Secure Parking Facilities the First Step to Prevent Cargo Theft

David Heeney Marine Cargo, Freight Liability and Terrorism Underwriter at specialty MGA Fiducia explains why cargo theft prevention has to start with a safe place for haulier to park.

Parking is becoming a worry. Not for me and my car. I can usually find a space when I need one and I can usually return to my car without it having been broken into and discover the charging lead for my phone and a free copy of the local newspaper has been stolen and my car is not sat on bricks. That’s not to say I would park just anywhere, there are certainly places in the UK I would not leave my car for any length of time for fear of it being vandalised, broken into or stolen.

So, just imagine you are a professional heavy goods vehicle driver and spend your week driving the roads of the UK and Europe. You are governed by the hours you can drive by law. You can plan to complete a journey within a given period of time but that assumes there will be no delays or unscheduled stops on the route. If you cannot complete your day’s objective as you reach the limit of your time you have to find a “safe” place to park. And that’s why parking is becoming a worry…

When I am visiting haulage companies and told that drivers are only permitted to park overnight in safe areas. I usually ask where these “safe” areas are located. Motorway services is often the answer…

According to SCREEN (Supply Chain Risk Exposure Evaluation Network) a BSI web based global supply chain

intelligence system; motorway service areas continued to be targeted in 2018. The M1 motorway ranks as the top motorway route targeted by cargo thieves with a significant number of reported thefts from Leicester Forest East, Trowell, Newport Pagnell and Toddington. On the M62, Hartshead Moor has the highest number of incidents.

Thieves made several high value thefts at this location, many of which involved electronic products, as well as an extremely high value theft of pharmaceuticals. SCREEN identifies Hartshead Moor as being “vulnerable to theft due to insufficient security measures in place” attracting both organised and opportunistic thieves. The good news here is that West Yorkshire Police in collaboration with NaVCIS launched a cargo crime counter offensive resulting in several arrests for stealing cargo across West Yorkshire as well as at the Hartshead Moor Service area.

Secure parking remains a real problem in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Motorway services are probably among the better places to park as they are usually well lit and populated by other vehicles leading to

“safety in numbers” but they are by no means “safe”. In the 2018 UK Cargo Theft Annual Report the BSI offers a reminder to readers on how to choose secure parking:

> Transporters should ideally look for locations for overnight rest that include:

> Perimeter Fencing

> CCTV Camera Surveillance

> Entrance and Exit Security Checkpoint

> Police Surveillance

> Freight Vehicle Specific Lots Present

> Sufficient Lighting

This is indeed be the paradise island of lorry parking! Where are these places if indeed they do exist? Is there a list? Will I find one as my driving hours are rapidly running out? Will it already be full?

Will I be turned away to run out of driving hours and forced to park on a piece of wasteland in Purfleet or in a layby on the A13? Perhaps you can see why I worry.

TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association) is one body that recognises the problem of cargo crime and parking throughout Europe and has set about doing something about it. In TAPA’s view:

These crimes are exacerbated by the lack of credible, measurable secure parking sites in the EMEA region, and particularly in Europe, making it extremely difficult for companies to determine the security level of a parking site without a physical inspection.

In 2017, TAPA EMEA launched a new secure parking initiative aiming to develop a robust secure parking programme that encourages a greater choice of locations and improved information for users. TAPA has presented its plans to the European Commission in Brussels. For its members TAPA has produced the Association’s Secure Parking Online Tool (SPOT) to identify parking facility operators participating in its new Parking Security requirements (PSR) programme.

By April 2019, 37 PSR Parking Places are currently active with a further 51 applications for PSR Status by Parking facilities in the pipeline in 8 countries.

Everything has to start somewhere, and TAPA should be applauded for recognising the problem and addressing it for the benefit of their members. If only the same could be said elsewhere.

In the meantime, adequate cargo insurance is ever becoming more important as the problem of theft from goods vehicles on our roads is unlikely to decrease.