Container transport specific security measures should be adapted to terrorist threats and their modus operandi. The likely way of such groups to attack or use a certain ship or a container is to hijack a legitimate consignment and then enter a specific country i.e. “Trojan Horse Scenario”. But why focus on freight container systems? First and foremost, maritime shipping containers do business all over the world. Containers are the biggest in number in terms of international trade.
Apart from that, container transport is truly intermodal -making it possible for them to be carried by maritime operators, inland waterway operators and they are even present on the road or railway systems. In essence, container systems are ubiquitous. They can be found just about anywhere -major cities, ports, small side-streets, small villages, etc.
What is not known by the general public is that terrorism has been the target of discussions of the container transport industry and its vulnerability in case of attacks. It is a good thing that security measures implemented by different ports are somehow working. Security measures should be stressed from the very beginning that such terrorist attacks are only potential but governments and ports are advised to examine every container getting inside their country.
Of course, certain security measures implemented by different governments should not be seen by traders as a way to block or slow down the flow of products, whatever they may be. Stringent security measures prevent more losses in terms of cargo theft, or collateral damage due to a terrorist attack. These concerns are being addressed by the different maritime nations and they are working together to stop potential terrorist scenarios from happening by updating security measures and by sharing information to each other.
The container transport industry does not only have the terrorist problem it has other predicaments as well. Containers have been used for criminal purposes in the past decades and this is something that is often overlooked and unstopped. Cargo thefts have soared over the years as well. Just this year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau along with the ISO are cementing the foundations of an information sharing system shared by all states in the US to combat rampant cargo crime.
Theft of cargo is an economic drain amounting to billions of dollars and this can be abated if only theft victims report or provide accurate and timely information with regards to losses. This information allows law enforcers to investigate and hopefully get into custody cargo thieves and their cohorts.
Apart from the immediate loss of cargo or merchandise, theft in this business affects policyholders and insurers as well. Cargo theft means added costs for everyone and that includes consumers or the end-user. With the economy we have these days, cargo theft does not only affect the container transport industry and its traders -consumers carry the burden as well.
Furthermore, indirect costs ensue by disrupting the supply-chain. This disruption can jeopardize the safety of products when these products are stolen from a container and resold to the unsuspecting public. Many groups make a living out of cargo theft and an information sharing system will greatly help all players and that includes transportation companies, law enforcement agencies, insurers, policyholders, manufacturing firms, retailers and service providers.