History & Mission
International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) is an organization focused on the specific concerns of transport packaging. ISTA is the leading industry developer of testing protocols and design standards that define how packages should perform to ensure protection of their contents during the ever changing risks of the global distribution environment. As a nonprofit, member-driven association it sets the standards for optimizing the resources in packages that are designed to be survivable, sustainable and successful. Worldwide, ISTA is the most trusted, knowledgeable and respected authority in predictive package-performance testing helping its members develop more effective packaging.
To empower organizations and their people to minimize product damage throughout distribution and optimize resource usage through effective package design.
To be the leading inspiration and resource for improving our world through transport packaging globally.
Ethical - Committed to honesty, transparency, and integrity
Focused – Devoted to the success of our community
Open - Diverse and respectful; inclusive of divergent views and dedicated to free expression
Progressive - Informed, innovative and knowledgeable; resourceful and flexible
Collaborative – Combining individual strengths to achieve success, through a global consensus perspective.
ISTA helps members control costs, damage, and resources during the distribution of packaged-products by:
- Creating and publishing packaged-product test procedures.
- Certifying packaging laboratories, packaged-products and professionals.
- Providing education, training, and support.
The following milestone dates provide a quick glimpse into the evolution of the Association.
1948 - Dana Chase Publications, Inc. had the idea that "the very serious problem of loss in shipment on porcelain enameled products, which was costing manufacturers and carriers millions of dollars and the loss of valuable finished products, could be tackled if the right programs were developed and properly coordinated. Out of that idea, the National Safe Transit Committee (NTSC) was born, on August 9, 1948. Ralph Bisbee, of Westinghouse Electric Corporation became the committee's General Chairman. Mr. Bisbee was a technical consultant and had written an article on preshipment testing research Westinghouse had been doing since 1929. NTSC decided that "prevention rather than cure" was needed. The committee put together the first ever standard shipping test to predetermine a packaged-products' ability to withstand average transportation shocks, called "Project 1 and 1A".
1952 - The first Transit Tested label was designed and put to use. In a short amount of time, over 15 million labels were put on packaged-products being shipped all over the United States, showing carrier and handling personal that preshipment testing had been done. The testing procedures themselves were gaining visibility and becoming accepted as a standard.
1963 - The rights to NSTC were sold to Container Testing Lab in New York, but the Committee continued its work in modifying their testing procedures and recruiting for membership. In 1971 United Parcel Service (UPS) saw the benefit of the testing and adopted the NSTC program.
1973 - The committee bought back NSTC and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in the State of Delaware. It was at this time that the name was changed to National Safe Transit Association (NSTA) and the headquarters were moved from New York to Chicago, IL. Carroll Barnes was the first President and Merv Lurie the Executive Director.
1979 - Brought new management to the Association when Ellis Murphy took over as Executive Director. The basic ISTA tests were being refined.
1991 - NSTA determined that their scope needed to become much broader in terms of geography, so it was decided to make a transitional change in name to National/International Safe Transit Association (N/ISTA).
1994 - After nearly twenty years of technical stagnation the organization officially adopted its current name, International Safe Transit Association which is often called I.S.T.A or pronounced as the word ISTA and made the decision to add some of the testing technology to its test procedures.
1995 - New management took over in the form of Ed Church and Dennis Young and headquarters were moved to East Lansing, MI and ISTA, The Association for Transport Packaging got down to business. The Association increased its technical activities resulting in a number of new testing procedures. Concentration was also directed on Certification and Education. The annual conference, now called TransPack Forum, has become the biggest and best transport packaging conference available.
2000 - The focus of ISTA as it entered into the 21st Century was focused on better testing protocols to simulate the actual hazards and levels of intensity found in the distribution of goods in a global market.
2003 - Finds the expansion of the Director level staff and an emphasis on the World Wide Web for information exchange and e-learning.