Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Crime in the Supply Chain Under the Spotlight with Advice to Road Haulage Operators and Shippers

Insurers Put Global Cargo Theft in Perspective
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – The TT Club can always be relied upon to produce an interesting analysis of any given situation with regard to the movement of goods, or indeed any matters concerning the supply chain, as its members have a financial interest in minimising claims which might affect the insurance premiums of the future. This month the Club has taken a look both at theft which, as it represents around 10% of claims by both volume and cost, is a subject suitable for examination, and specifically road haulage crime.

One of the results of the TT Club’s investigations is that thefts vary, not only by month (October it seems is a villains favourite, in the run up to Christmas perhaps?) but by day of the week, with Thursday the most likely time to lose goods, and the weekend a comparatively quiet period in the misappropriation industry. This is somewhat surprising as theft from trailers and containers whilst parked up is an all too common occurrence and the weekend is a time when many vehicles are likely to be unattended.

This situation has led to many shippers moving goods by road forbidding subcontracting and to include in contracts of carriage specific rules on leaving trucks unattended, stipulating ‘secure’ parking and even double manning. The practicalities of secure parking are however not so simple. Firstly the driver must be made aware of his or her specific responsibilities, however the legal restraints on hours of service and the paucity of proper secure truck stops in many parts of the world can make a nonsense of such preconditions.

As to the general situation, thieves must never be underestimated as to their viciousness or when it comes to the devious, and sometimes dangerous methods they are prepared to employ. The TT article cites the case of a Romanian gang operating on Dutch motorways which would match the speed of their vehicle to a moving truck and, whilst in the driver’s blind spot, gain access to the cargo via the rear doors!

The TT Club points out that cargo theft is a truly international industry and that, despite hotspots, this type of crime will emerge whenever and wherever opportunity presents itself to the criminals. With modern technology, such as cargo trackers often invisible to a miscreants eyes, the possibilities for loss can be somewhat mitigated, but constant vigilance and proper preparations are the real weapons against a criminal industry which spans the world.