A European Approach to Tackling Cargo Theft

The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates cargo theft costs the U.S. more than $30 billion each year. Europe, too, faces the challenge of tackling this crime. In fact, the European Union (EU) reports that theft of high value products moved throughout European supply chains costs businesses more than 8.2 billion euros each year.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 3,756 incidents of cargo crime worth more than 170.6million euros were reported in 2008. More than 70 percent of those took place in the United Kingdom. A study conducted by the European Parliament indicates that more than 30 percent of all thefts of cargo and freight vehicles in the EU take place in parking areas.

Even with these already staggering figures, the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), a Netherlands-based association of security professionals and transportation companies developed to address emerging security threats, expects worldwide cargo theft will increase with the global economic downturn.

In efforts to curb rising cargo theft and also address an international shortage of parking, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and Transport completed a pilot project known as the Secure European Truck Parking Operational Services (SETPOS). The objective was threefold: Define a common standard for secure truck parking, construct a network of secured truck parking areas in transborder regions and establish an information and reservation platform regarding the location of suitable parking areas. Four secured sites now are recognized under the project; two in Germany, and one each in France and the United Kingdom.

The European Parliament’s study indicates that secured parking areas tend to have much lower crime figures. However, demand for highly secured and expensive “freight forts” remains limited outside of highly populated areas. Because consumers largely demand free parking facilities that provide basic security, the study recommends government parking subsidies to promote the establishment of more high-security parking facilities.

Luc Van Herck, a transport security specialist with Nike and the Secure Parking Standard Lead on the Board of TAPA for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview that the European Security Standard for Truckstops established three security levels ranging from “secure” to “high secure.” Each involves the following measures deemed critical:

• Separate truck parking from other vehicles and pedestrians by a perimeter clear of obstacles on both sides, with an unobstructed view.

• Control entries and exits either electronically or by manned control posts with barriers.

•Monitor parking through closed-circuit television, either on or off-site.

•Hire security guards to patrol the parking facility.

• Establish a set of response procedures in case of alarm.


This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations and provides context on trends and news affecting the industry.

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Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman's photo

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.More
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