Transport Companies Alerted to the Importance of Suitable Truck Locks & Vehicle Seals
The recent strike action by French ferry workers has once again thrust the issue of illegal stowaways back into public focus. Whilst scenes of increasingly desperate migrants accessing moving trucks succeeded in delivering the required shock factor, the truth is that this threat is nothing new.
The population of migrants now living rough in Calais and the surrounding area has reached an estimated 3,000. Drivers travelling this gauntlet on a regular basis have become accustomed to fending off unwanted passengers. It is a risk to their livelihood for it is not just hauliers that are accountable in the event stowaways are found on board a vehicle, drivers are personally liable for fines of up to £1,000.
Supply Chain in Danger of Collapse
Whilst it is true the threat of stowaways is hardly a new phenomenon it would be fair to say the issue is reaching a tipping point – the FTA (Freight Transport Association) go as far as to say ‘the supply chain is in danger of collapsing.’ The number of people trying to illegally enter the UK now stands at 41,000, an astonishing increase of some 249% since 2012/13 and this figure represents only detected persons, we may never know the full extent of the problem.
The Fresh Produce Consortium says it’s members are having to throw away some £2million a month of produce imported to the UK due to ‘contamination.’ In fact so damaging has this become that transport operators are now threatening to boycott the Calais-Dover crossing. Arguably this is somewhat of a hollow threat, other routes carry similar if not more significant risk.
At Harwich for example, where as recently as June 6th 68 stowaways were found on board 2 vehicles, control and inspection of loads is less stringent than Calais. Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, claimed that only 6% of the 4million lorries passing through Harwich each year are stopped and searched.
Transport Companies Responsabilities – The Legal Implications
The Government, who have recently committed a further £12 million in a bid to increase security, are clear in their stance that carriers are ultimately responsible for their vehicles and their contents. Failure to demonstrate that sufficient efforts have been made to prevent clandestine entrants and employ an ‘effective security system’ will result in fines of up to £2,000 per entrant.
Official guidance from the Home Office cites an ‘effective system’ as follows;
- Robust security devices to effectively secure the vehicle, load and load space
- Written instructions for drivers on how to use the system
- Training for drivers on how to use the system and security devices
- Giving vehicle security checklists to drivers
- Checking that drivers are following the instructions
Click here for more detail on potential fines and the governments code of practice on preventing clandestine entrants.
Take Control & Secure your Vehicles
Transport companies must address their legal obligations but the real challenge faced is in trying to maintain client contracts and confidence. Increasingly customers are becoming impatient in the lack of suitable security solutions employed during transit and frustrated by the lack of progress – ultimately those who react quickest will undoubtedly reap rewards.
Despite the increasing threat, many transport companies are continuing to take risks by failing to employ adequate security solutions – indeed some hauliers are even failing to use the most basic of locks or seals to protect their assets. Influential trade bodies and associations such as BIFA (British International Freight Association) and TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association) are calling on the trucking industry to play their part by reducing the vulnerability of vehicles and trailers by making improvements to unsuitable locking systems and insufficient security measures.
Maple Fleet Services provide a host of commercial vehicle security solutions that protect against undetected clandestine entrants. Our range of high security vehicle locking solutions provide greater protection to vehicle load areas in the form of robust physical security locks as well as automatic electronic truck seals that monitor and prove integrity of a load.
Maple IQ: High security locking and integrated seal with remote access control
Integritas: Maple’s new range of integrated electronic sealing and self-powered locking solutions