The goal of all States worldwide is to protect, preserve and enhance their natural capital, and to protect health and well-being of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts. The European Green Deal as the EU development strategy is a response to these challenges. In October 2020, on the occasion of the Berlin Process summit in Sofia, the governments of the Western Balkans committed to the “Green Agenda for the Western Balkans” as a concrete plan to expand the European Green Deal to Southeast Europe.
Transportation system is of great importance to European business and global supply chains, having in mind that transport contribution is about 5% to EU GDP, which employs over 10 million people in Europe. On the other hand, transport also imposes certain costs to global society due to greenhouse gases, pollution emissions, noise, road accidents and congestion. The European Green Deal’s Sustainable & Smart Mobility Strategy includes a mobility system that is sustainable, smart, and resilient: a system for future generations. One of the basic goals of this Strategy is ensuring the highest standards of safety and security in European transport.
Dangerous goods (DG) are materials that, due to their characteristics, can constitute a risk to people, animals or the environment. DG include materials that are flammable, explosive, radioactive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, toxic, pathogenic or allergic. Thus, the involvement of DG in an accident could lead to fires, explosions and the release of toxic gases, producing serious consequences to human health and the environment. DG can produce dangerous reaction such as combustion or evolution of considerable heat, evolution of flammable, asphyxiant, oxidizing or toxic gases, formation of corrosive substances, and formation of unstable substances or dangerous rise in pressure for tanks. In other words, DG are products with dangerous properties in handling, transport and storage.
Transportation of goods carries the risk of accidents. Specially, in the case of DG, there is a risk of fire, explosion, chemical burns, poisoning or environmental damage. To reduce this risk, strict rules are applied to the transport of dangerous goods (TDG). The TDG in Europe is subjected to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Sustainable Transport Division. The UNECE Sustainable Transport Division is the Secretariat of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The regulations the TDG for different transport modes are designated by the international transport codes. The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) is an Agreement between States, and there is no overall enforcing authority. In practice, highway checks are carried out by Contracting Parties, and non-compliance may then result in legal action by national authorities against offenders in accordance with their domestic legislation. ADR itself does not prescribe any penalties. Among other countries from Europe, WB partner countries (hereinafter WBC) (Montenegro, Kosovo*, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina) are the Contracting Parties. The ADR applies to transport operations performed on the territory of at least two of the Contracting Parties. It should be noted that ADR was adopted by EU Member States as the basis for regulation of the TDG by road within and between their territories according to EU Council Directive 2008/68/EC. This directive is applicable for all inland transport modes within the EU. Unlike EU Member States, a number of non-EU countries including WBC have also adopted ADR as the basis for their national legislation. Thus, the ADR Agreement allows for the TDG to be performed by the same rules in all European countries. The correct and professional use of ADR provisions enables safety in each transport operation such as preparation (packaging and loading), transport and delivery (unloading and receiving). The main task of the ADR Agreement is to ensure safe TDG. The individual provisions of the ADR are updated every two years in the terms of scientific and technical progress in order to increase the safety of the TDG.
Logistics and transport networks often deal with dangerous goods transports that represent a potential risk to prevent. Currently, around 50% of the accidents are produced by human errors or a bad stowage of the freight. Therefore, the risk associated with the TDG is strongly related to the human factor. In those accidents a large number of people may be killed or injured and those may have negative, permanent or long-lasting and costly environmental impact. In a nutshell, human mistakes during loading, unloading and transport operations with dangerous goods can compromise human health and the environment. The high enhance of knowledge, skills and abilities have opened the doors for the development of a safer and more controlled DG supply chain. This is where the WBC have found a motivation for the project with the idea that educating and training participants in the field of the TDG may have a positive impact on reducing the number of accidents as well as on reducing the potential damage to people and the environment.