Of the several pain points faced by truckers across Europe, safe truck parking has remained a ubiquitous issue that drivers constantly grapple with – reflected by a European Commission (EC) study, which points to unsafe parking spaces as the hotspot for cargo theft that exceeds € 8.2 billion annually. Road freight accounts for roughly 50% of all tonne-kilometers in Europe, making it the primary mover of the economy and helping garner the attention of the European Union (EU) over the truck parking issue.
In its study earlier this year, the EC vowed to establish a denser network of safe and secure truck parking areas (SSTPAs) and initiated the creation of a standard that can clearly outline security levels that would be needed to tackle the issue of cargo theft. This standard would be common across the industry, stipulate guidelines that ensure reliability, and provide comprehensive maps that provide the locations of SSTPAs in Europe.
The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region has announced its strong support for “all initiatives, standards and regulatory requirements” from the EC to address the safety and security of truckers and cargo, while also pushing for collaboration with its existing industry standard on safe truck parking.
The Parking Security Requirements (PSR) is an industry standard that TAPA developed a year ago, which includes a tiered certification program for parking place operators (PPOs) helping foster an increase in the number of secure parking spots within Europe. TAPA’s ever-expanding database currently accounts for around 5,000 safe truck parking spaces spread across 10 countries in the EMEA region.
“We believe that the EU must work with the industry while creating its standard, as it’s for the industry, from the industry, and at the end of the day, paid for by the industry,” said Thorsten Neumann, the president and CEO of TAPA. “This is the reason why we say that if the EU is looking to create a standard on secure parking places, they need to accept existing standards.”
The TAPA asks for mutual recognition, as there have been instances in the past where standards created within the industry in silos failed to get wider adoption. However, TAPA’s PSR standard has found significant traction, with the stakeholders buying into its regulations and creating a tangible change within the industry.
“At TAPA, we want to actively contribute and provide our expertise to the EU. It is important that the industry does everything possible to mitigate risks, while the EU and its politicians create the right awareness and mindset change to make that happen,” said Neumann.
To develop its PSR standards, TAPA invited all the key stakeholders to the table with a goal to connect every segment of the supply chain – including shippers, freight forwarders, trucking businesses and insurance companies. Neumann explained that it is critical for supply chains at-large to understand where the risk was coming from, as risks are rarely stagnant and evolve over the years.
“Our biggest hope is that the EU accepts our industry standard from a mutual recognition point of view and links it to their own standard. From their press release, it is clear that they are looking at getting 20 certifications by 2020, while we have already reached that,” said Neumann. “Our goal now is to have 80 certifications, and so it is a no brainer that if the EU accepts our standard, they can double or even quadruple their own numbers.”