There has been a rampant rise in incidences of hijacking in South Africa since 2000 and, over a period of 17 years, this criminal activity has very quickly evolved from merely the theft of the valuable cargo in transit to the robbery of tyres, fuel and tri-axle trailers.
These acts are also no longer being perpetrated by thugs whose tactics of surprise and firepower are now easily outsmarted with state-of-the-art technology and security measures. The damage that transporters and their clients currently incur is rather the outcome of skilfully planned and co-ordinated operations by sophisticated syndicates.
In most instances, these operators, some affiliated to international criminal organisations, are well ahead the technology curve, and have very quickly adapted and evolved to also counter many security response strategies.
Yet, road haulers and in-house transport divisions of large corporates continue to invest blindly into the latest equipment from vendors and services from security providers in an attempt to protect their assets and cargo from these unscrupulous operators.
Unfortunately, in many instances, costly decisions are taken without any input from credible experts who have made it their job to continue to analyse, understand and predict the rapidly changing modus operandi of crime syndicates.
Any decision to procure technology, or services should harness the expertise of a reputable expert who, just as importantly, has a thorough understanding of the complexities of the entire transport and logistics supply chain.
In so doing, a more thorough and proactive strategy can be implemented that also takes into consideration potential future scenarios that, we believe, will become even more intelligent and brazen. The increased use of explosives in cash-in-heist hi-jacking activities is a sound example, and it stands to reason that these truck hi-jacking syndicates would eventually find the use of multiple armed men and vehicles too cumbersome.
This is just one real threat we can expect to see rear its ugly head in truck hi-jacking operations in the foreseeable future.
What other tactics should we planning for, as opposed to only focusing on signal jammers and diversion tactics, or countering illegal activities that are already planned and orchestrated from within inside your company, or your logistics and transport service providers’ offices and warehouses? Certainly, a move towards using smaller transport and logistics companies due to onerous economic circumstances also plays into the hands of these syndicates. These operators run a marginal business and it is doubtful whether they have a robust solution in place to counter a real threat of hi-jacking.
These are the “tough” questions that will transcend merely relying on the sales pitch of the technology service provider and their specifications brochures.
The ability to confidently answer these hard-hitting questions will assist in the formulation of a thorough solution. Security measures should also take into consideration that these syndicates comprise former highly-trained employees from state security bodies, such as the police and even the military, who have turned to a more lucrative life of crime.
Further skills and capabilities are, therefore, also required to ensure safe carriage of the cargo from the point of origin to final destination.
These will also consider the potential infiltration of the company or its logistics service provider by representatives of these syndicates. In some instances, it may even be that trusted employees have “turned” because they have been bribed or blackmailed to “leak” classified information that compromises the entire transport and logistics operation.
Compounding the level of complexity that is required to devise an effective security strategy is the dearth of critical information that is shared for intelligence gathering. This is especially true in those failed hi-jacking attempts where no goods or services have been lost. Police generally do not entertain these cases, despite the fact that they contain important clues of the ever-changing face of South African hi-jacking syndicates. On the other hand, some tracking companies only share information with security companies once they have exhausted all their own resources to recover stolen property. By that time, it may be too late, while this approach limits the transfer of important knowledge to proactively deal with this scourge.
This has stifled the accurate modelling of so-called “hot-spots” in-and-around metropolitan areas where trucks operate, or developing suitable training that will help drivers respond to “surprises” by hi-jackers. In addition, it hinders attempts at gaining a timely understanding of the next products to be “hit”, or future risk areas.
Havensec continues to work with companies to develop and implement a comprehensive security solution for their unique needs. Our clients understand that the decisions they make today will impact on their organisation’s sustainability over the long-term and it is for this reason that they have entrusted us with their critical security needs.
This includes protecting their valuable products and assets from leaving their premises to the final destination. In addition to our expertise in helping them devise a thorough security strategy, our clients rely on our cargo security escorts, comprising either single drivers or teams, to safeguard their valuable products in transit – whether by trucks, tractor-trailers, semis, rigs, vans or haulers.
Taking no chances, many of them have also used our additional security service that involves “shadowing” their valuable cargo from the point of departure all the way to its final destination. This has become an essential tactic to counter sophisticated crime syndicates operating in many areas of the country.
We look forward to working with you to protect your valuables in transit!