What does ATP stand for?


What does ATP stand for?
How can you decipher the abbreviation ATP? It is a convention with a very long name that comes from the French language - Accord Relatif aux Transports Internationaux de Denrées Périssable et aux Engins Spéciaux a Utiliser pour ces Transports. It was established in Geneva in 1970 and concerns the transportation of perishable food on international routes. Its purpose was not only to come up with even better ways to transport food but also to improve current conditions under uniform standards. The ATP Convention applies every time a product with a short shelf life is transported in a refrigerated trailer. All requirements are described in detail within the articles, which all member states have agreed to comply with. By entering into an ATP agreement, the carrier commits to maintaining high standards of deep-frozen food or food articles, frozen - all requirements are found in the agreement. Already 26 countries in Europe, America, and Asia have joined the convention.


ATP Agreement - who established it?
ATP Agreement - who established it and for what purpose? This is an international document drawn up in 1970, which came into force six years later. Poland joined this convention already in 1984, and the members are also Great Britain, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Norway, Morocco, Spain, USA, Hungary, Netherlands, Ireland, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Luxembourg, Greece, Finland, and Serbia. Switzerland has signed but not yet ratified the agreement. South Africa is also trying to join the Convention. The document drawn up in Geneva is one of the next important steps in maintaining high standards in the road and maritime transport.

Why is the ATP Convention so important? By agreeing on the ATP, each country is required to raise standards in the transport of perishable food. The convention itself regulates a lot of technical issues and also sets out the rules that must be followed during transport from one country to another. All vehicles for the transport of foodstuffs must meet certain technical conditions. This applies not only to trailers but also to containers. The document regulates all these issues in great detail and contributes to quality improvement in the transport of food over very long distances. The ATP Convention also applies when the place of departure or destination is one of the signatory countries. 


How does the ATP Convention work?

What are the rules that apply under the ATP Convention? Three main issues affect the transportation of food very strongly:

  • the temperature at which the food should be transported,
  • the equipment and temperature conditions that each vehicle must meet,
  • inspection rules that help to maintain standards and also to detect anomalies quickly,
  • how procedures and measurements of the conditions in which the food is placed are carried out.

These are very clear and well-structured rules that have significantly raised the standard of transporting food on international routes. The establishment of the convention has also helped to set standards for the construction of vehicles for the transport of food and the selection of appropriate thermal insulation materials and refrigeration equipment used inside the trailers.

What provisions can be found in the ATP transport documents? An agreement made to increase comfort for the food being transported requires both parties to maintain appropriate benchmarks. These must be applied in the case of:

  • transport carried out on its account or for third parties as a subcontractor. It can be done by motor vehicle or by rail or both;
  • carriage by the sea that takes place over a distance of up to 150 kilometers - it must be preceded by carriage by land.

More guidelines and the contract itself can be found on the website of the Ministry of Infrastructure. The requirements, standards, and instructions on how to prepare the vehicle for the road are listed there point by point. 


ATP transport - is it beneficial?
Does the ATP mechanism affect the work of carriers? Yes, and it is very beneficial. In the agreement, there are clearly described and well-explained requirements for the transport of perishable food. You can find out there that each vehicle should:

  • have heating inside, which should maintain the temperature in the vacuum body for up to 12 hours;
  • Adequate mechanical refrigeration, allowing the temperature to be reduced to the level required for a specific food group. Depending on the type of body, these ranges may be: from +12oC to 0oC, from +12oC to -10oC and from +12oC to -20oC;
  • have thermal insulation that meets the standards;
  • have adequate thermal insulation in the case of an isothermal vehicle, which must limit air exchange with the environment.

This convention drawn up in Geneva is a binding document. Since 1984, Poland has been committed to complying with and inspecting vehicles designed for transporting foodstuffs.