Security is an ever pertinent issue for road transport, with recent innovations and technology offering solutions as well as new challenges.
The role of governments in ensuring general security is critical and a basic obligation. Also, cooperation on security matters between the public and private sectors can be extremely effective.
Increasing the security of road transport operations goes hand in hand with developing efficient logistics systems, whereby operators constantly strive to improve quality, safety and security without compromising transparency, efficiency and sustainability.
It is essential to strike a proper balance between security and the facilitation of formalities and procedures, in particular at borders. Existing security/facilitation instruments, such as the TIR customs transit system, should therefore be used to the maximum.
Fraud in customs transit systems, or anywhere in the logistics chain, should be fought by all stakeholders, i.e. by public authorities, road transport associations and transport operators themselves, as fraud is often the precursor to more serious crime. In order to avoid over-regulation in this field, the security measures taken at the road transport industry's initiative should also be duly recognised.
Security policies must be information-based as rational and effective measures to enhance security can only be based on reliable information and a sound understanding of international crime and terrorism, and of security-related risks and intelligence.
IRU is working on the issue with a number of current services, initiatives, guidelines and training programmes for the industry.
IRU has developed many partnerships in the area of security. This includes partnerships with Member Associations, with governmental organisations such as the European Commission (EC), Member States, and with non-governmental organisations. On the topic of irregular migration, IRU recently actively participated in a CEDR (the European Organisation of Road Authorities) workshop on transmigration which brought different stakeholders together to assess the situation and see what more could be done. IRU also spoke at a European Parliament event on border controls in 2017.
Studies, recommendations and guidelines
IRU has worked on several studies in this area, including a joint IRU-ITF survey on attacks on international drivers, published in 2008. The results showed that over a five-year period, one in six drivers were the victims of attacks by pirates or international organised crime, the majority of which (more than 60%) in insecure parking and service areas.
Road freight transport security has been a key priority for IRU over the years with many advocacy efforts and services produced to help members (such as security resolutions, security manuals, awareness initiatives and cooperation with partners). These include: IRU Road Transport Security Guidelines published in 2004, Security Advice developed with ITF in 2016, Guidelines to prevent fuel theft from 2014, the Vehicle Checklist developed in 2011 with UICR and Guidelines for the Safe Use of Freight Exchanges from 2013.
IRU is working hard to encourage security awareness and training. The IRU Academy is currently partnering with the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) to provide training on security from the point of view of the driver. There will be two modules available, one for drivers of general goods and one for drivers in the HVVT area. (Available soon).
TRANSPark is a free-of-charge IRU app that helps commercial drivers and road transport managers search, locate and contact parking areas in some 40 countries worldwide. It lists the security features and amenities available within each parking area and adds an extra level of security and comfort for drivers, who have to follow strict driving and rest time rules that sometimes force them to stop at unsafe roadsides or insecure parking areas.
CORE is a four-year project aimed at improving security all along the goods supply chain. The initiative seeks to achieve this via risk assessment, tracking and better traceability. Working within the EU, CORE aims to put together a global system designed to tackle security in the supply chain.
By joining forces with all EU Member States, IRU is trying to reduce the EUR 8.2 billion or so losses that result from cargo and truck theft. In addition to purely financial losses, companies also suffer damage to their brand image, investigation costs and insurance premiums.
Reporting and follow-up of incidents
In 2010, IRU developed the Basic International Incident Report Form (BIIRF) with the idea of improving the “reporting culture” of incidents, to ensure proper follow-up and to allow authorities and stakeholders to develop an accessible set of data that provides clear information on incidents occurring during transport activities. Based on successful advocacy efforts by IRU and key IRU members, the European Committee for Standardization has now also developed a reporting form for criminal incidents (CEN standard 16352 “Logistics – Specifications for reporting crime incidents”) which to a large extent reflects the original IRU BIIRF.