Last year, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee found 910 migrants in lorry cargo holds and the Seaport Police detained 570 migrants. The damage caused by these stowaways is increasing all the time for the transport sector. And it’s no longer simply a case of cut tarpaulins or broken locks. Entire cargoes are increasingly being rejected because the migrants have spent hours or even days sitting amongst the goods. Even if there is no direct visible damage to the cargo.
CARGO DAMAGE CAUSED BY LORRY STOWAWAYS
Because stowaways are spending prolonged periods cooped up amongst the goods, the cargo is becoming damaged or contaminated. Even if the cargo isn’t damaged, recipients often refuse it once it becomes apparent that stowaways have been sitting in the lorry, trailer or container, because they don’t know what’s happened to the items. The insurer will only reimburse for visible damage, so the costs need to be covered by the shipping agent. The transport companies also incur a loss due to the shipment being delayed.
Often, transport companies and drivers are also held personally responsible for the stowaways on board their lorries, whereas these parties are actually victims too. In Great Britain, you are even regarded as a suspect if stowaways are found in your lorry. Transport companies run the risk of a two thousand pound fine (in excess of 2300 euros) for each stowaway found.
IS BREXIT CAUSING AN INCREASE IN STOWAWAYS?
With the impending Brexit, TLN was afraid of an additional flood of stowaways at Hoek van Holland, because the turnaround times for lorries at the port and the ferries would be longer. But this is not currently a matter for discussion. First there will be a transition period until the end of this year, in which nothing will change. Current preparations for Brexit in the Rotterdam and IJmuiden region have been temporarily stopped. Over the course of this year, it will be considered whether certain Brexit preparations are necessary in order to prevent traffic chaos around the ferry terminals in the port area.
MORE SECURE PARKING SPACES
TLN believes there is a need for more secure parking spaces. It is calling on the government to invest in secure parking spaces along the motorways which will be monitored 24/7 by smart cameras. TLN is also asking investigation services to share risky locations and trends and developments concerning stowaways with them, so that they can warn their members in good time. The detection of stowaways by carrying out checks involving sniffer dogs continues to be important too.
TAKE YOUR OWN MEASURES AGAINST STOWAWAYS
Despite the additional flood of stowaways failing to appear through the transition period, the risk is still very much present. Migrants are becoming increasingly more innovative and will do everything they can to travel illegally (hidden in lorries) to the UK. TLN advises shipping agents to take their own measures to safeguard themselves against stowaways. We have listed the best tips for you below:
DO NOT STOP EN ROUTE
If you don’t stop, immigrants won’t be able to climb into your lorry.
HAVE ADDITIONAL LOCKS FITTED ON YOUR TRAILER OR CONTAINER
A Kiwa SCM approved security lock will provide excellent security. What’s more, thieves are more likely to leave a vehicle alone if it has an additional lock.
USE AN ENCLOSED TRAILER
Enclosed trailers are more secure than curtainsider trailers, on which stowaways easily cut the tarpaulins open to climb inside. If you still want to use a curtainsider trailer, use a trailer fitted with the Aluflex curtainsider system.
CHECK THE SEAL, LOCKS AND TARPAULINS AND KEEP A RECORD
After each stop, check the seals, padlocks, tarpaulins and the roof of your lorry and keep a record in the form of a checklist. Check carefully whether the security devices have been cut through or broken and repaired again. This checklist proves to the UK immigration service that you have done everything you can to keep stowaways out of your lorry.
USE ADVANCED LOCKS
With an electronic lock such as the SBS BDI, you can decide for yourself when the lock is opened and by whom. You can also read its history afterwards and prove that the doors to your trailer or container have remained closed.
MONITOR YOUR CARGO IN REAL TIME
Whenever you ship fragile cargo, we recommend monitoring your cargo in real time – either on a trailer with the SBS Inlock lock or on a container with the E-containerlock. This will enable you to deliver a report automatically stating exactly what has happened to your cargo and whether it has been shipped under the agreed conditions.
If you require further information on how to prevent stowaways in your lorry or trailer, our specialists will be happy to help you. Contact them on +31 (0)88 130 67 80 or fill in the vehicle security contact form.
Source: Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, Nieuwsblad Transport, ANP, TLN.