Transport & Logistics mode

Truck parking lots: rethinking security in Europe

April 02 2019

The European Union (EU) is launching a new working group on truck parking safety in Europe. This group of supply chain experts will be working on a common system to help book locations with digital.

The European Union is tackling the problem of the security of truck parking lots. A working group bringing together a panel of experts from the different supply chain professions was set up on 2 April 2019. It will be tasked with creating procedures for a shared system of rules, audits, and mapping the needed secure locations in Europe (SSTPA), as well as coming up with application program interfaces (API) to bring digital support to parking spot booking. 

According to estimates, goods stolen during shipment amount to 8.2 billion euros each year within the EU. These thefts mainly occur (75% of the time) when the drivers are taking breaks on unsecured parking lots. Every single country is affected by this: from Scandinavia to the British islands, all the way to central and southern Europe.   

The Belgian regions have the highest concentration of secured parking lots and low crime levels compared to the surrounding regions; which confirms the principle according to which crime is more common where security is at its lowest.  

The lack of safety on parking lots is an additional burden borne by truck drivers who stop to rest along the way. Among these drivers, very few of them are women (less than 3%); yet 2 out of 3 women say they felt insecure, and feared violence or harassment. These situations further contribute to making truck driving unattractive.  

Europe needs 400,000 night parking spots for all of the trucks circulating on its roads. As of today, it has 300,000 spots available, out of which only 7,000 are secured, which amounts to about 2%.   

Therefore, there is a lot of room from improvement and innovation. If you consider that securing parking lots cuts theft in half, then each secure parking spot would generate savings of €25 per night! So, the financial relevance of these measures is obvious. But criminals, and criminal practices in general are agile, and adapt quickly to new circumstances, which means that part of the theft could be transferred to targets outside secured parking lots. In other words, will thefts carried out on overnight parking lots transform into systematically violent thefts carried out by road pirates along the truck’s journey? 

Either way, it seems wise to test the effects of such measures on specific regions, to assess the results as well as the consequences. The region of Malmö would be a great pilot region because it is where 50% of all thefts in Sweden take place.  

Reducing the amount of theft in shipping could become a continuous and iterative improvement process including all the players (including police forces). This work would imply studying and comparing potentially useful methods and technologies at the European level, while allowing for temporary and locally targeted actions with very short response times.  

There will be a lot of issues to sort out, and this is what the working group will aim to do. To start the brainstorm, here are a few questions that we think are key: what will be the monetary investment and who will bear the cost? The carrier or the loader ? Will the carrier be able to offset this extra cost by increasing its shipping rates? Will the possible lowering of insurance costs make up for the additional costs for the carrier or loader? Will the requirement for the truck to stop in a secure zone be written into law or imposed by insurance providers?  

Considering how many questions this raises, let’s hope the working group will include all stakeholders. This pre-requisite will further complexify the implementation of a lasting solution that meets the expectations of all the players along the value chain.   

Photo credit : ID 34799883 © Taina Sohlman | Dreamstime.com

Subscribe to the newsletter


More than 20 years of experience in the international supply chain, William is the Upply road transportation expert. Entrepreneur by nature, he has successively worked in operational and functional management among various industries, such as chemistry, automotive and building materials; alternately shipper and service provider.