Security in Transport

Security in transport is a major area of concern, because of the risk of consignments being tampered with, used for terrorism or other illicit purposes, or suffering criminal attack directed at the supply chain. Transport means and transport equipment, such as a full or empty container, can be misused to be a security-threat to the consignment. These can be put on the transport means during loading and unloading or when in storage. Documentation can be falsified to mislead private transport operators and responsible authorities.

Because of the vast amount of cargo transported, security control requires unambiguous procedures that are strictly adhered to, monitoring of goods during transport and storage, detailed and precise information and documentation on goods and the parties involved in shipping and transport, and risk management systems to zoom in on high-risk transport, operators and routes.
To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of security procedures, control measures and actions, countries around the world have taken initiatives to enhance security in the supply chain, especially during the physical movement of goods. Some of these initiatives are statutory obligations, others are voluntary certification programmes.

Since companies are faced with additional costs and possible delays from these security programmes, and could suffer if they fail to meet the secure transport requirements of their commercial contracts, it is in their interest to participate voluntarily in security initiatives to possibly obtain smoother treatment by Customs and other authorities. They can supply timely security information to authorities and, where possible, act as Authorized Economic Operators.

Major security measures have been developed by many countries and supranational bodies (WCO, IMO, EU). Non-governmental organizations (such as International Transport Organizations) have also developed recommendations and best practices. These measures include legal obligations to supply relevant security information about the transported goods and means of transport used, certification of traders and transporters, introduction of specific security procedures and possible inspection of suspicious goods and containers.

Tools to manage security are aimed at receiving accurate information about goods and transport sufficiently in advance, and applying risk management on the characteristics of the goods, its route, the means of transport used and the companies involved, thus focussing on high risk transports and operators to identify overall and specifically identified and random inspections.