Improving Truck Parking Security and Quality in Europe
The LABEL Project Comes to a Successful End
In Europe, cargo theft is a criminal phenomenon that has an important economic impact. Research has put the total cost of cargo theft at approximately € 8,2 billion yearly. The calculation includes costs such as the re-production, the re-packaging and the resending of the stolen goods. According to data from the International Road Transport Union (IRU), which represents the road transport industry, one out of six drivers has been a victim of theft with 63% of the cases concerned being cargo theft. Recognising the European dimension of this problem, the European Commission has, in recent years, launched a strategy aimed at combating theft through increasing the number of truck parking areas, improving their security and providing information about their location. Within this context, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport decided to support the LABEL project. LABEL involved over 40 stakeholders from all over Europe.
Building upon the SETPOS pilot project, LABEL is the second pilot project co-funded by the EC and which aimed at creating a Label for (Secured) Truck Parking Areas along the Trans-European Road Network and defining a Certification Process (including online information). The project’s achievements were presented at the major Truck Parking Conference jointly organised by the EC and the Belgium EU presidency. The conference was held in Brussels on 25-26 October 2010, and was attended by large number of high level stakeholders.
LABEL’s major result, which was presented during the conference, is a uniform and Europe-wide classification and certification system of truck parking areas all over Europe that allows drivers to be informed in a simple and immediate way about the security and quality of a service area, and gives truck stop operators the opportunity to differentiate themselves. With the intention to provide a basic breakdown of security and quality features, the project successfully defined and tested a certification method made up of a two-part “five-star system”, which on the one hand identifies security criteria with lock symbols, and on the other identifies service criteria with star symbols.
Testifying to the importance attached to secure parking by policymakers, the Belgian Presidency drafted a Council resolution on the basis of the security module drawn up by LABEL, and on 8 November 2010, EU Ministers of Internal Affairs and Justice adopted the resolution. Consequently, and in accordance with the provisions of the resolution, the EU Member States are called upon to put in place harmonised measures to combat road freight crime, establish secure parking areas and provide information about their location.
In addition to the support at the level of policymakers, LABEL can also count on the European industry to make the case for its results and achievements. As stated during the Truck Parking Conference on 25-26 October 2010, the IRU will ensure a follow up for its members by hosting the self-assessment tool developed within LABEL and which allows public authorities or parking area managers to self-assess their parking areas and submit information about these to a central information system. Moreover, and in cooperation with the International Transport Forum, it will also establish international and national assessment committees where all stakeholders can work together to ensure the security on European roads.
This innovative scheme will undoubtedly, during the implementation process, reveal further issues that need to be tackled. Nevertheless, one can safely say that with the successful completion of the LABEL project, the foundations for safer transport along our motorways have been laid.
The conference material can be downloaded from the LABEL website: www.truckparkinglabel.eu