Picture the scene; you’re a driver for a pan-European logistics company. You collected your cargo, signed the manifest and hit the road. After 4 hours continuous driving you arrive at your delivery point, jump out of the cab and realise the seal is broken on your load area doors and half your cargo is missing…but how could that have happened if you never stopped?!
This is no hypothetical situation, it’s a scenario that is presenting itself with all too common regularity across Europe. What started as seemingly tall tales about cargo mysteriously disappearing despite drivers not making any stops en route, has now been confirmed and recognised as a very serious and quickly emerging tactic, employed by organised criminal gangs.
It’s difficult to pin point an exact date, but it’s thought that the first of such reports started circulating from Romania in 2008. What is certain however, is that reported incidents are now on the rise. Dubbed the ‘Romanian MO’, the basic components of the theft feature a criminal gang closely following a loaded truck, whilst an individual climbs onto the back of the truck and passes cargo back to the pursuing vehicle.
At Maple we’ve been helping combat cargo crime for over 40 years, during which time we’ve seen pretty much every trick in the book, but even we were initially sceptical at reports of these hugely dangerous and apparent blatant attacks. The idea of someone climbing out of a moving vehicle positioned just inches behind a HGV travelling at nearly 60 miles per hour and then jumping on to the back of the truck, opening the load doors and passing back boxes of stock – seemed a little far fetched.
Yet despite sounding like a scene straight from the latest Hollywood Blockbuster, the realisation that this new trend of cargo crime has become a reality has sent shockwaves across the global logistics sector. Employing such extreme measures to access load areas means that hauliers and logistics providers must review their security measures and ensure they are fit for purpose.
Perhaps unsurprisingly industry reports suggest that thieves willing to take such high-risks are far from opportunistic and are looking for more than just your regular haul. The correlation between reported incidents and high value loads are clear, typically attacks are against lucrative cargo such as tobacco, pharmaceuticals and electronic items. The problem is also spreading and is now seen as a pan-European problem, the isolated and sporadic cases dating back to 2008 have now been replaced by more regular and widespread activity; German police in North-Rhine Westphalia alone recorded more than 50+ incidents in a the 12-month period between March 2012 to March 2013.
It’s no coincidence that demand in more sophisticated commercial vehicle security systems has risen over the past 2-3 years. Here at Maple Fleet Services we’ve been developing and refining our own unique IQ range of products to aid operators in their bid to combat the rising threat of cargo crime.
Technological advances both in terms of hardware and software means that operators can now tailor a solution to meet their own exacting requirements. Freightlock IQ, which can be fitted to both shutter or barndoor applications offers multi-level protection. The heavy-duty slamlock ensures that when doors are closed they are always locked and sealed, while equipment is installed internally for optimum protection against any attempted attack.
Where the locking system truly comes into it’s own however, is with the reassurance and functionality the access control platform provides. Operators have the ability to remotely lockdown their vehicles from anywhere in the world, temporarily preventing access to the load area even to drivers or other permitted persons (when a vehicle Is in transit). In the unlikely event that a would-be thief manages to overcome the robust physical security, an automatic door open notification is sent to pre-selected personnel.
Criminal gangs are methodical and targeted in their approach, they will exploit any vulnerability in the supply chain they can identify. As this MO proves they will employ outrageous techniques if they are able to exploit a perceived vulnerability, making it more important than ever that operators protect themselves and their business. Contact Maple to discuss your requirements and review the security of your fleet.
Maple Fleet Services