Transport logistics companies are increasingly working with private security professionals to help them detect, mitigate and react to risk.
Certainly, the more recent spate of truck hijackings at the Port of Durban, the largest and busiest shipping terminal on the continent, has again exposed severe vulnerabilities in supply chains.
The Hawks have been investigating syndicates in the area that are believed to be behind the many truck hijackings.
Worryingly, it also believes that these criminal organisations are working with port employees to help them steal valuable cargo in transit. This is despite the National Ports Authority having noted publically that these hijacking have not occurred within its jurisdiction.
In early 2018, R2-million worth of frozen meat was stolen during a cold-storage container truck heist outside Durban harbour.
The stolen property was recovered a few days later by the Reaction Unit South Africa in a Mount Edgecombe warehouse.
This follows the recovery of a stolen trailer loaded with a shipping container carrying 24 tons of chicken in Verulam, also an industrial area in KwaZulu-Natal.
In 2017, a truck carrying precious cargo was hijacked outside another national key point of entry and exit, namely O.R. Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
The truck was hijacked outside the “Super South” gate after departing from an area where valuable goods, such as currency, are stored.
It is claimed that many of the hijacking cases in this area have been facilitated by airport employees and even corrupt police officials.
The alleged involvement of corrupt South African Police Service representatives in truck hijackings remains a serious concern for transport logistics companies.
More recently, both a captain and a constable were arrested for their purported participation in the hijacking of a truck on a section of the N12 in Ekurhuleni in the very early hours of the morning.
They were seen escorting the very truck that was hijacked in a marked police vehicle and in full uniform when the crime was committed.
Meanwhile, it is not only high value goods that are at risk of being stolen while in transit. Even coal transported from collieries by thousands of trucks every day to Eskom’s fleet of power stations has become “hot” property for sophisticated syndicates that are being backed by significant financial resources.
These crimes are costing the economy significantly, while having a profound negative impact on all participants in the entire supply chain, spanning the manufacturer or producer through to the end user of the goods.
Among the damages incurred by trucking companies are increased insurance premiums to safeguard against financial losses in an industry that is already grappling with high and uncontrollable input costs.
One of the challenges that third-party logistics providers continue to face is the lack of focus, as well as skills and capabilities they need to proactively counter the increasingly sophisticated methods used by syndicates to steal cargo in transit.
Their control rooms, tracking and fleet-management systems and staff at both operational and management levels are mainly focused on keeping trucks moving and generating profits for the business.
Enterprising transporters are, therefore, partnering experts to help them develop, implement and operate a comprehensive security solution that is based upon appropriate intelligence-driven tactical awareness to guide risk-mitigation strategies.
Such strategies, for example, also consider the very real risk of employees “turning” at any given point in time, despite the most robust recruitment protocols already in place within an organisation.
Importantly, these security specialists are also able to assist their clients in developing a target-value reduction plan that involves diverting attention to mitigate risk.
Another layer of protection is the deployment of experienced armed escorts who blend into the environment and communicate effectively to provide a psychological advantage over potential hijackers.
Importantly, they are trained to handle any transport situation, taking into consideration many factors, such as vehicle congestion, insider collusion, as well as the types of trucks and routes used to transport the load.
Havensec Solutions works with many different companies, among them leading transporters, to develop, implement and operate state-of-the-art security solutions.
This holistic offering includes private and civil investigations; polygraphing; surveillance and information gathering; off-site monitoring; covert cameras; undercover agents; debugging, personal body-guarding; and armed escorts.