THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTING CARGO AND THE MEASURES THAT CAN BE TAKEN TO PROTECT IT
Cargo security is a vital part of the logistics supply chain. When goods are stored at manufacturing facilities, warehouses and end destinations, security is taken very seriously. Such measures include high security fences, CCTV and 24 hour security guards. The main issue with security, however, begins when the goods become cargo, to be transported between locations by road. The security of the cargo is significantly compromised when its only protection is a cheap padlock or a thin PVC trailer curtain. For this reason, criminals see road cargo as the weak link in the supply chain.
Cargo theft is nothing new; it has been a security issue for as long as goods and materials have been transported from one place to another. The scale of the problem within the logistics industry is getting bigger with organised gangs making the most of the low risk/high reward opportunities from cargo crime along with the conviction rate being extremely low compared to other forms of crime. According to a European Parliament report there is over €8.2bn worth of cargo stolen across the EU every year, and this figure does not include the large amount that goes unreported.
In the last year, a growing issue to cargo security has been from immigrants and refugees attempting to stow away in trailers and entering the UK or other countries illegally. Food-related cargo is especially at risk from this threat due to load contamination with millions of euros worth of fresh fruit and veg being dumped over the past year.
Cargo Defenders Ltd is a logistics security company that specialises in security systems designed to monitor and protect cargo transported by road.
Aidan Robb, MD of Cargo Defenders Ltd, said: “We started Cargo Defenders back in 2012 when I discovered the problem the logistics industry was facing with cargo theft. We first looked at the most vulnerable method of transporting cargo by road, which is of course curtain-sided trailers. Curtain-sided trailers are a commonly used trailer within the logistics industry to transport goods and materials from A to B. They are popular as they are lightweight and easily loaded and unloaded from either side of the trailer. The trailers are covered at their sides with a thin PVC material. The trailer curtain is not designed for security of the cargo, their purpose is load restraint and protecting the cargo from the elements. The trailer curtain offers no protection at all from cargo thieves.
“If cargo transported by road is the weak link in the supply chain, then robbing a curtain-sided trailer is like taking candy from a baby, candy worth hundreds of thousands of euros, that is. Curtain slashing is one of the most common methods used by cargo thieves, because all that is needed to gain access to thousands of euros of cargo is a cheap knife or box cutter. With our experience in working with curtain-sided trailers, and with our background in electronics, we decided to solve the security problem that is transporting goods in curtain-sided trailers and set out to develop a robust and reliable security and monitoring system.”
Cargo Defenders Ltd developed an advanced alarm and monitoring system designed to protect curtain-sided trailers from all access points (top, back and sides,) preventing cargo thieves and illegal immigrants from gaining access to the trailer. The system, designed to protect all possible access points into the trailer, turns a standard curtain-sider into a high security method of transporting cargo. The security system’s main feature is the innovative smart trailer curtains, which are patent pending and designed to detect any form of tampering. Should a thief attempt to gain access to the cargo by cutting the curtain, the inbuilt sensor will immediately activate the ‘slash and trigger’ security response. All other potential entry points are also monitored by the system including the curtain poles, back door, roof and tail lift.
Once triggered, the system sets off a high decibel alarm to deter the intruder. It then sends an immediate notification to the client via their online security platform – showing exactly where and when the incident occurred. It also sends an alert to a list of preprogrammed contacts. This information is logged and saved on the system and can be accessed from any computer or smart phone with internet access; allowing fleet owners to monitor and control the location and security of their entire fleet in real time.
The Cargo Defenders security platform is a highly useful tool for fleet managers; along with monitoring for alarms and alerts, the system has full GPS trailer tracking features and records all of the trailer’s activities including where, when and for how long a trailer curtain or door is opened. It can also inform the manager of any trailer openings outside of set times and/or locations.
Aidan Robb also said: “When developing the system, we first looked at what’s already available to protect curtain-siders, we soon discovered there wasn’t a lot out there. The most protection available was reinforced curtains but these only slowed down an opportunistic thief and offered little protection from someone determined to gain access. We wanted to develop a system that detects, instantly, when someone is tampering with the trailer. This has two benefits; the first is the moment a thief attempts to cut the curtain or opens a door the system springs into action and sets off two, 120 decibel sirens. Once these sirens are blasting the outside and inside of the trailer, no-one is going to hang about for very long. The second benefit is the system instantly sends an alert to the control centre or programmed contacts through our online security platform enabling them to send police to the exact location ASAP.”
Cargo Defenders Ltd have since developed a range of security systems to monitor and protect cargo being transported in:
- Curtain-Sided Trailers;
- Box Trailers;
- Refrigerated Trailers; and
- Cargo Vans.
And have protected cargo such as:
- High Value Cargo;
- Tobacco Products;
- Cash transports; and
- Food Products.
Cargo Defenders systems are used by well known companies such as G4S Security