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Security in the transport chain

The “Trusted Carrier” creates more trust

The German Freight Transport and Logistics Association (BGL) has developed the “Trusted Carrier” system. It guarantees greater transparency in the transport chain.

The most important aim which the working party made up of shippers, freight-forwarders and hauliers set itself under the aegis of the BGL and Transfrigoroute was to do something to counter criminally organised shipment thefts. Due to developments in the market, and the increasing use of online communications, obtaining information about shipments of “easily sellable and attractive products” has also become easier for criminals. There have been many press reports on the methods used to steal cargo, and the thieves’ preferred products. Yet despite all the care which logistics firms have taken for years, there are always “further developments” on the other side.

Greater security in the transport chain

For instance, it is easy to falsify or invent the identity of a transport company. And this is how expensive shipments can be stolen very quickly. A problem which not only worries logistics firms, but also causes major trouble for shippers - supply chains are interrupted and brand values damaged. In future, this is precisely where the BGL wants to help, and take over a guarantee commitment for companies registered in the system. The new “Trusted Carrier” system is intended to provide greater security in the transport chain from now onwards. The risk of losing loads should in this way be greatly minimised. Since the 1st July 2016, the system has been tested with selected shippers. The system will be launched on 1 May 2017.

The major plank in the “Trusted Carrier” initiative is an online database. Only a firm registered with BGL or one of its member associations can become a registered participant in the database. Membership of the Association is not necessary. Transport firms who register as “Trusted Carriers” have to sign a formal declaration of commitment with checkable criteria, and run their own fleet. Registering the fleet is therefore necessary. Forwarding agents without vehicles cannot get themselves registered as ”Trusted Carriers” For participating companies, BGL will in future take over a guarantee commitment. The Nagel- Group is registered as a “Trusted Carrier”. Corporate Process Design and Systems Manager, Thomas Pütter, is committed to the initiative on behalf of the Nagel-Group.

But exactly how does the system work?

After registration in the database, every participant can access this free-of-charge. If a contract as a “Trusted Carrier” has been agreed, the registration number in the database can be checked at the loading point. If this registration number belongs to a “Trusted Carrier”, the database displays a “green light”, otherwise a red one. In the database, a positive search for the registration number and also for the company can be undertake.

A complaint or notification about further quality criteria can then be made to BGL directly via this database. Breaches of the regulations of the system by registered companies are discussed in a quality committee. Transport companies who do not abide by the rules can be expelled from the system. “Letter-box companies” or those sub-contracting transport contracts multiple times to ”unknown” firms will therefore find it more difficult, or be completely prevented from acting in this way.

It also makes differentiating services on the market possible, and therefore strengthens the position of participating transport companies or hauliers. Former Managing Member of the Executive Committee of BGL, Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Schmidt says: “Anyone who can score points by having the additional security of “Trusted Carrier” status, will provide his old and new customers with perhaps the ultimate argument for placing the contract with him.”

Associations from Western and Eastern Europe want to join

Although the original thinking behind the system was “to counteract cargo theft”, other aspects such as the minimum wage, social contributions, occupational safety and other documentation obligations, which shippers also have to demand and manage, have now been integrated into the system. “Trusted Carrier” is also becoming increasingly popular internationally. The IRU (International Road Transport Union) has now accepted this initiative. Several IRU member associations from Western and Eastern Europe want to join the initiative. Freight exchanges TimoCom and cargoclix.com have already signaled their willingness to make "Trusted Carriers" available to customers in their systems.

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