Bridgewater Logistics, a leading transport and logistics company, will feature prominently at this year’s Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) working group that will be hosted at Emperor’s Palace on 14 November.
The leading supply-chain management specialist will be presenting on the urgent need for South African companies and their third-party logistics providers to bridge the enormous divide that exists between the transport logistics component of their businesses and real expertise in security.
This is an annual event hosted by TAPA, which comprises international manufacturers, shippers, carriers, insurers, service providers, law enforcement and government agencies all working together to counter cargo theft. Combined, its more than 600 members’ yearly sales are valued at more than US$900-billion.
The association carries out its objectives by transferring knowledge and sharing best practices in transport and logistics security, developing supply-chain security standards, as well as partnering various international government agencies.
This workgroup is being held at a time when TAPA’s Incident Information Services reports a drastic increase in cargo- and hi-jacking-related crimes in the EMEA region.
A total of 151 incidents were recorded in January 2017 compared to 92 in the opening month of last year.
While there has been a sharp increase in cargo theft in the entire EMEA region, South Africa’s high crime levels, including increased incidences of cargo theft and truck hi-jackings, remain a serious concern to industry.
According to national statistics, there was as a 30% rise in cargo truck hi-jackings in 2015. High-valued goods, including pharmaceuticals and luxury items, through to products of a lower value, such as clothing, were targeted in these operations.
17% of the hi-jackings occurred on shipments valued at less than R300 000, compared to 12% of such thefts in 2014.
Incidences of truck and trailer, as well as other transportation assets are also on the rise.
Quinton de Villiers, managing director of Bridgewater Logistics, says that many of the company’s clients are looking for a supply-chain solution that also attempts to counter the many inherent risks in transport and logistics.
De Villiers and key members of his team all have a robust security background, and are also actively involved in managing sister company, Havensec, which specialises in countering cargo theft and other related crimes.
“We draw valuable learning and experience from Havensec. This has been a significant competitive edge for us, considering the rampant rise in this activity in the country. Our clients want to be reassured that their product is safe in our warehouses, or while in transit. This is an extremely specialised field, and there are not many transporters that also have this capability,” De Villiers says.
While Bridgewater Logistics deploys a host of specialist tactics in its operations to protect goods in transit, he says that there are still many companies who entrust their valuable cargo with small third-party transport logistics providers. This has become a growing trend in South Africa in light of the deteriorating economic circumstances.
These third-party logistics service providers are willing to haul at extremely low rates that barely cover the transport component of the contract – let alone the security components of the supply chain.
De Villiers says that he still sees loaded trailers left unattended for extended periods, mirroring the lack of skill and experience of the drivers of many of these companies.
“The basic rule is to keep moving, considering that cargo is even being stolen off trucks crawling up inclines in some areas of the country. Drivers should have a thorough understanding of the trip planning prior to embarking on the journey. They also have to be aware of approved fuel stops, locations to layover, as well as safe and monitored rest stops,” he says.
De Villiers says that all of Bridgewater Logistics’ drivers and those of its partners have been properly identified and undergo regular training to help prevent hi-jacking and cargo theft.
They know to request proper identification and always ensure that they are unloading at the correct location.
In addition, drivers are constantly aware of their surroundings and are always alert while operating their vehicles, or stopping to rest.
He says Bridgewater Logistics also keeps an extensive and up-to-date database on hotspots and high-risk areas, and this information is shared with drivers on an ongoing basis.
The skills and capabilities of drivers are complemented by a variety of technologies. The most basic of which include truck and trailer tracking devices that continuously monitor loads in transit. Vehicle security cameras are also essential tools for corroborating events, and gaining a better understanding of the ever-changing modus operandi of these syndicates.
De Villiers concludes that he is looking forward to this year’s TAPA EMEA workshop, where South African stakeholders in the transport industry will again be exposed to international best practice to help counter a growing problem!