UPMBiofuels
  • Biofuels
  • Developing transport safety for fuel and chemicals beyond the biorefinery gates
Story | 11/23/2021 14:33:57 | 4 min Read time

Developing transport safety for fuel and chemicals beyond the biorefinery gates

Saara Töyssy

Editor, Tulus

On average, 5,000 heavy transports pass through the loading area of the Lappeenranta biorefinery in Finland every year. Every day truckloads of raw materials are brought to the site, and truckloads of turpentine, sodium bisulfide, renewable diesel and naphtha are exported from the site. Transport safety for fuel and chemicals is developed further with small deeds and great collaboration every day.

All transport operations comply with common safety practices. The transport safety of fuel and chemicals is subject to an especially comprehensive body of legislation on the transport of dangerous goods, with which all transport companies are committed to comply. The client company, UPM Biofuels in this case, is left with the responsibility of carefully choosing its partners and developing good processes for detecting and recording safety issues, and further developing safety – in open and dynamic cooperation with the partners.

Extending safety beyond the gates is a key theme in UPM Biofuels' safety development. But how can safety be maintained and developed in the hustle and bustle of busy daily work, and be extended outside the refinery area?

Maarit Mäkinen, UPM Biofuels Supply Chain Manager, explains.

The transportation companies report all observations and anomalies related to our transports to us, regardless of where they are observed, and they are recorded in UPM's safety reporting tool and addressed from there.

Open communication builds sturdy transport safety for fuel and chemicals

The framework for transport safety development and maintenance is based on regular meetings, which always start with a carefully chosen safety topic, and biannual safety surveys. Data is collected from all anomalies along the transport journey.

"In addition to regular meetings and safety discussions, there is daily contact by phone and email between the transport planners and UPM's supply chain operations. The transportation companies report all observations and anomalies related to our transports to us, regardless of where they are observed, and they are recorded in UPM's safety reporting tool and addressed from there," says Mäkinen.

UPM Biofuels also invests in training and maintaining safety skills.

"UPM provides loading and unloading instructions and training for all drivers working at the Lappeenranta biorefinery. The safety instructions are updated when necessary. At our intermediate warehouses, our warehouse service providers train transporters in accordance with their own safety standards and legislation," Mäkinen explains.

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No issues were detected during the autumn audit of the tall oil unloading site at the Lappeenranta biorefinery. Where a problem is identified, it is essential that it is addressed. "An important part of our operating model is the handling of potential safety quality issues, where the root causes of the incident are analysed and measures are examined to avoid a similar situation," says Matti Auvinen, Key AccountManager at Kiitosimeon. 

Collaborative and proactive work for safety

Kiitosimeon is a long-term partner of UPM Biofuels in fuel and chemical transportation. The importance of cooperation in safety development is particularly important when it comes to loading situations at the biorefinery. However, UPM Biofuels looks to extend safety observations and development work further and further beyond its own gates to cover the entire transport operation.

Kiitosimeon's own safety practices are extensive, but their development and risk analysis of the changing safety environment continues every day.

"If the safety standard required by the customer is stricter than ours, we modify our safety standard to match the customer’s. Our safety culture is based on everyone's personal safety behaviour and this is maintained through continuous training and collaboration with our customers. Audits are an important part of our proactive safety work. In addition to audits carried out at our customers’ sites we regularly audit the third-party warehouse terminals used by our customers elsewhere," says Matti Auvinen, Key Account Manager at Kiitosimeon.

Safety audits are voluntary activities to promote and develop safety. "Through these audits we increase dialogue and transparency with our transport service providers and promote transparency in safety risk management with our partners," says Maarit Mäkinen.

"Safety is important to both sides, time has always been made to discuss and develop safety matters. There is a mutual will to work safely, and safety has been and will continue to be developed with UPM Biofuels," Matti Auvinen adds.