TT Talk - Reimagining secure truck parking
Appreciating that where opportunity exists, innovation follows, TT closely monitors developments in a number of sectors. Developments in supply chain security in particular are of high interest, whether it is a new locking device, a tamperproof security seal, smart containers or initiatives to make wholesale fundamental changes to the current security landscape.
Freightsafe's fully automated, modular parking bay is the product of a six-year study focused on truck parking, a subject that, in terms of innovation, has been largely ignored for many years. It is no secret that there is a global lack of both standard and secure truck parking. Freightsafe's mission was to understand why, devise a solution and convince investors that this represented a sound opportunity.
"It is no secret that there is a global lack of both standard and secure truck parking"
Early on into Freightsafe's journey, it became evident that the market's key stakeholders had very conflicting strategies when it came to truck parking. Shippers demanded lower costs, logistics service providers operated on annual tender cycles, and large fuel retailers leveraged free/low-cost parking to attract traffic to their core businesses - fuel and retail. Motivation to invest in security and facilities was often lacking. Essentially, businesses licence the use of individual parking areas for trucks without taking any responsibility for safety and security; these parking areas continue to represent a low-cost and low-maintenance assets for providers. The traditional truck parking business model faces a number of challenges in scaling and becoming 'investor friendly'.
Traditional models suggest that 200-300 parking spaces are required to make a secure truck stop financially viable. That requires a large investment in land, time and upfront capital. The rate at which you can build, finance and scale traditional truck parking, simply cannot meet the industry's growing demand.
In 2018, Freightsafe and Bosch Secure Truck Parking collaborated and developed the world's first 'Modular Trailer Bay' at their research and development facility in Germany. The idea was to create a product and service that built on a few key areas where traditional truck stops fall short.
Scalability was a consideration. Thousands of existing truck-related facilities could provide a 'ready-to-go' network. Freightsafe's strategy was to show investors it was possible to develop existing groundworks and access them on a rental basis, rather than purchasing and developing new locations.
A further strategic consideration was services. Between the digitalisation of road freight and the European Commission's new Mobility Package, the future role of truck parking arguably must change. Secure parking, trailer exchange, trailer charging and driver accommodation will reshape how freight moves. Currently, some traditional truck stops are unable to meet such new demands. The Freightsafe solution seeks to integrate these services on a space-by-space basis. Being fully automated, the Freightsafe strategy is future-proofed in the context of smart/autonomous vehicles.
Security is a fundamental aspect of the success of the solution; the Freightsafe modular parking bay provides a number of desirable attributes. Combining the features of the existing BOSCH booking platform and physical security measures, the parking bay adds another entire layer of security. The driver, truck, trailer and cargo are afforded protection by the parking bay structure itself. The parking bays feature controlled access and egress through pre-booking facilities and each bay is monitored by motion sensors 24/7.
Freightsafe's strategy has always focused on working directly with shippers; their analysis identified the shipper as the stakeholder with the most to gain from improvements in parking services, particularly around security and driver welfare.
As Charlie Anderson of Freightsafe says,
"Over the past six years, we have seen some shippers broaden their understanding of how investing in parking, in the long run, creates savings, efficiency and ultimately a better working environment for the most undervalued asset in the supply chain - our drivers".
Freightsafe has recently launched its first two sites in Europe. The first in Magdeburg, Germany, provides secure parking bays for two trucks, developed for a particular trade route and commodity. The second site, situated at the Port of Trelleborg in Sweden, provides an initial single-bay parking facility and was developed following a series of serious cargo theft incidents. This second site seeks to prove the effectiveness of the concept and is available for booking through the BOSCH online booking platform.
Freightsafe also offers free supply chain parking analysis, allowing users to gauge the value of different parking services, integrated into key strategic locations across Europe.
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance in the preparation of this article of Charlie Anderson, Freightsafe.
We hope that you have found the above interesting. If you would like further information, or have any comments, please email us, or take this opportunity to forward to any colleagues who you may feel would be interested.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Risk Management Director, TT Club