At the end of October 1997, Europe's chemical hauliers formed the European Chemical Road Transport Association (ECRTA) during the 24th Logistics Meeting organized by the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) in Barcelona. The purpose was to provide a platform for representing their interests in discussions with both international regulatory bodies and major chemical producer associations. In addition to the carriage of chemicals by road, it was decided that ECRTA would rapidly provide strong support for the intermodal transport of such goods. Since then, the name has been changed to European Chemical Transport Association (ECTA), to reflect the fact that all modes of transportation (including rail and inland waterways) are represented.
ECTA has been granted by Royal Decree of 11 February 1999 legal personality as an international non-profit organization in accordance with Belgian law.
ECTA has formed numerous working groups, many of them with chemical producers. The aim of these groups is to develop best practices, by means of standardization, leading to improvement in safety, health, security, environmental protection and productivity improvement.
On 13 February 2009 during the ECTA annual conference in Barcelona, ECTA officially launched its Responsible Care Program for the European chemical land transport sector. ECTA has signed a partnership agreement with the European Chemical Industry Council, (Cefic) to become the first association to launch a European wide RC program in the logistics field. At this meeting already19 European transport companies signed up on Responsible Care and since then the number of members is increasing who have committed themselves to implement ECTA’s Responsible Care principles into their strategy, management systems and daily operations. ECTA believes that Responsible Care is the best strategy for its members to communicate their continuous improvement health, safety, security and environmental performance efforts to their customers in the chemical industry, for whom sustainable supply chains are key factor – their sustainable development contribution.