Truck hijackings currently cost the South African economy between R3 and R10 billion a year according to estimates by the South African Insurance Crime Bureau and the Transported Asset Protection Association. Current hotspots include Delmas in Mpumalanga, with 33 truck hijackings reported in the 2018-19 financial year, and Heidelberg in Gauteng, with 31 for the same period.
Truck hijackings are becoming more prevalent as crime syndicates target the cargo being transported. Therefore, it is imperative that fleet managers adopt the latest security technology to protect their assets, drivers and cargo. “The biggest issue is that some operators still opt for the bare minimum.
They make use of the cheapest solutions they can find in the hope that the knowledge that something is present will be a deterrent,” Arrive Alive comments on its website.
However, criminal syndicates are increasingly technology-savvy. Sophisticated criminals now deploy signal jammers, diversion tactics, infiltration teams, blackmail and even plant employees in organisations to gain access to product or assets and obtain insider knowledge about routes and cargo. According to the chairman of the South African chapter of Transported Asset Protection Association, the majority (as much as 90%) of South Africa’s truck hijackings involve criminals receiving crucial information about routes and the cargo being transported from inside sources.
Criminals have also become increasingly more professional in terms of techniques and processes.
Another challenge is that many commercial trucking operations are geared for profit and not necessarily safe and secure operations. This raises the question regarding the effectiveness and level of preparedness of many fleet operators’ control rooms, fleet management systems, and driver and staff training to react in a crisis situation.
An example of how effective an outsourced bureau service can be in detecting potentially dangerous situations and ensuring swift action to recover valuable assets is the 100% recovery rate maintained by the MiX Track and React service over the past 48 months. This bureau, operated by MiX Telematics Africa, currently monitors the driving events of in excess of 50,000 commercial vehicles.
Another recent example of how telematics technology can assist in swift action to recover valuable cargo that was stolen is when a MiX Telematics tracking and fleet management system, combined with the quick response from the control room of Komatel SARL – a MiX Telematics channel partner based in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – worked together with a South African security company to successful recovery of a trailer carrying a load of cobalt worth $400 000.
In the early hours of one Friday morning, a transport company’s depot in Meyerton, south of Johannesburg, was attacked by a nine-person gang. The gang managed to subdue the drivers and security at the site and made off with a trailer filled with bags containing cobalt. A signal from the MiX Telematics asset tracking device fitted to the stolen trailer alerted the control room to the illegal movement of the trailer. One of the drivers at the site managed to free himself and used the MiX Voice Kit installed in another truck to contact the control room. The security company who are based in South Africa, contracted by the transport company, responded to the incident and thanks to the MiX device fitted to the vehicle, tracked down and apprehended the gang 40 km from the depot, successfully recovering the cargo in the process.
This illustrates why a telematics system linked to a 24/7 control room, like the MiX Track and React service, is vital in combatting vehicle theft and hijackings and increase the chances of safely recovering stolen assets. These solutions are designed to provide fleet operators a real-time view of their vehicles and drivers, with a host of features, tools and reports to not only reduce operating costs and risk but most importantly, increase the safety and security of both drivers and assets.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) January 6, 2020