Leading cargo stakeholders at Schiphol Airport have come together and signed a Best Effort declaration to develop a Secure Import program in a fight to reduce criminal activity in air freight. The community of air cargo handling agents and forwarders is working towards even stricter security measures come next year.
CCJ Digital’s blog title in MAY23 reads “Cargo theft, up 41% so far this year, expected to rise for Memorial Day”, and refers to CargoNet data monitoring (mainly road feeder) crime in USA and Canada, comparing 2023 to 2022 (which itself already saw a huge increase in incidents in relation to 2021). Over in Europe, the situation is apparently worse. According to TAPA (the Transported Asset Protection Association (a not-for-profit industry association founded in 1997 to help logistics stakeholders/manufacturers/shippers reduce cargo thefts), of the 13,416 thefts reported worldwide (and the true figure is likely much higher), the majority happened in Europe, with Britain (4,100) and Germany (3,850) combined accounting for 60% of European thefts. In that context, the Netherlands (727) is in fourth place, exceeding its 2019 theft figures of 694, and more than trebling its incidents in comparison to 2021 (just 185 reported thefts).
Trucks are at risk
TAPA also reveals that over 90% of cargo losses reported to the TAPA EMEA Intelligence System (TIS) involve criminal attacks on vehicles. A fact that is confirmed by the logistics companies operating at Schiphol Airport, too. Truckers and their truckloads are vulnerable because of the value of the products that they carry – and oftentimes these can be guessed from the type of truck in operation – a refrigerated truck is likely to contain more expensive cargo. That said, there are different types of cargo theft as illustrated by TAPA and other protection/insurance bodies. These are: Straight Cargo Theft (cargo is physically stolen from a location/facility where it sits – these could be truck stops, parking lots, roadside parking, drop lots and other areas where cargo might be left unattended), Strategic Cargo Theft (using fraud or deception to trick shippers/brokers/carriers into handing over cargo loads to thieves instead of the real forwarder/carrier – this can happen via identity theft, fictitious pick-ups, double brokering scams, fraudulent carriers or any combination of these methods. Peak times when employees are stressed, at the most vulnerable moments), Technology (deploying devices to interfere with the GPS technology in trucks to locate, steal, and then “hide” goods), and finally, Cyber crime (through phishing mails and malware designed to access a company’s sensitive data and use this to arrange fictitious pick-ups, for example.)
A ten-step plan to put an end to it all
Maarten van As, Managing Director, Air Cargo Netherlands, commented: “In response to a number of incidents of theft at Schiphol, together with our partner SmartLOXS and Security Managers at Schiphol, we have developed a ten-step plan to counter theft in the air cargo chain. The ACN pass plays an important role in this. The development and implementation of Secure Import is the final step in the plan and will ensure that Schiphol Airport is a forerunner in the fight against cargo theft.”
While the press release does not elaborate on the contents of the ten-step plan, it does point to the development of a Secure Import chain information system. “Logistics employees must be able to do their job without threats or intimidation,” the release underlines.
The first step already happened last year
In 2022, all air cargo handling agents at Schiphol introduced stricter access regulations for driver visits to their forecourts. This involved an e-Registration prenotification of the driver visiting. The Secure Import information system (part of the airport’s Smart Cargo Mainport Program) that is due to be implemented at the beginning of 2024, will further tighten this registration process, and ensure that only those parties needing to have access to certain information, will actually receive this information. “The ground handler will use Secure Import to advise a forwarder that a shipment is ready for collection. The forwarder can then, within the same system, direct a transporter to pick up the shipment. The Secure Import system checks that these are the correct parties for this particular shipment and informs the ground handler who will be collecting it and when this will happen,” the release explains.
No data manipulation by third parties.
The idea is to prevent outside access and data manipulation. “The new system has a built-in secure e-Visit key relating to the various process steps required for the transfer of a shipment. A driver will be given the cargo only once the e-Visit Key is ok,” it elaborates. Aside from the security enhancement, this process should also improve process efficiency overall.
“With regard to modern and secure methods of data sharing, support and coordination are provided by the national Digital Infrastructure Logistics (DIL) program of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management,” the release offers.
Best Effort signed in 12JUL23
The accompanying image to this article shows the parties involved in the signing of the Best Effort declaration on 12JUL23, thus supporting the development of the Secure Import system. From left to right are pictured: Koen Bolster from Air Cargo Netherlands/KLM Cargo, Hans van Roest from Cargonaut, Laci Gavrilovic from Menzies, Jeroen Giling from Swissport, Joost van Doesburg from Schiphol Airport, Luc Scheidel from Smart Cargo Mainport Program/Schiphol Airport, Luuk Heling from KLM Cargo, Guy Driebeek from SmartLoxs, Jan van Anrooy from dnata, and Bart Krol from KLM Cargo.
At the signing, Joost van Doesburg, Head of Cargo at Schiphol Airport, declared: “The introduction of Secure Import is one of the projects within SCMP and contributes to the course we are taking with the Cargo Community: steering on quality and predictability. With this new system we can now even better protect goods transported via Schiphol against theft and undermining, and remain an attractive main port favored by shippers and forwarders to transport their high-quality cargo.”
It will be interesting to see how many Dutch incidents are listed in next year’s TAPA figures.
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