Secure truck parks – The backbone of European road transport

By Björn Kupfer, Loss Prevention Manager Marine Insurance, Department of Liability-, Credit-, Marine, Aviation, Accident and Legal expenses Insurance, Statistics, GDV, IUMI Member Association

Thieves will steal anything! Which explains why 20 tonnes of chocolate and 30 tonnes of fruit juice changed hands illegally. Both complete loads, worth a total of 140 thousand Euros, were stolen from trucks. At the same time, the thefts show that the perpetrators have the logistics and sales channels to handle such quantities of goods. It can be safely assumed that these well-organised "gangs" have committed other similar serious thefts.

According to a joint calculation (in German) carried out by several trade associations, including the German Insurers Association (GDV), goods worth 1.3 billion Euros are stolen each year in Germany. At the level of the whole of the European Union (EU), the estimate is as high as 8.2 billion euros. There are no official statistics because the police do not record these offenses separately in their statistics. However, the police know what these groups of offenders look like and the way they operate: they are often organised gangs who prefer to strike at night - usually between Autumn and Spring, when the nights are long. They operate primarily where the risk of detection is low: at unsecured parking areas and service stations directly on or close to motorways. 

A new funding programme has been developed in Germany to curb cargo theft along the main transit roads. As of 2018, German carriers will be refunded 80 percent of the parking fees by the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) if they use a specially secured parking area. Secure means: the parking areas must be demarcated, must have defined entrances and exits, must be fully lit and must have sanitary facilities within walking distance, as well as cameras that record activity at the entrances and exits.

But the EU is also taking action and has commissioned the "Study on safe and secure parking places for trucks". Among other things, the study covers:

  • Determination of the locations of existing and potential truck parks
  • Proposal for an EU-wide parking standard for security and service
  • Proposal to permit the regular weekly rest period to be taken in the truck again
  • Certificates/certification
  • Interfaces for booking systems

IUMI and GDV were happy to jointly participate in this study. Initial results from the study were presented at a conference in Brussels on 6 November 2018. From the transport insurers' perspective, these are promising, and it is to be hoped that the results of the study will also be put into practice.

The TAPA PSR (Transported Asset Protection Association Parking Security Requirements) should also be mentioned in addition to the EU study. The security programme that applies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa provides for three security levels for truck parks. The link between the TAPA EMEA Incident Information Service and the PSR should be stressed. This offers TAPA members the opportunity to plan the route of the truck on the basis of the location of secure truck parks while avoiding crime hotspots. This is also something that the transport insurers welcome.

Finally, it should be noted that only a network of secured truck parks can effectively contain cargo theft. After all, the transport must be secure along the entire route, from start to finish.