The COVID-19 lockdown saw a significant decrease in the amount of goods in transit in South Africa, and a subsequent reduction in criminal activity in the sector due to the slowdown in demand for most goods, except essentials. Sadly, this was a temporary decline.
As soon as personal protective equipment (PPE) was required, this cargo became a target for criminals and companies transporting it once again needed assistance in securing their cargo. One of the companies assisting in this security process is Secure Logistics, headed by Andre Du Venage, who is also the chair of the local TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association) workgroup.
Secure Logistics has been in operation since 2009 and offers a range of services, from cargo monitoring as it reaches the country, through to securing goods in transit (including armed escort services). While the slowdown did impact business initially, Du Venage notes that it is picking up, although there are some changes in the way some customers are operating.
For one, he believes imports will most likely be via sea in future, with fewer companies binging goods in via airfreight. This will reduce the costs, but will also demand improved strategy planning as the sea route is slower, but able to handle more cargo. With a longer time to market and more goods in transit, an integrated, longer-term plan will need to be put in place to ensure security to the point of delivery as well as security for goods while in warehouses.
Another change in the market is that companies don’t see security providers simply as an expense they have to pay, but are engaging more on security matters to inform themselves on what the best options are to transport their goods securely. If everyone works together, says Du Venage, the industry will be able to focus on security as a whole and hopefully make a dent in the endless hijackings and other crimes.
TAPA standards updated
While TAPA’s annual conference has been cancelled this year, its training is still going but has moved online in South Africa and internationally. Du Venage hopes to see the conference back next year as there is value in meeting people in the real world as opposed to only in a video conference. Virtual meetings will be common going forward, but sometimes a real handshake still counts, he states.
Additionally, TAPA has revised its Facility Security Requirements (FSR) and Trucking Security Requirements (TSR) standards. The FSR presents the minimum standards specifically for secure warehousing, or in-transit storage, while the TSR focuses exclusively on transport by truck and represents minimum standards for transporting products via road.
The new 2020 standards are available on the TAPA website (www.tapaemea.com) and standards trainers are undergoing their own training before opening courses for the new standards to members and the public.
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