By Andrew Goodwin, national bunker manager at Certas Energy
The UK is facing a HGV parking crisis. 39% of truck drivers park off-site in laybys or industrial parks, and over 1,411 parking spaces are required immediately to accommodate current demand.
As well as exacerbating health and safety concerns, the lack of available parking is making drivers vulnerable to crime. With 56% of all cargo thefts within Europe occurring in the UK, it is clear that more must be done to address the secure parking shortage and help keep trucks, drivers and their cargo safe.
So where are the greatest parking pressure points, what can drivers do to stay safe and how can transport operators reduce the risk of cargo theft?
Parking and cargo theft in the UK
Load theft and the lack of secure lorry parking are national issues that are inextricably linked. The National Survey of Lorry Parking reveals that while the number of vehicles parked overnight has risen by 36%, the amount of on-site spaces in lorry parks and motorway service areas only increased by 14%.
Capacity is under pressure across the country, but spaces in the East of England, West Midlands and South East are experiencing critical demand, with average utilisation levels of 97%, 87% and 84%.
As well as having some of the highest rates of off-site parking, counties located in the logistics ‘Golden Triangle’ - Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire - suffer from the most cargo theft.
Putting safety first
There are many measures drivers and transport operators can take to keep their vehicles and cargo safe. Firstly, it’s vital to prepare for the journey ahead.
Try to avoid using the same routes and stops - predictable transport patterns could make vehicles an easier target.
Plan where to stop overnight before setting off, and look for a location where parking can be pre-booked for added peace of mind.
For transport operators, smart payment systems such as SNAP Account can reduce the risk of theft to drivers staying in their cabs and help to encourage the use of secure parking facilities.
Fuel cards can also be used by drivers to fill up on the move without having to worry about carrying cash on their person.
Building a more secure future
Yet the future looks bright for secure parking, with multiple developments underway across the country to increase capacity.
Certas Energy is working closely with partners to offer secure truck parking across the strategic road network as part of our bunker site expansion strategy.
Our upcoming development at Red Lion Truck Stop in the heart of the Golden Triangle off the M1, junction 16, will offer 24/7 refuelling and secure parking for 180 lorries, protected by CCTV, perimeter fencing, security lighting and on-site patrols.
Fleet operators are also increasingly opening up spaces on their yards for secure parking through depot parking systems. SNAP Account’s depot parking system, for example, has opened up an additional 220,000 secure spaces to truck drivers across the country.
Keeping drivers safe plays an important role in protecting the reputation of the haulage industry and filling the skills gap.
With theft prevention awareness on the rise and a growing commitment to the provision of secure spaces, the transport industry is primed to tackle this pressing issue.