Imperial Logistics’ proactive, multi-pronged approach to managing transport risk is yielding big benefits for the supply chain and logistics leader and its clients, including fewer hijackings, more successful convictions and the collapse of hijacking syndicates.
Imperial Logistics, Health Safety and Sustainability Executive (HSS) Lucky Maluleke says that risks that must be constantly considered and mitigated in the transport industry include environmental factors like severe weather conditions; fires; temperature control; accidents; driver fatigue; and the inappropriate operation of equipment. “In addition to these risks, there are the constant threats of hijacking, armed robbery, theft and pilferage, which affect all commodities being moved. Transport companies must also ensure that they comply with tax and regulatory laws,” he states.
Maluleke outlined the five “pillars” employed by Imperial to mitigate risk. “These are technology, partnerships, intelligence, procedures and communication,” he explains.
The technology used by Imperial includes multiple tracking devices; CCTV cameras that are both covert and overt; tracking and jamming devices; in-product tracking; and unique vehicle identification. “Imperial also utilises specialised high security locks on cargo doors, with modifications to prevent forced entry. Customised trailer doors prevent access with a bolt cutter, and other innovations include fifth wheel trailer locks,” he reveals.
The group leverages technology to develop detailed pre-departure checklists and pre-determined routes, as well as for continuous route risk analysis, he notes. Drivers also undergo advanced security awareness training that features hijack simulations.
The second risk mitigating pillar on which Imperial’s success is founded is partnerships. “The relationship between the logistics service provider, the specialised security provider and the client is critical, particularly when high value loads are accompanied by armed guards,” Maluleke stresses.
Intelligence that can reduce transport risk includes specialised investigations into hijackings, behavioural analysis and profiling, he states. “Together with pre-employment credit and fraud checks and polygraphs, these strategies can help with the early identification of criminal intent,” he says. Roaming escorts patrolling in high risk delivery areas also provide invaluable intelligence and mitigate risk, he adds.
Maluleke affirms that strict adherence to procedures is an integral part of managing transport risk. “There can be no compromise when it comes to conforming to standard operating procedures. Some of Imperial’s procedures include pre-departure checklists covering mechanical, technology and safety checks; route risk analysis that is done without fail prior to a truck departing on a new route; and the use of safe stopping points. Our procedure for investigation is that this is always handled by experts, so that evidence is not contaminated or lost and we can ensure successful arrests and subsequent convictions.”
The fifth and final pillar that Maluleke contends is critical to reduce transport risk is communication. “There must be constant communication between the driver and control room. WhatsApp groups are often used to share information on hot spot areas and for incident reporting. Speed dialling enhances communication efficiency, along with PTT (Push To Talk) phones, with defined words to indicate a security threat,” he asserts. Communication also encompasses ongoing driver training refresher courses, anti-hijack training, as well as comprehensive driver debriefing, Maluleke says.
“The ideal risk management strategy is one that is shared by supplier and client, and which respects people’s dignity and human rights while implementing effective security controls, standards, policies and procedures to ensure the safety and protection of people, products, assets, markets and reputations. The fight against crime remains a high priority for Imperial, and we are committed to continuous improvement and innovation in this area to ensure that our interventions are as effective as they can be in protecting our employees and our clients,” Maluleke concludes.