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Bermuda Triangle – European Highways

Montag, 26 November 2018

Cargo theft continues to increase, but is there any means to resist it?

Press article for the trade magazine StraGü, November 2018

Actually the Bermuda Triangle is located in the Atlantic sea in front of North America and has got his mysterious reputation because of traceless disappeared ships and aeroplanes. This was an inspiration fountain for many authors of adventurous novels about unexplainable occurrences in our consistently controlled and enlightened society to write about. Indeed are the numbers of disasters in the real Bermuda triangle NOT noticeable higher than on other places.
The Bermuda Triangle in the last years for Carriers and Hauliers is not the Atlantic sea but rather in front of the European doorstep.
Beside the daily challenges in the transport business to be economical successful, many carriers are confronted more and more with rising criminality on the highways and the consequences accruing with this situation.
The European parliament evaluates the loss amounts based on cargo thefts in the European Union with 8,3 Milliards! Of Euro in the year 2017!
At least an enormous sum whereupon it would be quite interesting, where those cargo thefts occurred.

 

Data

4% Hijacking
5% Thefts from fanced property
8% Theft from warehouses
8% Embezzlement from so-called Fake Carriers
11% parked Trailers
64% Cargo thefts from public parking areas

 

Based on those data as well as the experience or asko assekuranzmakleer GmbH the biggest risk of thefts is during the rest periods. Of course there are a lot of approaches to reduce the shipment thefts, the most named are:

  • More secured parking places
  • A higher awareness from the loading places about the real situation on the roads
  • Better equipment of the trailers e.g. Box trailers, cut resistance tarpaulins, alarm systems
  • A much higher sensibility of the political decision maker on European level e.g. the police should get more human resources and better technical equipment.

 

Facts

Unfortunately it is still fact, for example in Germany exists only 5 (in words five) real secured parking places for trucks on the highways the are booked in advance usually for a long term. Furthermore there are a couple of -so named- secured parking places, were the security standards are specified by the owners themselves. Praxis shows, that this means often only a compounded area in the best case with a camera and a gate for income and outgoing controls.

E.g. the security guard you are searching in vain but we have a webpage were the equipment in the parking places can be checked: https://www.iru.org/apps/transpark-app.

 

The parking place misery along the highways is the reason why Trucks often escape into industrial areas near the highways and park their trucks lonesome at the wayside. Contrary to the circumstance, that highway parking places are naturally busy and so it makes it more difficult for the alleged offenders to keep undiscovered, the thieves have an easy job in the unilluminated and calm industrial area. Our daily experience working on those claims shows us, that the drivers let occur the thefts – absolutely comprehensible – because of the danger to life and limb.

Just with transportations from middle Europe to Great Britain a lot of carriers have made very bad experience with cargo thefts. The region in Europe with the most cargo thefts – therefor Bermuda Triangle – extend from the German Rheinland via Northern France and Belgium to Great Britain. Only in this region public authorities registered over 14 thousand Cargo Thefts in the year 2017!! This is aggravated by the fact that stowaways with the aim to pass unnoticed to Great Britain try to get on the truck. Accordingly the carriers are arranging their routes without a rest minimum 200 Kilometres in front of the canal coast but also the offenders knows about this. Conspicuously often cargo thefts take place at the edge of the 200 Kilometre zone around the canal coast, mostly in Belgium and England. In fact there are a lot of much used Transit routes cruising the small and populous Country of Belgium. That means for the offenders an easy, unrecognised way to take the stolen goods across the borders and also the seaway offers a good possibility of disposing the “hot” goods.

In those cases the multinational criminal syndicates benefits from limited territorial responsibility of the respective policy department and sometimes sad to say also from their indignation. Our experience shows that the cross border cooperation of the national police departments is not operating, or in the best cases only with restrictions. From the 3000 cargo thefts in Belgium the percentage of cases solved has been 17 % - a really unacceptable quote!

 

Figures

Now everybody is certainly curious about what are the most wanted product groups of the mainly very good organized gangs of thieves:

  1. Footstuff / Beverages 16 %
  2. Electrical Equipment 16 %
  3. Carparts / Tyres 13 %
  4. Textiles 13 %
  5. Household Products 11 %
  6. Metals 10 %

 

An especially adverse trend we have unfortunately observed in Great Britain. The appropriate criminality is particularly high in the urban centres of London, Birmingham and Manchester, where you can find a lot of industrial areas and distribution centres. In the British medias Nottinghamshire located in the south of Manchester is called “UK`s crime hotspot for lorries”. In the first Quarter of 2018 the number of cargo thefts was rising in comparison with the year before with 6,3 % to 454 indicated occurrences. The resulted Loss is declared with 1,10 Mio. British Pounds. Experts criticises, that the British Police Authorities are not investigating in the expected efforts and dimensions, in addition an abstract of thefts in Great Britain that are known to us and happened in Mai 2018:

 

10.05.2018 – Luton, Bredfordshiere – Clothes worth EUR 96.517

10.05.2018 -  Shepshed, Leichestershire – Car Parts worth EUR 54.897

11.05.2018 - Castle Doningtan, Leicestershire – Tyres worth EUR 74.340

22.05.2018 – Wheatley, Oxfordshire – Car Parts worth EUR 85.553

22.05.2018 – Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire – Groupage worth EUR 51.332

23.05.2018 – Lockington, Derbyshire – Coffee machines worth EUR 51.121

24.05.2018 - Stanford le Hope, Essex- Wine worth EUR 80.025

29.05.2018 – Tiffield, Northamptonshire- Electrical Articles worth EUR 74.154

 

Experts’ advices to take secured parking place with those loadings to avoid cargo thefts but secondary to the fact, that there are too less secured parking areas in GB as well, the owner of the goods are not willing to pay for it. The parking space in a secured place costs in average round about EUR 25/day and this is manageable! When it is compared with the Cargo value it will be properly one tenth of a percent …but – If the carrier has 40 Trucks and he decided to send them all on secured parking places there will be daily costs of EUR 1.000 due to the keen competition on the transport marked it is not always possible for the carrier to hand over these costs to the purchaser.

 

Thoughts

Since a couple of years the carriers are equipping their curtain side trailers with cut resistant tarpaulins, what means higher asset costs but a reduction of cargo thefts with this evadable obstacle unfortunately can’t be noticed up to now because the thieves adapted their tools. What means that they made smaller holes instead of long cuts to explore the loaded goods and to evaluate if it is worth to be stolen or not. In case of interesting loadings they break the closed backdoors of the trailer to unload the goods unnoticed.

Of course the trailer industry reacted meanwhile they are offering so named alarm tarpaulins. In case of attempted theft the carrier will be informed via SMS or/and E-mail and acoustic signals try to banish thieves – similar to the engine immobiliser of cars. But who can stay awake for 24 hours waiting for a message like this and how he will have to react?

There are a couple of good rudiments to get solved this problem more and more, but tangible success or future solutions must be arranged on European level from the European Policy. Senseless laws about the topic of driving hours as well as periods of rest, which forces the drivers to take unsecured parking areas and the duty that drivers have to sleep in a Hotel. In this case they often leave the trailer parked somewhere alone because it is not possible to reach hotels with Truck AND Trailer -. This is not the right way. As long as man as such plays a basic role, it will be necessary to find human solutions.

Maybe in the future will be announcement like this: “Alexa bring me a charge of beautiful and cheap tiers” of course with an autonomous driven truck…but in aviation we have the autopilot since a very long time and thanks god we can see still Pilots on the airport!

 

 

Fabian Koller, asko Assekuranzmakler GmbH