Bridgewater Logistics has always maintained the view that a comprehensive transport and logistics solution needs input from security specialists.
This is exactly why key positions in the company are only held by people who also have a long background in security and related fields.
These skills and capabilities play an essential role in conceptualising a logistics solution that also takes into consideration real security risks to safeguard clients’ goods in transit right from the point of departure to the final destination.
Quinton de Villiers, managing director of Bridgewater Logistics, says this ability has been a major differentiator for the company, especially at a time where there has been a noticeable rise in both truck hi-jacking and theft of goods in South Africa.
“This trend has continued unabated over the past 17 years, but there has definitely been a spike in activity of late. Even a transporter’s own property, including tyres, fuel and tri-axle trailers, is now also at risk when travelling on some of our roads,” warns De Villiers.
De Villiers has held high-ranking positions in South Africa’s security forces before venturing into the African transport and logistics industry, and he and his team continue to apply their combined knowledge to also help pre-empt and forecast trends to better assist clients in the safe carriage of their cargo.
He notes that these crimes are also no longer being perpetrated by thugs who use surprise and firepower, but rather the work of skilfully planned and co-ordinated operations by sophisticated syndicates that are often far ahead of the technology curve.
Yet, there are still many companies that entrust inexperienced transporters with their product, despite the high risk involved. In many instances, their drivers have not undergone defensive training, nor are they equipped with even the most basic equipment needed to successfully track, or help relocate the stolen cargo. Another real risk is the penetration of their businesses by representatives of these syndicates who leak classified information.
De Villiers notes that this year, alone, has seen two more routes added to an already long list of so-called “hot-spots” in the country, and he expects the situation to deteriorate considering the very challenging economic and volatile political climate.
More recently, incidences on the N2 between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, as well as multiple roads within the vicinity of OR Tambo International Airport have come under the spotlight.
“In both instances, transporters and their clients have incurred major losses, and it seems that many transporters and their customers are merely reacting to the status quo, as opposed to adopting a more pro-active approach that is based on a thorough background in security,” concludes the managing director.