusing elements has been that different companies are interpreting the specifications in slightly different ways. The challenge for the storage, handling and logistics specialist is to interpret and apply them, on behalf of our clients, in a legal manner. Another challenge is to guide our customers through the natural denial process and into acceptance. A better way to view the process is as part of a continual improvement system. After all, even if it is a new hoop to jump through, being able to continue to transport pressurised gases across the EU is also a business benefit.”
In terms of the ideal way to interpret the directive and it all may imply, it seems that it should be seen as a new opportunity for improvement across all affected industries. Ritchie themselves view the directive with a basic perspective, as Robertson explains, “Another of the ways the confusion in the industry is being expressed is through different viewpoints on compliance dates. The best rule of thumb is that if a gas bundle has to be transported on the road network anywhere in the European Union from now onwards, it must comply with TPED. The only exception is that an offshore pack can be driven directly to the dockside for offshore use only without TPED certification.”
“The most practical thing to do is to ensure compliance in the first instance,” he added.