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A European outlook on cargo security


I recently had the opportunity to attend the European Transport Forum in Brussels, Belgium which explored, among other things, cargo theft prevention practices in Europe. Based on the tone of the discussion, the Europeans seem confident they are well ahead of us North Americans when it comes to implementing anti-theft policies. However, they still admit to having room for improvement. Here’s a quick snapshot of what was discussed:
As it is here at home, cargo theft is a major concern for the European trucking industry. To be more precise, it’s a 8.2 billion Euro problem for the industry. Hanss Persson, manager transport services with Volvo Technology, urged forum delegates to tackle four key challenges: Creating a more reliable statistical database to track cargo theft; harmonize security efforts through various European jurisdictions; develop a European program focusing on theft that incorporates shippers, insurers, carriers and security companies; and to breach the gap between terror security and cargo theft.
Jason Breakwell took the opportunity to raise awareness of the Transported Asset Protection Association. The (http://tapaemea.com/public/) is aimed at exchanging intelligence and best practices in an effort to reduce cargo theft and improve vehicle security. In Europe, TAPA has more than 200 members and shippers are increasingly demanding their carriers are involved in the program. Breakwell said the greatest risk of a cargo loss is while it’s on the road. Road transport is seen as the weakest link in the supply chain, he said.
Also addressing the forum was Magnus Ovilius, head of Preparedness and Crisis Management with the European Union. Ovilius struck some fear into delegates with reports on the advancements being made by cargo thieves and terrorists. “I may sound paranoid but they pay me to be paranoid,” he quipped. He said security measures must be “affordable, sustainable and reliable.” Ovilius discussed technological requirements for helping improve vehicle and cargo security. He said new technology must be: Inter-operable between European Union member countries; easily upgradeable; and data must be protected to avoid privacy invasions. He encouraged carriers to employ GPS tracking capabilities.


James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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