ALL ABOARD?

TAPA EMEA’s objective of identifying, encouraging and building a network of secure truck parking locations in Europe takes to the road this month.

Helping to drive the message home to Parking Place Operators (PPOs) will be Ap Boom, Senior Manager Supply Chain and Transportation Security at Amazon, and a TAPA EMEA member who has committed his team’s support to help bring PPOs onboard. With Amazon’s fulfilment centres in the EU despatching a truck every 25 seconds at their peak, it’s easy to understand why it wants to play such an active role in motivating PPOs to embrace the Association’s new Parking Security Requirements (PSR).

You don’t need to look very far these days to be reminded of the value of secure parking nor the threat posed when trucks stop in unsecured parking locations.

As is often the case, a lot of the positivity and action stems from the Netherlands, which remains one of the most aware and proactive countries when it comes to cracking down on cargo crime. At a governmental level, the Dutch House of Representatives has called upon Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, the country’s Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, to make land available for secure truck parking spaces in areas with known parking bottlenecks. The motion states: “The House of Representatives asks the government to examine, within the MIRT-programme corridor East and Southeast, together with the regions and market parties, whether there is national land near these acute bottlenecks where safe, short-term private truck parking could be realised.”

TLN, the Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics, has already made its position clear. It has stated: “Secure parking spaces on and in the vicinity of the main road network, where drivers find a safe resting place and which provide the necessary facilities, are important in the context of crime prevention. The shortage of parking spaces also causes problems with driving and rest times. If a driver cannot park his vehicle, he cannot take his break. A violation of the legislation for driving and rest times can result in drivers paying a hefty fine up to 28 days after the violation. TLN believes that the government should encourage private initiatives to build and operate parking spaces. Not only along the main roads themselves, but also along roads that connect to the main roads. In this way, the public service places along the main roads are not overloaded.”    

Evidence of the positive impact of secure parking sites is, geographically, also not far away. On 18 January, the Dutch regional newspaper BN DeStem reported on the success of a new secure parking initiative on the Dutch/Belgian border crossing at Hazeldonk, an area that’s well-known as a regular hotspot for cargo crime. The border along the A16 highway is consistently in the ‘top 3’ parking areas in the Netherlands for criminal activity, the article stated, quoting the 226 incidents reported there in 2016.

Last October, a secure truck parking was commissioned in Hazeldonk and since then drivers have been able to park their vehicles safely behind a high fence equipped with an electric wire and guarded by a dozen cameras. The municipality of Breda also has a team of Special Investigation Officers patrolling the area and, the report continues, any driver found to have parked their car outside the guarded parking lot now faces an immediate fine of hundreds of euros. The result? Cargo crime incidents in Hazeldonk are said to have been halved.

This is tangible evidence that guarded truck parks can and do reduce the rate of cargo crime as opposed to trucks having to stop in unprotected car parks along motorways, one police officer is quoted as saying. In Hazeldonk, the PPO responsible for the scheme – and which charges 14 euros per day for secure truck parking – is planning to extend its number of guarded parking places from the current 200 to up to 350.

This reinforces TAPA EMEA’s message to PPOs about the value of providing TAPA-approved secure parking. Demand far outweighs the current level of availability across Europe, providing a significant money-making incentive for parking operators. The Association is also going to promote sites with PSR certification to its Manufacturer and Logistics Service Provider members via its new Secure Parking Online Tool. It will enable route planners to clearly identify the level of risk on specific routes in Europe by showing incident data and will also indicate the nearest parking locations that have met one or more of the three tiers of PSR Certification.

The success of the venture in Hazeldonk is great news, and just reward, for the operator concerned and, no doubt, provides much greater peace of mind for companies whose drivers need to take their rest breaks in the area. TAPA members will know only too well, however, that the threat of cargo crime won’t have disappeared, it will simply have shifted to locations with less or no security where drivers, their trucks and loads remain at the mercy of criminals. But, imagine a scenario where the level of parking security now offered in Hazeldonk is replicated in a multitude of other locations across Europe. Every new TAPA-approved secure parking location provides the potential to increase the risk for cargo thieves and lower the risk for the transport and logistics industry and its customers.  Adopting PSR makes that possible.

The importance of TAPA’s PSR is reflected in the 24 January 2018 ‘Current Issues’ briefing issued by the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI). PSR is the only industry Standard for secure parking referred to by the IUMI Political Forum. Addressing the need for safe and secure parking places, IUMI says it will ‘encourage and support measures that contribute to, and facilitate, the safe and secure flow of goods within the global supply chain and increase the safety of people working in the transport sector’. This includes urging action to ‘create a network of high-security, accessible and affordable truck parks’.

TAPA members and anyone else who monitors the intelligence collated and shared by the Association’s Incident Information Service (IIS) know only too well the risks associated with trucks parking in unsecured parking locations. Approximately three-quarters of the cargo losses reported to TAPA’s IIS now regularly occur in unsecured parking places and these result in losses of tens of millions of euros a year. Many would also argue that such a value is extremely conservative. The true cost will never be known because the level of incident reporting remains relatively low in many countries in Europe but what we do know is that single incidents regularly produce losses of hundreds of thousands of euros. 

The economic impact is massive and growing. Then there is the even darker and more dangerous risk of cargo crimes – and, most notably, truck thefts – that are conducted to facilitate terror attacks on innocent people, as have already been witnessed in Nice and Berlin in recent times. In the UK alone, counter terror experts are investigating some 3,000 terror suspects, and remained concerned about a further 20,000. The threat of ‘lone wolf’ attacks and the relative ease with which offenders are able to commandeer commercial vehicles also makes the need to reduce the vulnerability of parked vehicles a moral duty of every operator. More secure parking sites will add further layers of security to prevent the risk of such attacks.

On the night of 20/21 January, a semi-trailer loaded with nearly 34,000 litres of chemicals was stolen in Zedelgem in Belgium. Although the chemicals onboard the vehicle cannot be used as an explosive material, the incident provided another clear reminder of the types of thefts criminals are willing to commit. On another day, the outcome could have been far more devastating.

TAPA’s PSR will not prevent every threat but it will reduce cargo crime. Its chances of success will undoubtedly be greater if TAPA members using parking sites in Europe decide to use their influence to persuade PPOs to operate PSR-approved sites. If you would like more information on TAPA’s new Parking Security Requirements (PSR) visit the 'Industry Standards' section of the TAPA EMEA website at www.tapaemea.org. Or, if you wish to nominate parking sites for TAPA to approach, please contact our Secure Parking Working Group at secure.parking@(*** please remove ***)tapaemea.org