Wednesday, October 13, 2021

New European Standard to Ensure Safer Truck Parking is Welcomed

As Driver Shortage Continues So Improvements Are Essential
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – Right across the world the need for Safe and Secure Truck Parking Areas (SSTPAs) is paramount as levels of vehicle crime escalate. It is twelve years since New York driver Jason Rivenburg was murdered whilst parked at night for a mere $7, a crime that led to a campaign by his widow Hope, and several senators, to improve things in the US.

In the UK and elsewhere however the talk goes on despite such as the Road Haulage Association (RHA) lobbying for improvements. Now at least the politicians in Europe have decided to tackle the mish-mash of rules and regulations which mean security regulations currently mean a variety of things. Standards demanded by such as insurance companies before they will agree claims are often at variance with those considered acceptable by local authorities.

Now the pressing need for one set of guidelines has led to a proposed EU standard which has been designed to cover both security and service requirements. These two elements are strongly interrelated, and both have the potential to contribute significantly to the modernisation of the sector in Europe and the safety and well-being of drivers.

Studies by the EU over the past few years highlighted the problems and now there are to be four categories of audit certificate achievable by truck parks, from bronze through to platinum. Special attention has been paid to ensure female drivers, an ever increasing part of the workforce, are catered for. The requirements of each class of certificate can be seen HERE.

There are of course some looser categories of certification already in force, including the LABEL system, and these can transfer to the new standards by proving the existing facilities have been independently audited with any further requirements added on after a further limited audit.

Cargo theft in the EU costs an estimated €8.2 billion per annum with the bulk of that being from long haul trucks parked overnight, often in laybys or secluded sites like the abandoned gas station where Jason Rivenburg lost his life. Now, with the reports from such as the Experts group on Safe and Secure Parking Areas for Trucks (E03642), it seems the EU is actually going to do something at a time when drivers are fleeing the industry across the continent.

The proposals are now set to be written into EU Law through a Delegated Act in the remit of the EU Driving and Rest Time rules, part of the Commission’s Mobility Package 1 and the progress has been praised by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA EMEA) which fights to minimise cargo losses from the supply chain by helping its members manage risk and achieve the highest levels of supply chain resilience.

TAPA EMEA’s own Parking Security Requirements (PSR) Standard was created three years ago based on the Association’s knowledge of the business reality facing supply chains as well as its understanding of what customers of secure parking places will accept. Thorsten Neumann, President and CEO of TAPA in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region praised the latest EU move, saying:

“We support all initiatives, standards and regulatory requirements which promote the safety and security of people, goods, equipment and services in the global supply chain as long as they are affordable, easy-to-adopt, fit-for-purpose and sustainable. We will progress faster if we all work together.

”TAPA EMEA supports the introduction of the EU SSTPA because urgent action is needed to support the resilience of road transport supply chains in Europe, minimise the level of cargo crime, and, of course, protect the safety of truck drivers. The capacity for secure truck parking will not meet demand for many years but this is a positive step forward. TAPA EMEA estimates the industry has a shortfall of over 2,000 secure truck stops and over 400,000 parking bays in Europe.

“The EU Standard shares the objectives of TAPA EMEA’s Parking Security Requirements (PSR) in promoting and facilitating the growth and use of classified secure truck parking. We, therefore, will actively support the adoption of either of the Standards. There are similarities in requirements between the two Standards, but there are differences in approach.

”So, it’s not a case of which standard is best, but more a decision for each operator on which standard best suits their needs. The overwhelming priority, at a time when we are seeing severe driver shortages across Europe, is to deliver a safer and more secure operating environment for drivers, trucks and cargoes. On this, we all agree.”

Neumann of course hits the vital point in his statement, there are simply not enough places to park a truck overnight right across the continent. Unless it is made attractive for potential operators of such facilities, all the standards in the world will not resolve the problem, in fact higher standards could effectlvely dissuade some from entering the business. The need to encourage investment remains paramount.