I interviewed Daniel Ekwall who discussed Cargo Theft at Non-Secure Parking Locations.










And I’m looking forward today to hearing your views on cargo theft at non-secure parking locations.


Yeah, thank you, Dustin. Thank you. Very nice for you to offer this opportunity. Always nice to talk to you.


Yes. And can you talk a little bit about cargo theft at these locations? What is the problem that you see?


When it comes to cargo theft in general, it’s a problem. It’s quite easy to find incident reports just to make the quick indoor check, type “cargo theft” in Google and you will dramatically see a number of incidents reported there. Which means that there is a problem? Also it’s an EU report based on the EU from 2007, if I remember correct; pointing out that the potential losses in EU due to cargo theft is from 8.2 billion euros annually.

So we’re talking about a large amount of money. And to that we should also add reports stating different numbers from U.S. and for East Asia, but we can clearly point out a large amount of money. What is interesting with the non-secure parking is that normally it’s put forward, especially in EU, that there is a security gap in non-secure parking because there aren’t a few secure parkings in Europe. There have been a few EU projects looking into this feature, but not really the research behind to point forward that there are specific problems with cargo theft at non-secure parkings. So with thanks to TAPA EMEA and their excellent database on incidents, my colleague Bjorn Elance at Chalmers University of Technology and myself calculated and looked into this field.

And find, and not surprisingly, that there are big problems with thefts linked to non-secure parking. But it is more a volume problem than an impact problem. With that, I mean quite clearly that the average losses due to theft in non-secure parking are of a lesser value than the mean value for losses. And the frequency or the likelihood that it happens is higher than the average to all different locations that define the TAPA EMEA database. It doesn’t mean that we should look into them less as a volume crime, but we should understand that it is a volume crime, which means that the preventive effects needs to be linked to that.


How can this problem be addressed?


Quite, it’s several different actions that need to go together. The most obvious response to this, which is also the response that comes from the EU project looking into secure parkings, is to create parking spaces that are considered secure. Now that may sound simple and straightforward, and yes, it is simple and straightforward and it solves lots of problems. Then comes into the question, what is actually a parking space that is considered secure? How high need the fence be? Do we need to have guards? Do we need to have cameras and all these other things? Can we link this to other facilities and truck drivers need, which means toilets, restaurants, fuel stations and so on? Normally, this problem falls back to the cost, because nobody really wants to pay for it.

Normally put forward on the EU is ten euros a night to stop these non-secure parking places. Which means that you need to in a risk management firm compare the certain cost of ten euros a night against the uncertain costs for loss, which is also shared with the insurance companies and all that? So it’s, that is a straightforward. What we also can do, is to avoid having soft trailers, which means to go to hard trailers, which means it becomes slightly more difficult from a pure technical point of view for a thief to break into the truck. That’s the first step. We can also go into ideas like scheduling transports so when you have interesting cargo loaded on a truck, you make sure that you utilize the driving hours the right way so you don’t need to stop. You can use dual drivers so they can just change driver and have goods continue moving, and thereby not having the possibility or need to stop at any places. So there are a few things you can do, but normally it comes back to the actual risk compared to the actual cost.


Where have you seen some success?


There are initiatives popping up, different organizations in the EU, primarily logistics service providers are linking their movement of goods to locations that they consider secure. We also have initiatives which looks into these types of secure parking places and says, well here you should stop and so on. There are ranking systems. I think the label ranking system is the most well known. It doesn’t say it’s good, but it’s well known. It’s a classification saying that if you have this type of security, you have this ranking on security. But it’s a different, creates a wall, as I said in the beginning, a fence around, does it mean that it’s one meter high? Does it mean three meters high with barbed wire on top? It’s not clear, so sometimes it put forwards that what is stated as being a fence, if you visit the parking place, well, it’s something that you can just step over with no problem. So it’s not really a secure parking place in that sense. On the other hand, we also just don’t need to focus only on the fence occurring at the non-secure parking, because this is not, they are planning shipments anyway so thieves actually can attack them. They’re using the stops due to the increased road transport in EU. You can see from EU statistics that we have increased the rates for transportation in Europe for road transport. Also, you’re seeing in the cost or what people are willing to pay for road transport in the EU is going slightly down per ten kilometers, which means that we will see more movement of goods to road transport from other modes, which will increase this problem because we will have more available cargo actually to attack in more places than in non-secure parking places.


Do you have any final recommendations?


Quite simple. Understand what you’re shipping, where you’re shipping. Because there are, in the paper we are not looking into the geographical differences in threat level, because the data doesn’t really allow us to do that. But I know from previous experience and also from lots of discussions with security experts in the field that there are big differences in EU where cargo thefts occur, and how they occur and so on. You can find really interesting reports from different organizations about this topic. I think that Freight Watch is one of the most detailed of this available, and it’s published annually. Which means that we need to understand the localized part of the threat, which also is leaning to what is actually is interesting to steal. Because not all products are interesting to steal in all places in EU. Which means that we need to understand where and what we’re transporting, and thereby we can actually have the right level of security. Because we need to realize in the end of the day that security costs and nobody is really wanting an increased transportation cost.


Well thank you, Daniel, for sharing today.


Thank you very much. It’s always interesting to talk to you and to present something that you think you know something about.


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About Daniel Ekwall





Daniel Ekwall


Associate Professor In Supply Chain Management at Hanken


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